Ever since Gavin was born, I followed certain rules about sleeping. Even as a tiny baby, I followed the "put him to bed drowsy, but not asleep" mantra. He had very scheduled feeding time, awake time and sleep time. He rarely slept with us or on us because I was so terrified of having a child that didn't sleep well or a child that climbed into bed with us every night. That advice really seemed to work. Gavin has been sleeping through the night since he was 8 weeks old and has always napped well.
I did always have one regret about such a scheduled kiddo...he would never snuggle or sleep with us even when we wanted him to. When it was time to go to bed, he wanted to be put down in his crib and left alone. He even told me, "bye bye" one night when I lingered to rub his head, so cuddling before bedtime was out of the question!
About 3 weeks ago when I was putting Gavin down to bed, he said, "Hold you, Mama?" I said, "You want Mama to hold you?" He said, "uh huh". So, I gave him his monkey blanket, and we went over to the rocking chair so that I could hold him for a little while. After about 3 or 4 minutes, I put him down in his bed drowsy, but not asleep. The next afternoon before his nap he said, "Hold you Mama? Rocking in rocking chair?" This time we sat down in the rocking chair for about 5 minutes. I started to feel his breath get a little slower and louder, his head got a little heavier on my chest, and then he stopped moving. Oops. I rocked him to sleep!!! I sat rocking him for another 5 minutes or so just enjoying our time together. I picked him up and put him in bed, and he didn't even move! And guess what? I liked it so much, we did it again the next day! That night, I put him down after rocking him for a couple of minutes, and he started to whimper. "Hold you Mama? Rocking in rocking chair?" Realizing that this was a bad idea, I said, "No baby, it's time to go nite nite. I love you", and then I left the room. He went to bed without incident, but this really made me think. It felt so great to have him fall asleep on me, but doing that is pretty selfish. If I keep doing that, he'll expect it and won't be able to go to sleep by himself or he'll nap poorly at school because I'm not there to rock him. I guess rocking him to sleep every now and then isn't such a bad thing, but I need to be careful not to make it a habit...no matter how great it feels.