On Monday evening Reindeer was particularly unsettled, although we have no idea why. Various wake-ups necessitated various getting-back-to-sleeps. And various getting-back-to-sleeps necessitated various Cot Transfers.
Of all the hazards I’d contemplated prior to Reindeer’s birth, putting him into his cot once he was asleep just didn’t feature. The dangers of birth, correctly positioning him on his back for sleep and not allowing his head to slump forward in the car seat all had varying degrees of worry allocated to them. Actually putting him in his cot? Not a moment was wasted worrying about this. But that was before.
As a veteran of over a thousand Cot Transfers, I can report that this is one of the most fraught manoeuvres a parent must perform. Whether it takes mere moments, or hours of intense effort, once Reindeer is asleep I want him to have a decent stretch of good quality rest. To achieve that he really needs to be in his cot. Naturally, as a baby, all of his instincts tell him that lying in his cot to sleep is The Worst Thing Ever and should be avoided at all costs. As such, he also has that internal baby alarm which will trigger him back to alertness the nanosecond his back touches the mattress unless I get the Cot Transfer perfect.
There is no margin for error.
My technique now requires the following for the Cot Transfer to have even a chance of success:
1. A Reindeer who has been fast asleep for a minimum of twenty respirations
2. I must be wearing a long sleeved top
3. Slowly, slowly, slowly: lowering him in is by very gentle degrees
4. Retrieval of the arms. Removing the arm under his legs is usually a doddle. Removing the arm under his shoulders needs to be done very, very slowly and with great care. It can take up to a minute to do on a bad night
5. Retreat quickly and quietly. Do not hesitate.
Failure to perform any step usually results in a wide awake baby who needs you to start again at the getting-back-to-sleep phase.
Last night included the added step of getting a sleeping Reindeer out of his car seat and up to bed first. Fortunately, knowing we’d be getting home after his bedtime, he was already in his pyjamas and gro-bag. For some reason this Cot Transfer went relatively smoothly once he’d had a feed.
If there is a foolproof method for completing the Transfer I’ve yet to find it, but something tells me there are going to be plenty more attempts to practice on!