The Great Sleep Myth
Ok moms… I’m going to throw this out there and say I used to be that obnoxious mom when it came to infant/toddler sleep. Tiny human #1 fueled my delusions that babies slept, and slept well. Once he was out of that newborn waking ‘round the clock business, that boy could sleep! (And he still does at almost 4!)
Tiny Human #1
By 4 weeks old, he was going to bed around 8-9pm and waking for feedings at 12am, 3am, and 6am and then up for the day at 8am. By 6 weeks, he was waking for feedings at 2am and 6am. By 8 weeks, he was sleeping 8pm-8am with no wake ups. And it continued. I went back to work when he was 10 weeks and he was sleeping like a champ.
Never did I have to worry about him waking up through the night after that (except for a 4 month stint from 7mo-11mo when he got RSV and then his first double ear infection that lead to 4-6 wake ups a night until the day of his ear tube surgery when he magically went back to sleeping through the night again. Yay!)
I did everything the books say not to. I nursed him to sleep every nap and bedtime. I rocked him before I laid him down. I only swaddled him for a short period of time because it didn’t make a difference in his sleep. I let him sleep wherever, whenever as an infant. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Why was I seeing soooo many blog posts and articles about infant/toddler sleep and sleep training? It’s not that difficult to get a baby to sleep!
Tiny Human #2
And then I got a HUGE slap in the face when tiny human #2 was born. I’m talking a slap to knock yo momma back to the stone ages kind of slap. Tiny human #2 abhorred sleep. Sleep was for weenies and he was trying to prove how much he was NOT a weenie. From the time we left the hospital until he was around a year old, the kid would wake up 4-10 times a night. I’m not even joking! It was the hardest year of my life. I’m pretty sure it helped fuel my postpartum anxiety/depression.
What had happened to my pretty little box of falsehoods that babies slept! Then I had to eat crow. Not all babies follow the rules and sleep. From the time he was 7 months old to almost 14 months old, we lived with my in-laws while we sold our home and bought a new one when we moved for my husband’s new job. That meant tiny human #1 and #2 had to share a room. Which made sleep training impossible. Which made mommy grumpy.
Time to Sleep Train
Sleep training became my best friend when we moved into our new house. Except even that has proven difficult to do with a 15 month old. He loved having mommy milk and then being rocked into an oblivion only to wake up 3x a night demanding said milk still at 15 months old. I tried it all. CIO, Pick up/Put Down, Ferber, etc. Little man was (is? Lol) STUBBORN. He would scream so hard he would throw up. Then one night enough was enough. So I sat down, made a list of all the sleep training methods I could find and a short description of what they were. Then I made a tailored plan for tiny human part deaux.
And it worked. Night #1, it took him 50 minutes to fall asleep on his own. Night #2, we were down to 20 minutes. He slept through until the early morning hours and then went back to sleep on his own. It was a miracle! Three weeks in, we are still working on it, but we are down to 1 wake up around 2-3am and about half of those wake ups he will put himself back to sleep. I’ll keep you posted (You can see my follow up post How I Sleep Trained My 15 Month Old here)
The Great Sleep Myth eventually ends...
Hang in there mommy. If you got to my blog post, you most likely were google searching sleep training at 3 am while you rocked your baby and cried. I get it. You’re exhausted and see no light at the end of the tunnel. When trying to get tiny human #2 to sleep, I always told myself that one day he would either sleep or it would no longer be my problem but his. Point being, there is always an end to the madness. I hope that you find yours.
If the traditional sleep methods aren't working for your toddler, I also wrote an ebook on how I got my 15 month old sleep trained called Sleep Training Your Reluctant Toddler. You can read about it here.