Monday, April 29, 2013

mama confessions: adventures in sleep training

One of the biggest challenges of new mamahood for me has been sleep training.  

Someone gave us the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth when Cormac was about two months old, stating, "This book changed our lives." 

I am always in favor of an instruction manual, so I gladly accepted the book and it literally got me through the first year of his life.  I devoured that book, poring over each section/stage and hanging on every logical word the doc wrote.  It has been my life preserver.  You don't know how many times I would read a chapter {over and over and over} and feel a sense of peace wash over me, thinking, "Okay, he is normal." or "No, I am not mean for doing this." 

Not that it hasn't been hard.

You don't know how many times during the period where we were training him to self-soothe {aka putting him in his crib awake and letting him cry/fuss before falling asleep} that I balled tears of mama guilt and sat on the back step with a glass of red wine, praying when I went back inside the house he would be asleep.
But I am so, so, so glad we stuck it out.  Some disagree with "crying it out" method but the logic laid out in this book was what I needed. I needed a schedule-baby who gets good naps. Cormac is not happy when he doesn't get his nap, and it is a lose-lose for everyone. I needed naptimes to be dependable and bedtime to be reasonable and straightforward. I adore hanging out with the kiddo all day, but also need my personal space.  And time at night with Hubby.  We have always done early bedtimes {between 6pm when he was younger and 8pm now}and he has always done great with it and slept until around 7am (sometimes 8am) consistently for as long as I can remember.

Soon enough he was falling asleep on his own, with barely any fussing.  {By soon enough, I mean it took a couple months.  But every baby is different.}

Then, in the past few months, we got to the sweet spot of napping where, he would go down with no fuss right at 1pm and sleep consistently for three hours. 

Now the challenge has begun again.  A week ago we started putting him down in the "big boy bed" - which we had set up a week or so before in his room just so he could get used to it.  We had been talking to him about it, and about how the baby would be sleeping in the crib.  He seemed okay.  Then we moved the crib into the {now painted and with furniture!!!!} nursery and he has seemed totally okay with that.  He didn't cry, and whenever he sees the crib he points to my tummy or otherwise ignores it.
He loves his big boy bed!  He just does not love staying in it.
The first couple nights he was fine and all went smoothly.  He went down, and not a peep.  Naps were equally non-dramatic, although I broke my own rule and laid there with him for five minutes while he fell asleep.

However, now he has figured out he is no longer confined to his crib.  He can escape.  As soon as we leave the room when we put him down awake he jumps right out and pitter-patters to the door (which sadly cannot be babyproofed due to the old age and how it was installed) and comes to find us.  If we are downstairs he stands at the baby gate and wails, "Maaaaaah!" 
He gets up earlier.  He wakes up at night and requires soothing.  His naps are not quite as long most days.

Hubby and I are feeling a bit more tired these days.  Plus, we are working really hard to finish up a bunch of projects to be ready for baby number two.

And I am ready to pop, so that doesn't help.

So there is my confession - toddler bed transitioning has been HARD.  If we didn't have a baby ready to make an appearance any day, I would have kept him in his crib at least another year. 

That is all.

(Oh, and I spilled water on my laptop - so that accounts for my lack of recent posting!)

Happy Monday!  :D


  1. i may need to check out that book...i've been reading you know how similar or different it is?

  2. Yes, you are brave. I said I would start thinking about a bed when he starts climbing out of his crib. ;)

    The good news is your new baby won't be in the crib for a bit, so at least he won't be jealous about that.

    GOOD LUCK! Ooohhhh. Baby, baby, baby.

    And yes to sleep training. I am hoping that I never have to do it with Maggie, though. Fingers crossed! It was AWFUL, wasn't it?

  3. i was totally that kid who learned how to climb out of the crib at a VERY early age, lol. :) good luck with this new transition... for all of you!

  4. Greta,

    We starting using this clock for our daughter when we transitioned her to her big girl bed.

    You set the time for the pictures to change! We use it for bedtime and nap time. She knows she's not allowed out of bed until the sunshine shows up on her clock! I'm now sure all kids are as obedient to the clock as she is, but it has worked out so well for us. We even take it on vacation with us! :)

    It's not cheap, but definitely worth every penny for us!

    Good luck!

    Kari Engstrom


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