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The past almost 6 years have been a sleepy daze. Everything seems to be a bit hazy from lack of sleep. Both of my kids needed to be sleep trained and I am still not done. My 2-year-old is not the best sleeper and wakes often at night. The current problem is that we are trying to transition her to her “big girl bed” in her room with her big brother. She has slept with us from the beginning. After 2 and a half years sleeping next to mommy, it will not be easy to get her used to sleeping in her own bed. So we are in the midst of toddler sleep issues with her.

Sebastian’s sleep Issues

My first was so different when it came to sleeping. He had day and night inverted at birth. And for some reason, the 4 am hour was always the party hour for him. That didn’t stop until he was about 3. When he was born, we co-slept. We actually bed shared. No matter how we swaddled or how we placed him in his bassinet, he was not having it. He wanted to snuggle with mom. So, we did everything we could to make the bed safer. I did not use my big comforter. We kept the pillows away. We dressed him warm and placed him between us. But we also both slept towards the edges of the bed. I was such a paranoid mom with him, that I would wake up often to check on him and make sure he was still breathing. I suffered a miscarriage before conceiving him. This made me scared that something would go wrong.

He stayed in our bed until he learned to climb down on his own and walk. This was when the 4 am party hour became an issue. He learned to jump out of the bed and everything became a toy. Needless to say, we didn’t sleep and that’s when we decided it was time to move him to his room and in his crib. At this point, he was about 18 months old. My nighttime routine with him consisted of story time with some milk while I rocked him in the rocker. This would get him nice and drowsy and he would fall asleep. But, the moment I would place him in his crib, he would wake up crying. I would then pick him up and sit in the rocker until he was so deep in sleep that he didn’t notice I had slipped him in his crib.

Teach children to self-soothe by giving them a few minutes before responding to fussing.

This became an issue because he got used to me rocking him. So now every time he would wake up in the middle of the night, I would have to rock him to sleep again. He was waking up every 2-3 hours which means that I became a very sleep deprived mama. I finally got my hands on Dr. Richard Ferber’s book and started “Ferberizing” him. This is a cry it out method where you allow him to cry for a few minutes, and then go in and check on him. You would continue to check on your baby in intervals instead of rushing over the moment he starts crying. The first time you check on him after, say, 3 minutes. The second time after 4 minutes. Then after 5 minutes. You keep going like this until you reach a certain time and then you keep checking after a set time. It took a while, but he did fall asleep. Training him in this way took about 5 days, but he got it! We would put him in his crib, say good night, and he would lay down and go to sleep on his own.

Madison’s Sleep Issues

Madison has been a whole different story. She started off the same. She only wanted to sleep with me. I was able to only breastfeed her whereas with Sebastian I wasn’t able to. So keeping her in the room with me was beneficial to both of us. After she turned 1, we tried moving her to her crib. It seemed that no matter how low the crib was, she jumped it. She is my little Houdini. She knows how to find a way out of anything! Strollers, high chairs, walkers, and cribs. The only thing she has not been able to get out of is her car seat. So far that is the only thing that can contain her because nothing else will.

So for her safety (and my sanity), she has stayed with us. But it’s reached a point already where this arrangement is no longer working for me. She became super attached to me. Too attached. She would use me as a pacifier and a drive-thru. It got to the point where she would throw a tantrum if I was not within sight. I am still not able to go to the bathroom without an audience and even showering was an issue. I decided for my sanity that it was time to wean. I love being able to snuggle with her, but it got to be too much. I felt useless and the constant touching and hanging off of me was too much. It has gotten to the point that I would cringe whenever she would grab me by the shirt because I knew what she wanted. It has become such a stressor. I started layering my clothes and making it very difficult for her to have access to “nigh-nigh’s”. At this point, she is almost weaned. She does still ask for it on occasions, but not to the level that it was.

Now that she has weaned, we are working on moving her. Since she was never used to a crib, this has been difficult for us because she won’t stay in her bed. I will place her in her bed when she’s sleepy and she insists I lay down next to her. So this is what I’ve been doing. I will lay next to her until she is in a deep sleep and I will then leave and go to my bed. At first, she would wake every 2 hours in a panic that I was not by her side anymore. Now she understands that mom is still nearby and will sleep for longer stretches. She still comes looking for me though.

I don’t have a solution yet but I am going through sleep resources like Tuck. Their main purpose is to disseminate information on proper sleep health.

Did I spoil her? Yes, I did. She is my baby and my last baby, so I want to cherish every moment of her littleness. I know it’s going to be a long road for me. After looking through the Parent’s Guide to Healthy Sleep I know we will make it through to the other side. It will be a longer process than had she been sleep trained as a baby.

If you have any issues with your baby’s sleep, do go to the Tuck website. The guide on sleep in infancy and their safe baby sleep products guides are very informative. It is a wonderful resource that I wish I had found earlier. I would have made a clearer plan on when and how to sleep train Madison so we wouldn’t have this problem now.