We decided pretty early on (not that we really had a choice) to only do what worked when it came to all things baby. No forcing, no pressure. Wow, was that easier said than done on the sleep front. We had no choice but to be flexible and when one situation stopped working, we experimented until we found the next thing. This attitude and Ezra's ever changing sleep needs has led us down many paths with varying degrees of success, but we vowed to always keep trying.
After reading a ridiculous amount of books and articles on infant sleep, as well as listening to many friends experiences with their own children, we made a plan. A consistent, calming bedtime routine was put into place. We began to slowly wean Ezra off of the most difficult aspects of his usual sleep requirements (yoga ball, long stretches of dancing, etc...). I tried to keep the environment around sleep free from any tension, creating ease for both of us (including aroma therapy, massage, songs, cuddling) and after realizing that his overnight sleep situation was becoming unsafe (in a cradle/swing where he couldn't roll over and quickly approaching the weight limit) I brought him into our bed. I have always been a big supporter of bedsharing and did my research early on to make sure to do it in a safe and responsible way.
With Ez comfortably sleeping in our bed I thought that we had settled into a sleep arrangement that would last some time. Furniture was rearranged to best accommodate our bedsharing needs and we were all starting to get used to our new situation. But it was not to last long as I am a very sensitive sleeper and after months of getting up to every whimper and coo I found it just too much to have my little noise maker sleeping right next to me. In theory I absolutely love the idea of co-sleeping and I know that it works for many families, but I just required a break at the end of the day. Of course I am his mama 24/7, but I needed that little bit of space to call my own. Even though the bedsharing didn't work for our family it served as a perfect transition to the crib. Ezra became more comfortable with sleeping flat, created an attachment to a "lovey" (his teddy bear Theodore), and throw in his organic, flannel crib sheets and he was completely game. He will now fall asleep in my arms while eating after his nighttime routine. I will rock him into deep sleep (about 20-30 minutes) and then place him in his crib.
As frustrating as this process has been at times I am so happy that we didn't push him. There were many moments I felt torn and all the fear of coddling and manipulation was playing me against myself, against my baby. I so desperately wanted to do right by him while also maintaining some semblance of sanity. I know that rocking and/or feeding to sleep are somewhat controversial among parenting circles, but as always I am committed to doing what works. I love holding him in my arms, gazing in his eyes and knowing he feels completely safe and calm as he drifts off.
WE DID IT!