A baby’s first night in their own room can bring emotions and unintended consequences, as columnist Alex Jee has been discovering...
Two very significant things happened in my household this week.
Firstly, we turned the heating on for the first time this winter – I can feel the money leaving my wallet as I type – and secondly, more importantly, my daughter started spending all night in her own room.
Now, this is for the most part a natural thing. She is six months old now (who the hell allowed that to happen?!) meaning the time is right for her to make that move.
It’s also something that had been coming for a few weeks – it had become quite obvious that being in the same room as her parents was getting borderline inconvenient for the little one, who regularly voiced her displeasure at being awoken by the light from a phone or talking in the night.
It came to a head on Sunday night, when she awoke at around 4am and decided to entertain herself by turning her bassinet into a percussion instrument.
Before long, I was awake, my wife was awake, and the dog had dragged his bed out onto the landing in the hope of a good night’s sleep.
It was after I woke up after falling asleep on the sofa and scrambled for my laptop to start work that I turned around to my wife and said: “Maybe it’s time we put her in her own room?”
And so there you have it – three nights on, and apart from one incident involving the accidental launch of a dummy across the room (don’t ask me how), she has slept almost solidly from her last feed of the night through till morning.
So does that mean more sleep for your humble columnist? Well, not yet. What it has meant, however, is a great deal more time spent agonising in the mirror over the state of my hairline and playing a game of ‘is it hair loss or just my massive forehead?’
It has meant more time being able to sit in bed with my laptop open at 1.30am because I need to finish off my column (just kidding... mostly).
But more than anything, the last few nights have been spent lying awake, staring at our baby monitor, checking for signs of movement.
‘I’m awake… and the dog has dragged his bed out in the hope of a good night’s sleep’
Every new parent has been in this situation, I am sure – it’s not good if they are moving about all the time, because they are not getting sleep.
But God help me, she lies so still that both of us wind up staring, unblinking, to check that she is still breathing.
It’s all part of the learning process and I know we will get used to it. But then, what if I don’t want to? At what point do I start missing these past stages once a milestone like that has passed?
I’m not sure yet. Let me get some sleep, and I’ll let you know.