How to get your toddler to sleep 12 hours every night in their own crib…

Ha! Just kidding. I have no idea what I am talking about when it comes to getting your child to sleep.  Leo is not a “great sleeper” and usually ends up in our bed by the time the sun is starting to come up.  I know that I read two sleep books when he was around 8-10 months old but as my brain was so fried from sleep deprivation I did not retain any information in them.

I read a lot about attachment parenting before Leo was born. It seemed to make a lot of sense for us and I was determined keep Leo in our bed and to never let him “cry it out” as a method of sleep training. Around 8 months I gave in and we put him in his crib. This meant that I spent a lot of time nursing, rocking him to sleep then even more time trying to drop him into his crib without waking him up. Finally, he got too big for me to drop him in and we decided to let him cry it out. At the time it was a big deal for us, in retrospect, I am not sure what all of the fuss was about.

The first night was rough, about thirty minutes of crying. The second night was not as bad, by the third or fourth night he pretty much went right into his crib without a fit. We kept telling our friends how great it was, that we wished that we did it sooner…our baby slept through the night and we were on top of the world. Instead of using this time to catch up on the precious sleep, we watched the first seasons of Homeland and Game of Thrones and drank copious amounts of wine after we put Leo down. It was like dating all over again. And then, Leo got a cold.

What everyone didn’t tell me is that my perfectly “trained” baby would fall right back into his old ways when he got sick, cut a new tooth, learned a new skill, ate too many blackberries, slept in a new place, and the list goes on and on and on…

Leo still goes to bed in his crib every night without a fuss, sometimes he is even pointing to the crib as if to say “put me in there and let me sleep already” before we are even done with his bedtime routine. But he usually wakes up in the middle of the night and I just don’t have the will power to let him cry it out if I know that he’ll be out like a light if I bring him into our bed. And for now, that’s just fine.

We live in Los Angeles, where it’s totally normal to hire a sleep consultant for your baby or even a night nurse to deal with your infant’s night-wakings while you sleep.  I know people who never did any “crying it out” and their kids sleep for 12 hours straight, people who co-sleep, people to rock their toddlers back to sleep a few times a night and a few people who have hired sleep trainers or night nurses.  Whatever works.

I have learned from Leo and other mommies that you have to do what works for you, not what the books, your parents and your friends tell you to do. And if your friends don’t do what you do, that’s fine too.  We’re all just doing whatever it takes to get as much sleep as we can!

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Leo in his favorite place, in bed with Mama.

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