Sleep training has saved my sanity. DD is 16mths and we have always had sleep issues. She doesn’t go down unless cuddled and wakes many times during the night needing cuddles to get back to sleep. I know this is just a bad sleep association. For a very long time i refused to admit it and just hoped she would grow out of it. To be honest i didn’t want to do anything about it for two reasons. I loved our cuddle time. I did not want to do cry it out CIO.
WHAT SLEEP ASSOCIATIONS I TRIED
I did put some effort into trying to get DD to sleep better-
- Changed her night light to one that wasn’t anywhere near as bright and turned off after 1hr
- Stopped breastfeeding to sleep
- Used lavender in a vaporiser/ humidifier
- Added oats to her tea to make her feel more full
- Stopped night baths with the thought that they were getting her too excited
- Tried warm milk before bed
- Removed the dummy/ pacifier just in case that was a cause of her waking
We always had a night time routine of bed, jammies, book, milk then sleep. DD has always slept in her cot and in her own room. Her room is reasonably dark and she has been used to going to sleep with noises. None of the things we tried made any difference at all.
Then a dear friend of mine gave me a book that outlined how to deal with sleep problems. With DD’s sleeping issues i would only get approximately 4-5hrs sleep a night and it would only be about 2hrs at a time so my head was in no place to read and absorb a book like this. Two weeks ago i finally cracked and decided it was time to do something. I mustered up the energy and concentration to start reading the book. It took me a week to get through the first few chapters which were the introduction and explanations of sleep, sleep patterns, sleep associations and just a general outline of what the chapters ahead could do for you. After reading this i skipped to the chapter on bad sleep associations. As i expected the answer was to let DD cry but it was more like controlled crying. I was skeptical but i had also got to the end of my rope and was in desperate need of a decent sleep.
Our first night of sleep training DD was asleep after 50mins which surprised me i had expected it to take longer. Second night it was just over 20mins and subsequent nights it has been between 10 and 20 mins. I would definitely call this a success. Not only is she going to sleep on her own but she is sleeping solid until 4.30am now . . . . . . . Insert happy dance here 🙂
We are still working on her sleep. We are trying to get her to sleep until about 7am. She is still taking between 30-60mins to go down at nap times but one step at a time. I highly recommend reading this book for any sleep issues. It explains it all clearly and gives you the tools to deal with your sleep problems. It really has changed my life and in such a short amount of time. Don’t get me wrong it is not easy but as long as you stick to your plan and remove all bad sleep associations you too can get a good night sleep.