Today Declan turned 4 months old. His well visit to the doctor went ... well! He did get a few shots, but only cried for a moment. We got a pamphlet about starting him on solid foods, and stopped by Target on the way home to pick up some rice cereal.
Most importantly, the doctor said that now is the time for sleep training (cry-it-out), if we want to. He recommended doing it between 4-6 months, because after that those babies are too crafty, and much too manipulative. It becomes exponentially harder to get your way ....
I'm very excited and apprehensive and a mite sad to start sleep training. I know it's going to be hard to listen to him cry, even though I do believe that it's the healthiest for everyone in the long run. He'll sleep better and we'll sleep better.
I have to confess, I've held him (or sometimes Keith or Grandma Karen) every night since he's been born. He doesn't like sleeping on his own. In the past month, he's slowly transitioned to taking all of his naps in a bouncy seat. (Keep in mind, what that means is, for the first 2 months, he was pretty much being held 24/7.) In the past week, we've put him down in the bouncy seat when we go to bed until he wakes up (usually around 1 o'clock). I feed him, and then take him to bed with me. It's possible he could go back into the bouncy seat and sleep, but I'm too tired to risk him deciding NOT to sleep at that point, so I'd rather just sleep with him.
I'm very excited at the thought of returning to some kind of schedule. I long to have something of an assurance (although never an iron-clan guarantee) of getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night, without holding a baby, on a pretty regular basis. It will be a huge step towards returning to Normal Life, although I am sure Normal Life with 2 kids will still be somewhat uncharted territory.
At the same time, I'm sad to give up sleeping with him. I've gotten so used to it over the past 4 months that it doesn't bother me nearly as much as you'd think. In Normal Life, if I had to sleep for hours without rolling over, that would be torture. But now, it's just what I do. The best part after a middle of the night feeding, when he goes right back to sleep and we climb back into bed. I lay down with him on my chest. He snuggles in, often reaching a hand up to curl around my neck or on my shoulder. I will miss those moments very much. Suddenly he'll be sleeping on his own, and those moments will be few and far between. And then I'll blink, and he'll be too big to lay comfortably on me anymore. Or too squirmy, or both.
Infancy is such a short time. I'm actively trying to do a better job, this time around, of understanding that fact, and appreciating my beautiful baby boy while he's still a baby. When Declan wakes up from his nap (because, of course, naps are the only reason I ever get anything done during the day!) I'm hoping he's still a little sleepy so I can pick him up and cuddle him and marvel at his pudgy little baby perfection.