Baby Stuff

The Curse of the Rock n’ Play

In terms of baby gear for our second baby, we figured that we had the basics covered – an Arms Reach Mini Co-Sleeper bassinet that he probably wouldn’t sleep in anyway, infant carriers, a borrowed car seat, and a little bouncy chair of neglect. About a week before I my scheduled induction, I asked a friend to borrow her Rock n’ Play. My friend obliged, and loaned us a really basic model. She apologetically explained that this RNP only had a vibrator function and not the toy bar or the automatic rocking feature.

I had read posts in my online moms group about these magical Rock n’ Plays. Allegedly, babies slept so much better in them, even though the AAP says that these contraptions, as well as anything other than a firm, flat surface are not safe for sleeping. I had also seen posts about the challenge of transitioning a baby out of the RNP and into cribs, but I must have blocked that out of my mind when I saw the shiny treasure of potential sleep. We did some research on how many hours he would need to be in it to get a weirdly shaped head (18 hours, according to whatever my husband Googled). I figured, what the hell, if we might get some sleep let’s give it a shot.

We’ve been cursed by the damn Rock n’ Play

Whether it was the stupid little snuggly animal ears, the incline for his head, the fact that it made my baby sleep like a taco, or that even when he busted out of his swaddle he was contained in a small space, he slept. Unlike my first baby who wouldn’t stay asleep in the bassinet for more than a few minutes and only slept on me for the first few months of his life, this guy would crash in that RNP for two to three hour naps. It was amazing.

Even more amazing than the naps was the night sleep. Somewhere around the eight week mark, our baby started sleeping 8-11 hour stretches at night.

I figured that this sleeping baby was what the universe was giving me for having such a poor sleeper for our first. I didn’t attribute the success to the RNP. Truthfully, I don’t know if that was what did it or not, but I liked sleeping so he stayed in it.

We got greedy, drunk on having a newborn that slept.

Nailing baby sleep is like when your losing team wins. You can get really crazy and superstitious. With our first, if he slept well at all I tried to recreate it by tracing my steps  – I was singing “And We Bid You Goodnight,” I was wearing the blue star socks, the blinds were closed facing upward, my hair wasn’t washed, and it was when my husband had the beard – change nothing and see if it will work tomorrow. Neither my husband nor I wanted to move him into the bassinet and chance that our sleeping streak would end. However, I knew that things might change around the four month mark, and we had to get him into a crib and used to flat sleep. We bought a mini-crib as he has to stay in our room for now, and figured we would make the transition just after Thanksgiving when he was about five months old.

Holy shit is it hard to get a baby moved from the Rock n’ Play into a crib. We have been trying for over a month to get this baby into the crib and out of the damn RNP. He’s way too big for it with his legs sticking up over the end of it. He’s too mobile, and he’s trying to sit up in it. Anytime he wakes up in it, I’m rushing in like lightening to make sure he doesn’t flip himself over the side. Our first baby moved into the crib at about 14 weeks, so this is all new territory.

We’ve tried getting him used to it just at nap times; putting him in it at night when he’s totally passed out; putting him in at night swaddled; putting him in at night one-arm out swaddled; and no swaddle at night in a sleep sack on his back/side/tummy. Seriously, we’ve been at this for over  six weeks.

I think we may have it this time. The winning combination is sleep sack, totally passed out and on his tummy, as even if he goes in on his back he rolls himself over now.

The Rock n’Play is still in our room. I’m afraid that I’ll need it again and have it put away, or worse, have returned it to it’s rightful owner/the depths of hell from whence it came.

Despite our experience and how hard this transition has been, I found myself looking at a sleep deprived mom this week asking, “have you tried a Rock n’ Play?”




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