The nursery was ready for the babies long before the babies were ready for the nursery. The cribs were assembled, the bedding and laundry washed and put away… but the babies were not ready for the nursery; more specifically; Mommy was not ready for the nursery 😉
We had bassinets set up for the babies in our bedroom for when they came home from the hospital. If you are looking for a bassinet, I HIGHLY recommend this one– the Kolcraft Cuddle N Care 2-in-1 bassinet and incline sleeper (and we have two that we no longer need, so I will sell you one of mine!) It is amazing! We used the incline sleeper 90% of the time the babies slept in them. The incline sleeper part helped with Emry’s reflux by keeping her elevated when she slept and it “hugged” Eli’s little body better, helping him feel more secure. The vibration feature was also great. I would lay them down with their pacifiers, tuck them in and push the button to start the vibration and off to sleep they went!
The “plan” was for the babies to stay in our room for about 3-4 months. We set up a changing station in our room AND moved their dresser downstairs. They take baths in our tub because it is big enough for both baby bathtubs. We had everything we needed for them downstairs. I even moved their hanging clothes. We keep a twin rollaway bed in the nursery for Tommy to sleep on during rough nights. He’s used it quite a bit, especially in the early months! Other than that, the nursery was pretty much untouched.
Around the 4 month mark, Tommy started asking when the babies were going to move upstairs. I had an array of excuses, very reasonable ones I think! I had JUST started to sleep more. I did not want to disrupt this newfound sleep by moving them upstairs. The holidays were coming and we would be out of our normal routine. We would be traveling for Christmas and would have to start all over again when we returned… and so on. Really, I was (am) terrified of them sleeping away from me. SIDS is no joke. I think every mama has lost a few nights sleep worrying about whether or not her baby will stop breathing in the middle of the night. I also wanted to soak up every ounce of that sweet newborn time. I did not want them to be “big enough” to be ready for their cribs… and I loved watching them sleep…
Every love story has a breaking point, right?! Ha. As much as I loved having my babies asleep right next to me in their bassinets, there came a time when we (at least Mommy and Daddy) were ready for a change. While we were on our Christmas “Tour de Southeast” (trip across Alabama and Tennessee to visit various family,) the babies slept in a pack-n-play together. I “planned” to transition them to their cribs when we returned, but the night before we came home, I fell down some stairs and twisted/sprained my ankle. My ankle was very sore and pushed back my plans to move the babies to their nursery. I did not want to climb the stairs multiple times a night when I could barely walk around! The first three nights back at home were AWFUL. The babies were not sleeping well in their bassinets. We were not sleeping well with them constantly waking up. Something had to give. Thus, our breaking point.
On December 29th, Tommy hooked up the video monitors and I fed and put the babies to bed. In their cribs. The first hour was fine, but once they realized that they were not with us, the crying commenced. They took turns crying all night long. I slept in Noah’s room so that I wouldn’t have to climb the stairs for every crying fit. I slept maybe 3 hours that first night. The second night was actually worse. Eli was so mad about being in his crib that he bloodied his nose thrashing his arms. Nights 1 & 2, we tried having him sleep without the Miracle Blanket. After the bloody nose incident, I began wrapping Eli back up at night. This helped him a lot! (We have now graduated from wrapping him in the miracle blanket at night, but it took several naps/nights of practice before he would sleep “well” without it.) Emry did not need her Miracle Blanket in the crib at all, just her silky blanket.
After the first few nights, it did get better. Emry Jane started sleeping much better in the crib, though she still wakes up crying for Mary early in the night sometimes. She also sleeps better when Mommy puts her to bed vs. Daddy. Apparently, in her mind, Daddy is for playing and baths…everything else is reserved for Mommy! She is great about self-soothing at nap time. During naps, she has been known to wake up, sing/talk a little bit, find Mary, and fall back to sleep without my help. No such luck for Eli yet. Eli wakes up about 11pm every night and it takes him several pacifier trips to settle down. He has not learned to self-soothe and he can’t seem to get Montavius back into his mouth, even if the pacifier is right next to him. (After the bloody nose incident, I refuse to let him cry it out… at least right now. I will wait up to 5 minutes before responding, but that’s a long as I can handle his screaming.)
We moved everything upstairs– their diapers, dresser, clothes, etc. In Tommy’s words, I moved upstairs when the babies did. I guess it is true. We still have the twin bed in the nursery and that is what I use to bottle feed the twins and pump at the same time. After several trips upstairs to comfort Eli each night, I usually just give up and sleep on the twin bed in the nursery. I get more sleep that way.
On the plus side of crib training, the twins have started sleeping longer between night feedings. The past several nights, they have been wait until 5-6 am to eat. This makes me feel so much more rested in the mornings AND it makes our morning routine so much easier! No more having to feed the babies at 7 am then rush out the door to take Noah to school!
We bought a foam play mat for Christmas that we are using in the floor of their nursery right now. Eventually, we will create a space for them in the playroom. I also lined the furniture in the nursery with their crib bumpers to keep Miss Roly Poly Emry from bumping her head!
This is a learning experience for all of us and I know it is going to keep getting better. Eventually, I might even be able to sleep a whole night uninterrupted in my OWN bed! 🙂
Update: Tuesday, February 16th 2015
I am happy to announce that sleeping has gotten easier, though I still spent a couple hours each night in the nursery. The babies take their last bottle and go to sleep in their cribs around 8pm each night and wake for their next feeding around 5:30am the next morning. They each cry out for their pacifier a few times during the night. Sometimes they can self-soothe and find their own pacifier. Other times, one of us needs to go up there and help them.
There have been TWO (yes, two) nights so far where I have slept downstairs all night. The first time, I woke up with Tommy’s alarm and was convinced one of them was dead because I had not heard them. They were perfectly fine…and still asleep at 5:30am! Incidentally, the baby monitor sound had been off all night so I did not wake up to each little noise. If either of them had been REALLY upset, we would have heard them even without the monitor. The second time, my family was in town and my dad GRACIOUSLY rocked both babies back to sleep around 2:30am AND they slept in until 7am. I am hoping for more nights like that!!