It only happened because we were staying at the beach house. They don’t normally share a room.
Before I tell you what happened – and what might have happened had we not been so close – I want to say this. This is not fear mongering. This is not over reacting. This is written in reaction to an event that probably took 10 years off my life. I’m blessed it didn’t take more.
We’d had a long morning at the beach and came back in time for lunch and a nap. Somebody needed to share a room, and my baby (5 months) and oldest son (3 years) were chosen because of their temperaments and ability to sleep through noise. I usually turned on the white noise app on my cell phone, but little hands had misplaced it.
But let’s rewind… a few days earlier I had a feeling, a warning perhaps, that I should remove all the loose blankets in the room. I didn’t fully heed the feeling since I always worry I’m paranoid, but it never fully left my mind. That afternoon, I put my son down in the room, and then a few minutes later put the baby in his pack n play at the foot of the bed.
We were scouring the house for my cell phone when I heard a cry like I’d never heard until that point. I looked at my mom and asked if it was my toddler and she said she couldn’t tell. A few seconds later I knew. It was the baby and he was in distress.
I ran as fast as my legs could take me and opened the door. My 3 year old son was under the covers on the bed and the baby was completely covered up by a heavy bath towel and thrashing. And screaming. It was the worst sound I’d ever heard. And yet the best sound.
I removed the towel, grabbed my baby, and somehow didn’t have a heart attack. My son was under the covers crying and scared. A few minutes later when my husband was laying with him we realized what happened. Through tears he said, “I tried to get it off, but couldn’t reach it.”
The baby was smiling by this time, but my son was distressed. The crying had distressed him. Our reactions had distressed him. The situation had distressed him. He didn’t mean to cause harm, he just wanted to cover him up and tuck him in. But because he couldn’t reach down inside the pack n play, he couldn’t fix it.
We should teach our children not to cover or tuck in the little ones.
We should remove loose blankets or heavy throws from reach.
We should always – without fail – follow our gut.
Because unless they’re older, they don’t get it. Because if the baby is sleeping when they do it, there may never be distressed crying. Because putting them both in a room for nap or bedtime doesn’t mean they are sleeping. Because they’re little. And they don’t get it.
- Getting Creative With Sleeping Arrangements
- How to teach your baby to sleep at someone else’s house
- Guaranteed Baby Wind Down Routines
I’ve created a free email series just for you! There are truly only a few reasons why babies and toddlers have struggles sleeping… really, I mean it. I am going to teach you the main 3 reasons and how to start making small changes to help your baby go from:
- fighting sleep to embracing it
- night wakings to sleeping through
- needing you to jump through hoops to going to sleep on their own
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