So, you’ve finally managed to rock your baby to sleep. This is a feat all on its own — you should be proud. But now you’d like to spend the next hour or two not stuck motionless under a sleeping baby and developing an annoying neck cramp. Here’s how:
With your free hand (the one not bearing the weight of sleeping baby’s head), carefully remove your nipple and/or bottle, pacifier, or lock of your own hair from sleeping baby’s mouth. This may require some gentle tug-of-war with sleeping baby’s sleepy, yet extremely vigorous, suckle. If suckling item is removed and baby remains asleep, sigh (silently), and move on to Step #2; if baby wakes up screaming, re-insert suckling item and start over.
Carefully slide the hand that was previously engaged in suckle-tug-of-war under sleeping baby’s legs so that baby is now fully cradled in your arms. At this point, avoid looking down at sleeping baby’s perfect sleeping face. Avoid thinking words like precious or thoughts like this won’t last forever or else you’ll begin to spiral and lose the precious, fleeting moments that could be used to sweep under a chair or chip away at the first episode of Downton Abbey. Also, keep from craning your neck to try to touch sleeping baby’s face with your lips. If you give into any of these traps and baby wakes, or if you successfully avoid these traps and still baby wakes, remove legs-hand, re-insert suckling item, sigh (audibly), then start over. The Crawley family will wait.
Baby is still asleep, and you’re ready to heed the voice in your head that says: put the baby down, you may attempt to leave the chair now. You may attempt to leave the chair. This is done most effectively in this way: hold sleeping baby tight against your chest (while avoiding glancing at that perfect sleeping face) and use your core (whatever that means) to hoist yourself and baby, simultaneously, to a standing position in one swift launch. When that creaky spot in the chair goes CREAK, make that face you always make and commit to remembering to WD40 that spot, again. Hold still and fight that sneeze with all you’ve got. If baby is still asleep, you’re killing it: It’s almost time to meet the Duke of Crowborough, maybe, if you’re lucky. If baby wakes, return to a seated position, remove hand from beneath baby’s legs, re-insert nipple/bottle/the dog’s tail, and start over. It’s okay to cry now.
Go ahead and tip-toe sleeping baby to baby’s crib. Now, the hard part: while still holding sleeping baby close to your chest, bend your body at the waist over the long edge of the crib, and only when you are in a “touch-your-toes” position, and baby’s entire body is side-lying on the mattress, ever-so-slowly remove your hand from under baby’s legs then extract your other hand from under baby’s head like a magician doing the trick with the tablecloth. If baby is still asleep, do not celebrate by kissing sleeping baby. Instead, hold your breath, that sneeze, and those sobs, and creep away from the crib. You will probably be too tired and worried about making noise to do anything besides sit on the couch and space out. So do that — you’ve earned it. If baby wakes, I’m sorry. Pick baby up and start over. Or sit on the couch and space out anyway. You deserve it. I won’t judge you.