Friday, May 03, 2019

The Scoop on Sleep

Prefacing this by saying this is MY experience and what worked for US.  Sometimes it didn't work which is why I'm writing this post to begin with.  My choices for sleep may not be something that everyone agrees with and that is fine, please keep any judgement to yourself if you have any.  I have turned off commenting to this post (not because of judgment but because of an influx of spammy comments) so if you have any questions or comments please email them directly to me at

Babies and's a mystery, it's one of those topics that is always highly discussed, one that people wish there was a magic solution to, one that gets criticized quite a bit, and one that can be a major struggle.

I'll give you a little background.  I was one of those people who swore they'd never cosleep or bedshare.  I bought a Halo bassinet which I loved and was so excited to use.  I assembled it well before Georgia's arrival and had it set up in our bedroom just waiting for her to come.  In the hospital she slept well in the little bassinet that they left her in by my bedside as we slept.  When we got home it was a totally different story.  She HATED the bassinet, screamed those curdling newborn screams so loud there was no way anyone was getting sleep if we forced her to be in that thing.  So for the first few nights home she slept right on my chest and I didn't sleep much at all because I was a nervous wreck having her sleep on me.  I was nursing and she was eating every 2 hours so she was up quite a bit.  I was having these jolts when I would fall asleep from the residual meds that were lingering around in my body after the csection and I was so fearful that I was going to throw her across the room accidentally or roll over on her so I slept very little those first few days.

I ordered a Dockatot within just a couple days of being home and within a week of her being home she was sleeping soundly swaddled in her new little space.  We all felt safe and comfortable about how she slept and we were all getting really good sleep.  After about 8 weeks or so in her DAT between us in bed we moved her into the Halo finally.  She slept there pretty well from about 2 months to about 5 months when she got too big for it.  It was at that point she began bed sharing with us permanently.  We have a king size bed and she would sleep at the top between us, we'd spread our pillows apart and make sure that she had no blankets around her.  It worked out great for us especially since I was nursing it was so easy to feed her & get us both right back to sleep without having to leave our bed.

she was so tiny and hated this thing so much at first

Eventually it was time for her to move to her crib.  She was about 15 months and I knew that we'd be doing our next embryo transfer for baby #2 so I wanted her to be transitioned fully into her crib by the time a second baby would come.  Transitioning her to her crib was somewhat challenging.  She never seemed to sleep soundly in it and would always end up back in our bed.  I would rock her to sleep every night from when she was newborn all the way til she was close to two so once she was rocked to sleep I'd lay her down in her crib where she'd sleep for a couple hours before waking and then coming into our room.  I was always too tired to put the effort into trying to get her back down in her crib so I'd take her into our bed where it was just easier to get us both back to sleep.

Eventually we realized that she might be better off in a full size bed because she'd sleep great when she was in our bed but terribly in the crib.  We had already had a baby gate at her door and her room is right across from ours so we decided one weekend to make the switch.  She was 22 months at the time.  It was a very rough adjustment, a couple of weeks it took for her to really transition and not think that she just had a giant trampoline in her room to jump on and roll around on.  It was a very hard 3/4 weeks and none of us were sleeping.  Joe and I basically tag teamed it on sleep until she finally got through it and began sleeping soundly in her new floor bed.  You can read all the details here

Over the last few months since transitioning and even when she was in a crib it's become very clear that I am Georgia's crutch for sleep and have been all along.  I have to be in the room with her in order for her to fall asleep.  If I leave her when she's awake she calls for me, cries, gets out of bed, etc. until I come in and lay down with her.  Once she's asleep I sneak out and wait for her to wake up in the middle of the night calling for me or coming into our room and getting in our bed.  She has no idea how to self soothe and bed time is very stressful and frustrating most nights.  Her room is darkened with blackout curtains, we use white noise all the way turned up, and I diffuse oils in her room to help calm her (Gentle Baby is our favorite) but none of those things matter if I am not there with her.  

It's been very frustrating most nights.  Of course there are nights when she goes down just fine without any issues, but some nights we fight because she doesn't want to go to sleep, some nights it takes her over an hour to fall asleep and I can't get anything done.  I have just gotten to the point where I feel as though something needs to change before I lose my sanity.  I am constantly going to bed angry and frustrated & those are the last two things I want to be feeling right before bed.  

One day on the good ol' 'gram I noticed I had a like on one of my photos from an account called Slumberland Solutions.  I instantly checked out her page and gave her a follow when I saw in her bio that she was a pediatric sleep consultant.  Within a week or two I was messaging her and had a consultation set up.  We had our first call which lasted about 15 minutes.  She gave me a few tips like moving bed time earlier and taking away screen time before bed.  We tried both of those things right off the bat and they seemed to help so I got back with her that week and we set up our next consultation.  I gave her a bunch of information about Georgia's sleep habits including wake time, nap time, and bed time along with her routine for the rest of the day such as meals.  Carla told me that over the next few days she'd come up with a plan for us to follow. 

A few days later we followed up with a facetime phone call.  She sent me 17 pages of a plan to put into place with Georgia.  Our ultimate goal being that Georgia puts herself to sleep and soothes herself back to sleep if/when she wakes in the middle of the night.  The biggest challenge for me is not putting her into our bed when she comes in the middle of the night.  The biggest challenge for her is laying down without me right next to her.  The basics of the very detailed plan are getting out of her bed, being consistent, only letting her cry for very short periods of time (2 minutes to start), and not putting her into our bed.  Some of the challenges for us are that she is already on a floor bed so she isn't contained and that it's very light in her room even with black out curtains.

Some of Carla's suggestions were a toddler sleep sack, a weighted blanket, a toddler alarm clock, and a bed rail.  I also want to get these black out blinds for her room to go behind the black out curtains so that it's much darker in her room.  She has a west facing window and her curtain although are "black out" are actually white so they don't offer much darkness and I think that makes it a lot harder for her to associate the time of night with bed time.  For now we put tin foil over the window (suggested by another mama) and it worked perfect!

Another thing that Carla pointed out is the importance of her nap.  We're lucky that at daycare she goes down on her own and always has.  At my parents however, they have always been like me and rocked or held her to sleep.  They have even been putting her in the car and driving her around to get her to sleep so they are having to change their routine with her as well.  At their house she has a twin mattress on the floor and they have blackout curtains for her as well.  They successfully got her down with our new plan on Saturday without any issues so we are hopeful that will continue.  It's a big adjustment for all of us.  Routine and consistency are the biggest keys to success with this.

A few other tips Carla suggested is that binky is only for sleep time (which is good because we are ready for her to get rid of it), no clutter in her bed (we do a fitted sheet, pillow, and a small blanket for her), bath and a full belly before sleep times, and to remember that the first few days are the hardest!  So far she is totally right!  We have had success but it hasn't come easy and without challenges but I am 100% committed to doing this as hard as it has been.  On top of this Joe was sick and Georgia was also slightly sick so the timing wasn't ideal but I know it's something that we ultimately all need to make our lives a little easier and less stressful.  Night one and two were very challenging and lots of tears were shed by both her and I, night three was a totally different story.  Within about 7 minutes she was asleep with no tears or fights at all.  I couldn't believe it!

I will continue to keep you guys updated.  If you have any sleep struggles yourself I urge you to give Carla a follow or check out her website.  She has been wonderful and I love her methods.  She does not typically include any CIO in her plan unless requested by her clients so if that is a route you're considering be sure to let her know.  As always, please email me with any questions or comments I'd love to know if you've done any sleep training with your kids!

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