Thursday, July 30, 2020

Sleep Training a Toddler

Sleep training is hard! I want to start with that and let all the moms know that it isn't easy but you will get through it. You are not a horrible mother, despite what you might feel. Believe me, I hated letting my little boy cry and bang on the door but now he is sleeping great.

Our journey was a little different. Wyatt was always a great sleeper. He was sleeping through the night at 2 months old. Around 4-5 months, I got a new job teaching English to Chinese kids. That meant early hours, especially being on the West Coast. I would work from 4am - 6am, sometimes earlier. We were living in a trailer at that time and Wyatt was in his bassinet in our bedroom. At 6 months, we moved him into his crib which happened to be in the same room as where I taught. You can check out our travel trailer remodel here.

When we moved him into the crib, we needed to change something if I wanted to keep teaching. At first, I would get up a little before my first class and move him to our bed. Sometimes it would take him 10 minutes to fall back asleep and other times it took longer. After a while, it got hard with my husband having to leave around 5am for work. 

One night, he uttered the famous last words - "Why don't we just let him sleep in the bed with us." As you can guess, one night turned into a week which turned into a month and then 6 months. 

At the 5 month (of sleeping with us) point, we were moving and buying a house where he would finally have his own room. We moved in around month 6 (of sleeping with us) and he went into his own bed. We tried the crib at first but he wouldn’t have it. He felt like he was in jail after being in our bed with all the pillows and blankets. We had an extra mattress (which he loves now, especially all the pillows) and the sleep training began. Don't judge me for giving my son pillows at 16 months because he got very used to them when he slept with us. 

I did a ton of research as to how I wanted to approach it. I took different ideas and created my own form. First, we would do our bedtime routine - bath time, brush teeth, book time and bedtime. I’d lay in there for a few minutes with him and then leave. Of course, he would start crying, get up, and bang on the door. I waited 5 minutes before entering his room again. I’d stay in there for a few minutes again to calm him down and leave once again. This time, I waited 10 minutes and continued this pattern, adding 5 minutes each time. The first night was the worst, going all the way up to 25 minutes. 

You can see our progression below:

Day 1: Fell asleep after 25 min timer (75 minutes total of crying)

Day 2: Fell asleep after 10 min timer (15 minutes total of crying)

Day 3: Fell asleep after 15 min timer (30 minutes total of crying)

Day 4: Fell asleep after 15 min timer (30 minutes total of crying)

Day 5: Cried for 1-2 minutes and fell asleep before 5 min timer went off

Day 6: Fell asleep in the cuddle time between 15 and 20 min timer

Day 7: Fell asleep a minute into 25 minute timer 

Day 8: Fell asleep in cuddle between 15 and 20 minute timer 

Day 9: Fell asleep about 2 minutes into the 10 minute timer

Day 10: Fell asleep 30 seconds into 10 minute timer

Day 11: Fell asleep a minute into 5 minute timer 

Day 12: Fell asleep 30 seconds into 10 min timer 

Day 13: Fell asleep a minute into 5 minute timer

Day 14: No crying, fell asleep a few minutes after I left.

This is a video of a calm night. Most nights were more of a screaming cry.

Now he is going to sleep on his own and sleeping through the entire night. It is nice to be able to have some time to myself after he is in bed and hang with my husband. That first week was so hard but we got through it and I wouldn’t change it. You can do it! If you need encouragement, feel free to reach out. I am no sleep expert but I am a mom that has been there!

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