Feb 22, 2010

Sleeping through the night

I feel like I should post about our experience with getting little miss small fry to sleep through the night by herself in her bed. I am no expert on anything to do with parenting or child's sleep habits and the few tidbits that I try, I have gotten from magazines or Supernanny. However this was a super trying experience for us and has turned out successful and I feel like there might be someone out there who is either going through the same thing or may face it in the future and maybe this will be of some help.
When we moved small fry into her big girl room before our little pumpkin was born she did just fine. Slept in her bed with no problems and stayed in her bed with no problems. She still sucked on her binkie then and drank from a bottle at night before going to sleep. Even when our little pumpkin was born she didn't seem to have a problem with going to bed in her big girl bed and staying there and sleeping all night. We did however encounter a high tantrum phase in December and that led to her chucking her binkie in the car after a disastrous Walmart experience and so he (binkie) was gone. Well things kind of just fell apart on us. She didn't want to take naps or go to sleep without it. And if she did fall asleep then she would wake up multiple times in the night crying for binkie. For nap time I had to keep her up until she was good and tired before putting her down and then as I would read her stories she would fall asleep. I thought that was great. It ended up biting us in the butt because she got so that she would not fall asleep on her own any more. And so if you tried to leave the room and she was still awake it was a screaming and crying fest. We would have to wait until she was really tired to put her to bed and read until she fell asleep. And then there was the night waking. She would get up sometimes 7 or more times in the night. I told my husband we were going to just take her back to bed each time. Don't cuddle and linger, just put her back in bed. One night we did that for 2 hours solid and she finally fell asleep in the hallway and we got her in bed. We were exhausted. We tried putting her in her room and just closing the door and letting her cry it out until she fell asleep and then opening the door afterwards. That worked but I didn't like how it felt to me. So one night I just put her in bed and then sat down on the floor in her room, not right by her bed but where she could see me, not facing her and I didn't engage in conversation but just sat and she cried for a bit but eventually fell asleep and I was able to get up and leave. It felt so much better. It didn't take nearly as long, there was no tantrum, I didn't feel like I was going to lose control. It was a fairly peaceful way to get her to go to sleep. So that became our plan. If she was to wake up we would take her back to her bed and then just sit on the floor and wait. We started in the middle of the room then after about a week moved closer to the door and closer and closer every few days. But she was smart and insisted that we sit on the floor. Still there was no crying to I felt like this was what was best. But that was in mid December. When we were still sitting on the floor by the door in Jan I thought this would never end. There were plenty of nights when I was in tears thinking "we are never going to be able to just sleep in our bed again." It felt like we weren't making any progress and if you tried to get up before she was asleep she would let you know that was not okay. But we eventually made it out the door and were sitting by the door in the hallway. Then it happened that I was home alone and the baby was crying and I just told her I needed to go and check on the baby and I would be back to check on her and she said "okay." And she fell asleep on her own. Then a few days later the same thing happened and I told her I had to go check on the baby and check the fire and I would be back and she said, "okay." Soon it got to where she would say to me, "check baby?" when I would kiss her good night and I would say, "ya I will go check on the baby and then I will be back." And guess what-we don't have to sit by the door anymore. I can say goodnight and just walk right out and she stays in her bed and sleeps through the whole night. It felt like it would never happen and I kept thinking that it wasn't working but it was. It just took time. I am so glad we didn't just give up on the idea and let her jump in bed with us, or decide to have one of us hold her every night until she fell asleep. Those habits would be so hard to break down the road. It just took time but it worked. And maybe it will be helpful to someone else out there too.
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  1. I'm so glad it worked out..My son is 19 months and we want to take away his bibby (pacifier) but we are so nervous this will happen...At least there is a success story out there. Thank so much!

  2. Bless her heart, she could go to sleep on her own if you had to check on the baby..that is soo sweet. We had the same problem with my son, it was like he hit about 15-16 months and no longer wanted to sleep by himself. He has never slept with us, only in his crib, but if he woke up, he would not go to sleep. We finally had to let him cry, and after a couple nights of 10 minutes tops of crying....he sleeps on his own. He only wakes up if he is sick. It is hard though, to hear your baby crying...I felt horrible but it was the only thing that worked. And then when your tired and worn out on top of that....whew...it is hard. Glad to see that you found something that worked for your little girl!!!

  3. Way to stick with it!! I am having issues currently with my 6yr old and 3 yr old going to bed on TIME :) Some nights are great, but I need to get something going so every night is GREAT.

  4. I'm so envious! Our 2.5 year old has started coming out of his room anywhere from 1a to 4a to "Sleep with his Mommy". For nap time, I tell him that I have to put the baby down and I'll come back to sing him a song and usually by the time I come back, he is asleep. But nighttime has been just horrific. Not sure exactly why this has started to happen, and in the beginning in my drowsy haze, I would just throw the covers over us all and we would go back to sleep. Now, I have a creature in my bed almost every night. He doesn't have a problem going to sleep on his own which is great.

    For 2 weeks straight, I channeled my inner Joe Frost and put him back in his bed every time he came out, sometimes as many as 10 times throughout the night. That created a really cranky Mama and family and didn't seem to work. I think I'll try the sit in the floor technique and see if that works for us. Thanks for the tip!

  5. I did that with my daughter too and it worked! Sleep is such a crazy topic because every child is different and it seems like they go through so many stages.

    My daughter was sleeping through the night up until about a month ago (she is almost 5) and now she is waking up with nightmares and wanting me to sleep with her! GAH, that can turn into a bad habit fast.


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