Ah, sleep. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has advice on how to get your kids to sleep. Here’s the thing: what works for one, does NOT work for all. I’ve mentioned many times that W was not a good sleeper. He started off sleeping well and slept through the night relatively early, but around the time he started teething, it all went downhill. I received LOTS of advice. Shorter naps, longer naps, earlier bed time, later bed time, feed him more, Motrin, music, white noise, etc., etc. All that advice did was make me crazy. And the funny thing is, I don’t recall asking for any of it. At the end of the day, I think some kiddos are just great sleepers and some are not. If your kid happens to be a great sleeper, you probably think you had something to do with it. I think you’re just lucky. J
I’m sharing what worked for us on the off chance that it might help someone. But I stand by my earlier statement. All kids are different.
W: As I mentioned, W was never a great sleeper. When he was tiny, he would not take naps in his crib. I tried. Lord knows I tried. But every time I’d put him in his crib, he’d wake up. And he took these little cat naps, 30 minutes at a time. As he grew, some nights, he’d sleep all night and other nights he wouldn’t. It was inconsistent. A and I were accustomed to him waking in the night every so often. But it got much, much worse when S arrived. W would wake every.single.night. Even when S started sleeping through the night, W would still wake up. We couldn’t just put him back in bed, either. He became inconsolable if we tried to leave his room, crying for hours. So what finally worked? Well, a few things… We got him a big boy bed that he loved. Actually, his race car bed is a loan from A’s brother and sister in law. We talked about how cool W’s bed was and really built it up so that he’d want to sleep in it. And it worked! We started laying with him until he fell asleep and still do. W knows that I will stay until he’s asleep, but then I go sleep in my bed and surprisingly, he’s fine with that. I typically lay with him for 15 minutes at most. And finally, we invested in a special clock. Sam, the sleep sheep changes colors to let W know when he can get out of bed. Dark blue for stay in bed, green for 30 minutes left, and light blue for when he can get out of bed. W does get up before his clock tells him to every now and then, but he stays in bed all night (unless he’s sick or there’s a storm). This is a complete turnaround from a year ago and such a relief for A and I. At some point, I assume W will be fine falling asleep on his own, but for now this works for us.
S: S has always been a relatively good sleeper. He usually takes great naps and always has. Sometime around the one year mark, S started waking every night. A or myself would give him a bottle and he’d often fall right back to sleep after his bottle. During his one year well child checkup, the pediatrician asked how S was sleeping and I was honest. She recommended not giving a bottle, telling us it was bad for his teeth and that S would continue waking because it was routine. Well, A and I tried not giving a bottle a couple consecutive nights and S was just not having it. I feared he was going to wake W and I didn’t have the energy to stay up for hours. It was also clear to us that the bottle wasn’t just for comfort, S was legitimately hungry. On a whim one night, I decided to give S a mixture of oatmeal, puree, and yogurt in an attempt to fill his belly before bed. And what do you know, he slept through the night. I did it again the following night and magically, he slept all night again. He hadn’t slept 2 nights in a row in months. Not sure why it took me so long to figure this out because it seems so obvious now. But we still follow this practice and S sleeps through the night 5-6 times per week. Quite the difference from the 1-2 nights per week we had grown accustomed to.