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My Toddler Sleeps Like A Champ

Don't Shoot Me

Yes he does - but before you start getting angry with me for bragging, hear me out, I can accept that I'm not a perfect parent. When I noticed my son changing up his sleep patterns, I realized that it wasn't really my doing; I can't take credit for his sleep. There are things that I do, advice I was given, that encourages good sleep behaviors. But even with all the best training, some kids just suck at sleeping, and some are great sleepers.

Man, naps are the best.

Early Sleep

When Shep was an infant, we coslept frequently. I liked the convenience of being able to nurse without getting up in the middle of the night. During naptime, I didn't limit noise, so he learned how to sleep through anything. Shep seemed to sleep well as an infant until he started to crawl. Once he became mobile, he started waking and crawling around the bed. I asked his pediatrician about helping him stay asleep, and she shared that she kicked her own kids out of her bed at six months. I resisted the idea for a few more weeks, which probably wasn't helpful to anyone.

Self Soothing

Here it is, the controversial bit. I tried lots of different things to help my son get to sleep. After he started sleeping in his own crib, Shep started fighting bedtime.

toddler-sleeping-falling-off-bed
That seems comfortable.

If he stayed up too late, he'd get hyper and easily upset. After tons of reading, I tried gentle sleep training - where I stayed in the room with him until he settled. But having me near was amping him up instead of calming him down. When this method didn't work, I cycled through a few others until I landed on cry-it-out. I realize this is a touchy subject for some, and I can appreciate that. Giving in to the CIO that we used was hard for me, and it's part of why I don't judge parents for doing whatever works for their family.

CIO grated on me. Hearing my child cry bangs on every one of my anxiety drums, so sitting still while he cried for what felt like hours royally sucked. I had to ask my husband, "Tell me not to go in there." Within three days, Shep was crying less than ten minutes before going to sleep. Soon that dropped to two minutes of mildly annoyed cries.

Current Sleep Situation

That looks like one happy, well-rested baby.

When Shep finally got his own room at one year old, he started going down for bedtime with no fussing at all. Probably 85% of his nights are him waving goodbye to me as I close his bedroom door, happy as ever. My husband and I  established a bedtime routine that isn't drawn out, but feels relaxing. We pray with Shep (as he cuddles into our chests), then say goodnight to his stuffed animals, and then set him down in his bed. He lays down on his pillow and tucks himself in, and waves me out of the room. This whole shebang is done in a dark room with soft voices. Again, this is an average night - but not every night. On bad nights, he spends a few minutes being upset - or, tellingly, only cries until I close the door.

How Did We Get Here?

Again, I can't take much credit here - Shep decided to be a good sleeper all on his own. He's not perfect, but who is? I'm more than happy with the twelve hours he typically racks up each night. I can't say it was my doing, but I did get some good advice that worked out well for our family. I hope you feel confident that you will find something that works for you!

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