Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sleep...and keeping your kids in their cribs: Part 1

Recently my cousin's child made moves, at 7 months old, to try and climb out of his crib.  Another cousin actually did climb over and jump out, and crawled down the hall, at 5 months old!  I thought "How fortunate I am, that after 2 years, my twin boys still don't know how to get out of their cribs."  I spoke too soon!  The very next morning, I found my little guys on the floor of their bedroom!  I'd been extra tired that morning and slept like a rock until my alarm went off, when usually I wake a little before it goes off, or when the boys start to make noises or cry.  So, who knows how long they'd been puttering around the room?  It could have been for quite awhile, since they were particularly fussy and tired later that day.

I'm not going to go into reasons why you might not want your child getting in and out of the crib yet themselves.  Maybe another time.  I don't know about you, but this is one of my favorite sights, below:  (minus the feet sticking out, which is J's favorite position and is weird.  I've seen him purposely wiggle himself into this position before falling asleep.)

Being part of Generation Y (Or Gen X, not really sure), I went online for answers.  I belong to the Multiples of America (formerly known as the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Club, which is much longer and harder to say and type), and if you're a parent of multiples I strongly recommend you join your local chapter as well.  As a member you can join the Facebook page and get all kinds of advice from other parents of multiples.  So I asked on Facebook how people keep babies in their cribs.  Here is some advice I got:

  • Put sleep sacks on your kids for bed.  It can add a layer of warmth in winter without worrying about covers being kicked off, but lightweight ones can be found for summer too.  They also can possibly prevent little legs from swinging up and over a crib side.  I just ordered these: Halo Big Kids SleepSack.  We used Halo brand swaddles until 6 months and loved the brand.
  • Turn the cribs so the lowest side is against the wall and the higher, decorative side is facing out (if crib sides vary in height).
  • Use a crib tent.  But be careful:  certain brands of crib tents have been recalled lately.
  • Take out decorative crib bumpers (not safe anyway), even breathable mesh crib bumpers, pillows, or anything else the children could use to step on and get out.  
  • If possible, lower the mattress of the crib all the way to the floor.  If there's too much of a gap between the top of the mattress and the bottom rungs of the crib, this isn't a safe option, but if the gap is tiny, say just enough for a little hand to poke in and out, then it should be fine.  This will be my next step if the sleep sacks don't work!
  • Pull out the mattresses and put them on the floor.  (This defeats my purpose of containing them, however.)
  • Bite the bullet and convert your cribs to toddler beds, if you have convertibles, or buy toddler beds.  A friend of mine with triplets recommends the Ikea toddler beds.  (If you take this step or the step above, of sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and your child knows how to open doors, then you'll also have to be prepared to start training your child to sleep in their room, or take measures to prevent them from opening the front door of the house, the door to the garage, windows, etc, for safety reasons.)
  • If you do dispense with crib sleeping, you can also put a gate on their bedroom door to prevent night wandering.
  • Toddler proof the bedroom!  I am considering bolting their dresser to the wall.  
  • The strangest suggestion I got was to turn the crib upside down (several people said this, or said their mothers had done it).  But then I have no idea how you get the child in and out.  I'll leave that scenario to your own imagination and research.  

Part 2 to this post, with updates, coming soon!  Any other suggestions?  Please comment below!


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