If you have been reading The Baby Sleep Site® for a while or if you have just found us, you know that we’ve helped thousands of babies and families get on the path to healthy sleep. Nicole and our team of highly qualified Sleep Consultants have decades of combined experience among them, and have been known to produce some truly miraculous results with even the most challenging sleepers. I know what you are probably thinking: “Our team must have perfect little sleepers at home, right?” Well, you are right in that we have many tools in our arsenal, and when a sleep issue comes up, we tackle it right away. But, we are here to share that our little ones, like many of your little ones, are not perfect sleepers!
Like all of you tired (or once tired) parents, we, too, have struggled with frequent night wakings, short naps, regressions, bedtime battles, early wakings, and more. We, too, have broken “sleep rules,” and have needed to take the journey back to healthy sleep habits. And just as there is no “one-size fits all” at The Baby Sleep Site®, our solutions were as unique as our babies and our families. We are honored that you share so much with us on your journey to better sleep, so we wanted to share some of our own Sleep Confessions with you. If you are struggling, remember that you are not alone!
There is nothing harder on a parent than when their child is sick. Most of our sleep consultants still rock and hold their babies, toddlers and even older children to sleep when they are not feeling well. Danielle shares, “I always rock my boys to sleep if they are sick and need the extra snuggles. I love the extra snuggle time too! Since we established good sleep habits, they are able to bounce back to sleeping independently pretty quickly as they know what to expect.”
As parents who have traveled with babies and toddlers, you also know how challenging it can be to stick to routine. You prepared and tried to recreate their home environment as closely as possible, hoping that your hard-earned sleep independence wouldn’t go down the drain. Many of our parents are nervous about traveling with kids, especially when their babies are not exactly “go with the flow” and are sensitive to changes.
Shaye, who has been with The Baby Sleep Site® since 2011, shares, “When traveling, we co-sleep and look forward to it. But once we return home it’s back to business.” When her daughter was younger, it could take a few refresher training days to get back on track, but it was worth it. Now that she is older, it’s a lot easier to get back to routine since she knows the “rules.” Nicole co-slept with her boys on many vacations and got back on track when they got home. “We wanted to enjoy our vacation and they hated the hotel cribs!” she shared.
Some of the toughest challenges to get through are the sleep regressions. They happen every few months and it can sometimes feel like just when you’ve survived one, another pops up! Jessa recently struggled for an entire month with the 2 year sleep regression, and spent many sleepless nights with her son waking, crying, not wanting to be left alone in his room, and being scared of “roars.” It took some trial and error, but they were able to get back on track by changing his schedule and being doubly firm about sleep rules. Shaye shared that her daughter’s toughest regression was at 18 months and there were many nights she was ready to throw in the towel and bring her daughter into bed! “It shocked me how awful it was for us, really. But with toddlers, consistency was our key! It was a tough few weeks but we made it through and are glad we didn’t cave.” She stayed diligent about her daughter’s schedule and stuck with their coaching method of checking in intervals, and her daughter went back to sleeping through the night.
Sarah, who has been with The Baby Sleep Site® since 2013, has also had her fair share of toddler sleep struggles. Her youngest was an absolutely wonderful sleeper as a baby – that is, until Sarah started her job as a Sleep Consultant! Her persistent little princess must have had a sixth sense about what Sarah’s new position was because “she gave me a run for my money,” Sarah shared. She lost count of how many times she had to walk her daughter back to her room. Sarah even slept in her daughter’s room several times while taking a break from coaching, just so she could catch up on some sleep herself, and then jump back in. If you have ever tried to reason with a 2-year old, you know that it often takes some creativity to get them on your side. It took creativity and commitment, but Sarah found what worked for her daughter and they got back on track! 🙂
As a reader of The Baby Sleep Site®, you likely know by now that we believe one of the most important pieces of a child’s sleep puzzle is their schedule. An overtired child will always have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. But what do you do when there’s something you just don’t want to miss and you can’t stick to the schedule? Amy, who has been with The Baby Sleep Site® since 2015, really wanted to take her preschooler and toddler to see the fireworks, and “bubble” snow for Christmas, but knew it was going be past their bedtimes. “It was very late and at least 2 hours after their regular bedtimes. As a sleep consultant, I knew my kids shouldn’t be out so late and I was actually nervous someone might see me and ‘call me out!'” But it was worth it for how much both kids enjoyed it and they went back to their stricter schedule the next day.
Sometimes you feel like things are going well and you are in a groove . . . then something changes that just throws your routine for a loop. Jen, who has been with The Baby Sleep Site® since 2012, shared that her daughter crawled out of her crib at 18 months and ended up sleeping on the floor behind a gate for at least 6 months! This was a challenging time in Jen’s household. But she’s not taking chances the second time around! “I’ve kept our youngest in a tight sleep sack so he can’t get his feet over the railing. He’s almost 3. :)”
Bonnie, who has been with The Baby Sleep Site® since 2014, shared that she nursed her daughter to sleep for naps until she was 21 months-old. “It worked for us and I loved it. She knew how to fall to sleep at night and back to sleep on her own so until we had to make changes (our new baby coming), I snuggled that girl.” When you hear us say that we don’t believe in “one-size fits all,” and that each baby and family are unique, we truly do mean it! Success may look very different from one family to another and if “breaking the rules” works for you and you are happy with how you and your child are sleeping, we absolutely encourage families to do what is best for their situation to help you reach your individual goals.
I also have a “nap confession,” to share. Since I was fortunate enough to have a flexible schedule, I also chose to continue to nurse my very sensitive and persistent daughter to sleep for her naps, as she was doing so well during the night (after many tears and a lot of help from Nicole!). I was happy with it and eventually she was even able to lengthen her naps on her own without my help. But it only worked because we were both getting the sleep we needed at night.
The journey to better sleep can be a bumpy and unpredictable one. Nicole and our team has truly been through it all, and, everything that we have learned in the process, we are committed to sharing with you to help you in your journey. We are honored to a be part of your sleep and wellness team – your village – and want you to know that when you are discouraged, we are right here to help you dust yourself off and get back on track. And when you are celebrating, we are right here to cheer you on! Like health and fitness, for many of us, sleep can be a “work-in-progress” in our lives and something we have to always be mindful of, even as our children grow.
“I would still call our eldest (the inspiration for The Baby Sleep Site®) an ‘imperfect sleeper,’ as he’s just my sensitive one,” Nicole shared. “If he watches a movie or TV, we know it can’t be anything even remotely scary anymore for that reason. He still wakes me up at night 1-2 times a month and he will be 11 soon! :)”
We would love to hear your “Sleep Confessions!” To learn more about our team and all the expertise they bring to The Baby Sleep Site®, go here.
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