As a mom, telling my daughter “Good Night” and sharing an eskimo kiss at bedtime just fills my heart with love. Then we blow kisses to each other as I close the door. Yes, she is still awake. By the time I grab her monitor, she is laying down and hugging her baby doll while rolling around her crib, searching for that perfect position. If you are the parent of a child that refuses to fall asleep without a bottle, rocking, driving, singing the Star Spangled banner on your head, etc., you may think this is an unrealistic concept.
As a Pediatric Sleep Consultant, the # 1 bedtime complaint I get from parents of children, 4 months to 2 years, is that their little one will not fall asleep and/or stay asleep without their assistance.
The first thing I tell parents is that this is a very common situation. Think about it. If you fell asleep while curled up on the couch watching a movie, then woke up on the floor with the lights off, chances are you would NOT just roll over and go back to sleep. This is similar to what your child is experiencing when you put them into the crib/bed drowsy or already asleep. When they experience a normal arousal at the end of their sleep cycle and realize the conditions have changed from when they feel asleep, they ARE going to let you know it! When this happens multiple times a night, it not only affects your quality of sleep, but your child’s quality of sleep as well.
In order to stop this sleep stealing cycle, you will need to put you child in their crib/bed while still awake. If the thought of doing this completely terrifies you, I get it. There will most likely be some tears, probably more from you, but with any changes, you should expect some amount of protest. That is why it is so important to find a sleep strategy that you are comfortable with before making changes. Also, make sure to stay 100% consistent with bedtime and naps for at least 3 days before declaring it as not effective. Sleep skills are learned, not a developmental milestone that will mysteriously happen one night. It takes time and consistency.
Before finding a sleep strategy that I felt comfortable and competent with, I was holding and singing my daughter to sleep, usually with 13 rounds of Mary Had a Little Lamb. Once I thought she was asleep, I would hold her for another 30 minutes before attempting to lower her into the crib. This usually bought me a couple of hours of time, but she would always be up again by 11 p.m. and needing me to repeat this EVERY time she woke up, which was at least 3 times a night.
I get it. I’ve been there. It’s hard. Especially when you are severely sleep deprived, making even simple decisions is quite challenging. With that said, a better night's sleep it is well worth the effort, for now and in the future for the entire family.
Need help finding a sleep strategy that will work for your child and family? I offer free 15-minute sleep evaluations, to help families like yours find the best solution to their child's sleep struggles. Free Sleep Evaluation
The hardest part when making changes is all the questions and doubt, that is why I support all of my families with at least 2 weeks of professional guidance and support, to ensure a better sleep outcome for everyone. For more sleep tips, facts, studies, events, giveaways and more, Like and Follow Beddy Bye Sleep Solutions on Facebook.
Life is hard when you're not sleeping. As a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, I teach families how to live a well-rested life.