Spencer is sleeping on his own. Independently. Not on my chest. Not in my arms. Not on a pillow with my arm on top of him. By himself. In his own bed. Without us rocking him to sleep. For naps and nightime. He is almost 28 months old.
We did not think this day would ever happen.
Timeline of Spencer's sleeping:
Birth- 10 months: Slept on our chests or in our arms while we slept sitting up in a recliner. And by "us" I mean 95% me and 5% Michael. Every single nap. Every single night. EVERY SINGLE second he slept, for 10 months. I actually ended up with some temprary nerve damage in my left leg. I will use that against Spencer some day. I think when he's 15 and testing my limits.
10 months- 18 months: Naps continued in the chair. Nightime in our bed on a pillow in between us. My arm had to be in constant contact with him or he would wake up.
18 months- 24 months: Naps continued in the chair. Nightime in his crib, next to our bed after we spent 30-60 minutes rocking him to sleep and then laying next to him for 20 minutes until he was in deep sleep. 5 am: joined us in bed.
24 months- present: it's been a gradual process of many, many steps, but the important thing is that the end result is: after we brush teeth and read stories, Spencer climbs into bed, we kiss him, leave the room and within 45 minutes to an hour- he falls asleep on his own. And stays asleep. On his own. In his own bed.
Sometimes in funky positions:
I have read many, many sleep books. Some of the methods I tried. Some I quit after 2 seconds. I refused to just let him cry. Ever. It just seems cruel. When Spencer was 6 months old I decided that if the worst thing in his life was that we spent his babyhood holding him, there were far worse things that could happen. I was really afraid that if we made sleep a miserable thing that sleep would become something to be feared. The result is that we now have a kid that is not afraid to go to sleep, that trusts that his parents will respond if he needs them and that knows how to sleep on his own. It was a long road but in hindsight I'm so glad that we let him lead the way.