On Putting a Baby to Sleep

Elise does not like to sleep. Actually, better said, Elise does not like to fall asleep alone. I probably could have avoided this little dilemma if I'd sleep trained her months ago, but I didn't, and here we are. 

For the first few months, going to bed looked like nursing her to sleep and then putting her in the Dockatot in our bed.


It worked until it didn't - she got too big and we had to come up with a new plan. It then morphed into nursing her to sleep and putting her in the pack and play next to our bed. Progress! She wasn't IN our bed anymore! 


Eventually, I grew out of my new mom is-my-baby-going-to-die-if-I'm-not-hovering-over-her phase and realized that she'd be just fine sleeping in her own room (though at that point we did get the AngelCare monitor, so maybe I'm still outgrowing that particular irrational fear). She also started going to bed at 7:00, so then bedtime changed again to nursing her to sleep, putting her in her crib, and learning to avoid all the squeaky spots in her floor as I tiptoed out of her room since we now had the evening free.


Fast forward another couple of months and Elise no longer nursed to sleep. Instead, she'd finish up, start smiling, patting my face, and then screaming the moment I put her in her crib. However, she'd fall asleep rather quickly if she just snuggled for awhile, and so we did that. 


And then one day, she decided it was more exciting to stay awake and climb on top of me than fall asleep, and the jig was up. She had to fall asleep in her bed. However, she also has extreme separation anxiety when it comes to bedtime, which leaves me stuck in her room beside her crib until she falls asleep. She deemed this method acceptable, in that she no longer screamed when she was put down.

Most nights she settles quickly and I'm in and out of there in 20 minutes start to finish, but some nights, let's say...TONIGHT FOR EXAMPLE, she fights sleep like it's out to get her. On nights like that, my internal dialogue starts to sound a bit desperate by the end, while externally I remain silent and completely still so as to avoid creating a distraction:

"Maybe tonight will be a good night! Maybe she'll just put her head down, shut her eyes, and be immediately asleep."

"Exactly how close do I need to be to the crib in order for her proximity meter to register an acceptable reading? Can I at least lie on the bed instead of the floor?"


"Just put your head down, child."

"Good job! Suck that thumb until the cows come home!"

"Why is your head back up?"


"Yessssss. Lying back down."

"Why are you repeatedly smacking your mattress? How does that help you fall asleep??"




"I may need to invest in that notorious 'children's book' for adults." 

"Why are you still awake?"

"What if I just sneak out while she's facing the other direction...?"

"Wait, I've tried that before. It only prolongs the process."

"I've been lying on a FLOOR for 30 minutes. Is this really the best use of time?"

"Why didn't I suck it up and sleep train months ago...?"

"When I finally get downstairs I should google if it's possible to spoil a child by catering to her need to have me nearby to sleep."

"Wait! Is this it? Is she sleeping?? Can I escape???"


-- 10 minutes later --

"I give up."