On crib recalls and baby sleep

Did you see these news items from yesterday? Over one million cribs recalled, and a world-wide ban on drop-sided cribs. Wowza!

We don’t have a Stork Craft crib, but we do have a drop-side one that has served us well through three boys. It was made by a little mom and pop outfit in Quebec, as I recall from one desperate scramble to find a missing part after we moved in 2003. I won’t be scrambling to get a replacement crib, nor will I be moving Lucas to a bed any sooner than I’m he is ready. I figure we got about another year, if we’re lucky.

In fact, just this morning I had to explain to Tristan that though I greatly appreciated his fraternal assistance, could he please *not* lift the baby out of the crib by himself in the future? I see a lot more risk in the 60 lbs not-quite-eight-year-old hauling the 35 lbs not-quite-two-year-old over the raised side of the crib than I do any inherent risk in the construction of the crib itself! I might find a way to weld or otherwise permanently attach the drop side, though. We don’t use it and haven’t really used it at all for Lucas. In fact, I’m not even sure we raised the mattress from the lower level when he was born — I think we just left it the way Simon had it when he made his way to a big-boy bed in 2006. (Oh my, I really have been blogging for a long time — and I really do love that I can poke back into the archives and find these gems that might have been otherwise lost!)

Ahem, anyway, all this prattling on about cribs has given me the opportunity to brazenly brag about mention the fact that after almost a year of hand-wringing and angst about sleep training, it’s been about a month since the day that Lucas sleep-trained himself completely without any intervention from me. Huh. Didn’t see that one coming!

As you might remember if you’re as long in the tooth around here as me, I am not opposed to letting a baby cry himself to sleep, within reason. The parameters of reason including being close to one year old or older, knowing your baby’s temperament well enough to know he can handle it, knowing you and your spouse and other family members can handle it, and never letting a baby cry longer than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. Those were my personal yardsticks. Sleep training Tristan took about a week; Simon a little longer. Both were between 10 months and a year old.

Lucas’s first birthday came and went, and he was still falling asleep the way he had since birth — in my arms, usually while I sat in the living room far from the going-to-bed chaos of the big boys upstairs. It would take between 20 and 45 minutes for him to drift off, considerably less at nap time. And no matter how much I favoured the idea of sleep training in principle, no matter how much I yearned for the freedom of simply being able to put the baby in the crib and kiss his fuzzy head and walk away — I just couldn’t do it with Lucas.

And then one day last month, I thought he was asleep when I ported him upstairs but I realized as I lay him into his crib that he was watching me. So I did exactly that — kissed his fuzzy head, said goodnight, closed the door and walked away. I went in to kiss the big boys goodnight, gave them a little cuddle and paused outside Lucas’s door. Silence. Hmmm, how curious. So I shrugged my shoulders and walked downstairs, waiting for him to bellow.


About half an hour later, I couldn’t resist any longer, so I went upstairs and peeked into his room. He was, to my everlasting astonishment, sleeping. Imagine that! So the next night, just like I have done every other night (because I know from reading every baby sleep book ever written the importance of routine) I told him the story of his day, gave him a little cuddle with his precious “blanky and soo”, and when he was calm but still awake I brought him upstairs and put him in his crib. By the time I had said goodnight to the big boys, he was standing in his crib hollering for me — I tell you, I was almost relieved! — and so I walked back in, tucked him back under the covers, told him I loved him and it was time to go to sleep and walked out again. And — he did!

Giddy with success, three days later we started putting him in his crib awake at nap time too — and do you know what? That worked too. Right from the start. I swear, nobody was more shocked than me.

Now, one of my favourite parts of the day is bedtime, when I put Lucas in his crib, tuck his blankets around him, and sing a couple of verses of my perennial bedtime favourite, You are My Sunshine. I can’t quite keep from laughing as he calls out the last word in every line to “sing” along with me: sunshine, happy, grey, dear, you. Really, it’s way too cute.

Anyway, that’s how we sleep trained Lucas. Or he sleep trained us. I have a suspicion he’s wanted us to just put him in his crib and leave him in peace for months, but he just didn’t have the words to tell us! One of these days he’s going to tell me how he really feels about my singing, but that’s a post for another day.

Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

12 thoughts on “On crib recalls and baby sleep”

  1. That’s a great sleep-training story. I had one kid like that, two. (The other two? Not so much.)

    I’m sort of heaving a sigh now, though, as I try to figure out where to get replacement hardware for our old drop-side crib. I’m saving it for future grandchildren, and I can just hear my kids in twenty years, snapping at me that of course that dangerous, dangerous crib is Not Acceptable for their new baby.

    My dad still has my bright-green, bathed-in-lead-paint, 8″ railed crib in a crawlspace at home. He should have tossed it years ago. There’s a lesson in that, but I’m not listening. LALALALALA.

  2. Oh I’m so, so jealous. I just posted last night about our struggle to get our 16-month old to sleep through the night. There is no problem putting her down for naps or at bedtime totally awake, and we have a bathtime/bedtime routine at night, at the end of which she snuggles into her crib with her blankie and goes to sleep. Sometimes she even waves at me as I leave the room. Our problem has been getting her to sleep through the night without waking up several times in the wee hours, and staying in her crib past 5am.
    As for the crib, we have a drop side we bought two years ago (not the recalled brands though) and I really like it. I’m short, and still have trouble putting my daughter down in a lying down position onto her dropped mattress without having the side down. It was fine when she was an infant & we had the mattress raised, but the drop side prevents me from pitching my daughter in her crib and hoping for the best 🙂

  3. It sounds like maybe Lucas has been very sweet in letting you rock him to sleep all these months…maybe he senses that he is your last baby and that you wanted (and needed) to hold on for just a little bit longer. =)

    These little moments, all of them, are the precious endings of babyhood. What a beautiful post.

  4. Oh that is awesome. I had the opposite happen with my M, he had been going to sleep on his own from the start and then at about a year he decided no more. It was a hard time but we survived. I hope this next guy will be easier on me 🙂

  5. Um, I don’t think it gets better than that! We’ve never done any sleep training. What I/we do is get into bed (either one of us) with our 4 year old, read him books, and lie there until he falls asleep. As for my baby (22 months) I then lie down with him in MY bed, cuddling, until he falls asleep. Then I put him in his crib, asleep. Around 1 a.m. he will wake up, calling for me, and I automatically go get him, and bring him to my bed. Hubby then goes to sleep with our oldest son in his queen size bed. And now I’m starting to think… maybe we should be doing something to change this? Although, I must admit, I LOVE sleeping beside my baby – I did that with Christos until Dimitry was born, almost every night!

  6. we are an “you are my sunshine” family as well, and the youngest does the same as yours, shouting out the main words. so cute.

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