A Year of Sleep (Thanks to Sleep Training)

Today I’m sharing a one year check-in post that I wrote for Jennifer at Gift of Sleep Consulting.  Since sleep seems to be one of the most talked about (and agonized about) topics in baby’s first couple of years, I thought I’d share how we’re doing a year after sleep training.  
I ask that you please be respectful with your comments, as what works for one doesn’t always work for others, and sleep training methods tend to be a sensitive topic.  When I originally posted about our sleep training experience a year ago, I had people infer that I was neglecting my son and not tending to his needs as a mother.  That is/was absolutely not the case, but I realize that everyone takes different approaches to their little one’s sleep needs.  

 

One year ago, I was a frazzled mom, prone to tears, constantly overwhelmed, forgetful and fatigued.  My 8 month old son was not a napper and was up multiple times during the night.  Thankfully, I was at home with my son, but after eight months, I was completely drained and in desperate need of some help.
My son, Declan, was not a napper.  This kiddo would stay up all day if you let him (and is still the same way).  At the point when we finally sought help from Jennifer, from Gift of Sleep Consulting, D was napping in 20-30 minute clips, three times a day.  I was unable to get anything done, and I constantly felt stressed and under great strain to get even the smallest of tasks done.  No naps during the day, and waking every two hours at night, meant that if I actually remembered to bring my grocery list when I went to the store, I would still forget items due to my inability to concentrate.
Enter Jennifer from Gift of Sleep Consulting.  After posting about our sleep troubles on my blog’s Facebook page, Jennifer reached out to me.  Admittedly, I was wary at first.  Pay someone to teach us good sleep habits?  It seemed so…strange.  Who does that?  We did, that’s who.  Money was tight for us at that time, but my husband and myself (most especially me) were prepared to do whatever it took to get D into healthy sleep habits.  Apart from buying our ERGObaby, hiring Jennifer’s expertise was the best investment we made in our son’s first year.

 

We immediately began adopting healthy sleep practices & routines, I became better at reading D’s cues, and I transformed into a bonafide Sleep Nazi.  For us, healthy sleep habits for D were an investment and a commitment.  We kept a rigid schedule around D’s naps and bedtime, which meant sacrificing some of our needs/wants to ensure that we were home in time to follow sleep routines.  In fact, D didn’t attend his first story time until he was over a year old, because story times, both bookstore and library, were all held during D’s morning nap time.
Admittedly, having such a rigid schedule made scheduling social time difficult.  D’s tight nap schedule only gave me a very small window to run household errands or meet up with other moms.  But, the trade-off, well, wasn’t a trade-off at all; Declan’s need for proper sleep trumped any and all things.
Today, we have an 19 month-old who knows what to do when we begin his nap or bedtime routine.  He will even say ‘nap’ or ‘sleep’ if he’s feeling tired, in which case, we snatch him up and make his wish our command!  We’ve traveled for weekend and week-long trips, and the only bumps we’ve encountered were due to us having blown off a nap(s) (MommyCon was one particular instance of that).  I’ve had a year of good sleep, and now groan inwardly on those rare occasions that D wakes in the night (usually during teething episodes).  While we want to add to our family, I find myself wondering how I will function without getting a good night’s sleep!
Nineteen months in, I’m proud to have a toddler that sleeps when he’s supposed to!  I wish I could say that we’re lucky, but the truth is (and Jennifer would tell you) that it’s not about luck, it’s about adopting healthy sleep practices and routines.  Sleep is one of the most discussed topics in my parenting circles, yet many of the parents I see don’t want to change their routines(?!).  It blows my mind to hear people continually complain about their, and their little one’s, lack of sleep, but are reluctant to make changes to what they’re doing (I see this a lot with those that cosleep).If you find that you’re struggling to get your little one to sleep well, you should consider hiring a sleep consultant to guide you.  As I said, it was the best investment we made that first year.  Sleep is incredibly important to your little one’s overall health, and I wish that we hadn’t waited so long to ask for help.  You can read about our initial experience HERE.  You can check out Jennifer’s 5 Tips for Healthy Sleep Habits HERE.  Not ready to take the plunge?  You can shoot Jennifer questions on Facebook and Twitter.

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    • says

      Thank you for letting me know, I appreciate it! I’m still finding & fixing broken links since changing platforms, hopefully this was the last of them…

  1. Julia says

    I personally think that there’s a lot of heat in discussions about this for 3 reasons. 1) people are passionate about it 2) terms that mean widely different things to different people are used without clarification 3) some people are jerks and others equate an opinion with the jerks that have it and don’t differentiate between people who have the same opinion and aren’t jerks. (that might be 4 actually) I don’t like the false dichotomy of there is sleep training and there is doing nothing. There are lots of things that can be do to encourage “better” sleep habits without adhering to a strict scheduale or otherwise conditioning a child. There are some people who thrive on scheduale and there are others who thrive on flexible routines. Those are personality types and are not dependant on age. Some people equate sleep training with leaving your child to cry until they do what you want. Most people don’t do this, but that doesn’t mean that no one does. What you did worked and that’s wonderful, but I still don’t see how the prevalent rhetoric of “most people” are doing things I don’t like, is supposed to be helpful. It’s a logical fallacy. The people won’t change the thing I want them to change and they still complain when it’s so obvious that if they did what I did it would be better, is frustrating to me because I don’t see how it’s supposed to help anyone except make people who did the thing feel good about themselves because they did and others didn’t. Sorry for the ramble this is something that’s bothered me for awhile and I’m just putting it to words. I’m not emotionally invested so if I sound like a prat call me out on it.

    • says

      I agree with you. Where I used the example of people not making changes but still complaining about their child not sleeping, I wasn’t making a judgement about the fact that they were doing what I was doing, I was making a statement that they were continuing to complain without making ANY changes to what they were doing. In one particular example, the mom had her family of four co-sleeping, which worked for three of them, but not their youngest. If I was in that situation, I would try something different, maybe try a co-sleeper attachment or a bassinet at the side or end of the bed. Said person did not wish to make any changes, but continued to ask for advice.

  2. says

    I love this post…your honesty and transparency. I can’t believe anyone would be critical of this. I’m actually going to link to this/share in an upcoming post I’m writing about sleep and routines if you don’t mind!
    Andrea recently posted…Baby Bump: 25 WeeksMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you, Andrea. While sleep training isn’t for everyone, it certainly worked for us — our 2 year old sleeps like a champ! You are more than welcome to share – please email me the link when you post so that I can share it with my readers :)

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