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.