I went out and bought that "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" book when I was still pregnant and vowed to stick to the book's suggestions of putting Alex down "drowsy but awake." The first few weeks went by, and since he was a newborn, I let things slide, because, well, let's face it. I wanted to hold him all the time anyway, so it didn't matter that he always fell asleep in my arms. Plus, I reasoned, he was so little! Fast forward a few weeks, and I started mentioning to the hubs that we really should put him on a sleep schedule, start figuring out a routine because *gasp* I will be going back to work soon and we really should have a routine down before that happens. Guess what? We didn't start a routine.
So now, here we are. Alex will be 7 weeks tomorrow. I return to work in 3 weeks. I tell the parents that I work with that they need to establish a bedtime routine for their kiddos, and that establishing a routine takes time. Tonight is the first night that we have put Alex down when he starts doing the "sleepy eyed thing." Right now he is in his pack-n-play in our bedroom hiccuping away, eyes wide open. All I want to do is go and grab him and rock him and hold him until he falls asleep, or until the hubs comes back in so he can hold him so I can get some sleep myself. Part of me feels like a terrible mom, for not establishing this routine from day one, and a lot of the parenting books/magazines/websites would agree with me. But then they also tell me that you can't spoil a newborn, and that part I believe. I know he needs to "self-soothe" and learn to fall asleep on his own, otherwise we'll have that 14 year old scenario I talked about. But at 7 weeks can he really self-soothe? I guess not if I haven't given him the opportunity to do so, right?
It's amazing how many things can put us in the "bad mommy camp." I hope holding my child until he falls asleep isn't one of them.