March 16, 2018

From a Good Sleeping Baby to a Terrible Sleeping Toddler: Stories & Advice From Real Moms

We thought we had it good, we really did. From day one, baby girl could sleep anywhere at any time, and mom and dad always woke up feeling rested. As she moved into the toddler stage, she would actually walk to the bedroom when she wanted to go to sleep. Seriously. We thought we were living the good life, and foolishly started taking it for granted.

And then one February evening, at 23 months old, the game changed. She got the stomach flu, and things were never quite the same after that. Since that awful night (I’ll spare you the gruesome details), I can count on one hand the number of times she’s slept through the night and/or stayed in her own bed. After establishing a solid sleep schedule, it’s been pretty frustrating to watch it all unravel.

From a Good Sleeping Baby to a Terrible Sleeping Toddler: Stories & Advice From Real Moms

Sleep regression? Maybe. Teething? Quite possibly. Or, has she just gotten a taste of how good she has it in mom and dad’s bed? Ya, I’m placing my bets on that one. Comfy pillows, warm duvet - some nights, I don’t blame her at all. And then some nights, I put all the blame on her for the kink in my neck the next morning.

We love having her as a roomie, we really do. Hearing her talk in her sleep, seeing her crazy hair when she first wakes up and watching her excitement as she sees that we’re still in bed too are memories we’ll cherish forever. But, we’re ready for her to have her own room. And for us to have a master bedroom all to ourselves. Luckily, getting the keys to our new house is just around the corner, and with that, all of the new challenges the transition will bring with it. But, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

From a Good Sleeping Baby to a Terrible Sleeping Toddler: Stories & Advice From Real Moms

While I don’t have all of the answers, what I do have is the resources and support. In honour of today’s World Sleep Day, I’ve got some pretty great blogging mama pals sharing their stories, tips and secret weapons for baby and toddler sleep.

I used to think I had the sleep thing down pat...but 4 kids in, I can say for certain, what works for one may not work for the next. All babes' needs are different - one needed a sound machine, one needed his head rubbed for 15 minutes and two needed swaddling, two hated it, some needed soothers, some didn’t! My only tip would be to spend time getting to know your little person and tap into the cues (which is basically mama instincts), and you'll eventually figure the little darling out. ALSO ignore the "should be" advice (i.e. "should be able to sleep through the night at 3 months", "should be able to self sooth", etc.). They go by their own timeline and readiness.

Sunshine (Shinelily - @shinelily):
Tips that have worked for me: 1. Consistency is key - time to go down, get ready, routine. 2. We get them ready for bed with the night lamp on to set the mood, lol. 3. No high activity (like wrestling). 4. Reading. I also sing them a song and we take turns story telling. 5. My ultimate fave - I get them to talk about their day and I ask them what their fav part of the day was.

I had the worst sleeper ever - hired 2 sleep coaches and they both ditched us.

I think the sleep machine has helped a bit? And really dark black out blinds lol

I fear I’m no help! Morris, I sleep trained at 5 months, took me 3 days. So easy. Rose is 15 months and I’ve attempted sleep training 3 or 4 times and she has yet to sleep through the night!

Getting to know your little one has to be the only consistent advice. I’ve spent hours watching or attending sleep workshops and seminars, books etc. Piper is sleeping through the night but it took all sorts of experimenting and tracking. I’d say the only advice I’d say might help is to write down attempts/results, what happened leading up to bedtime, how you approached bedtime and what happened that night. And don’t get hung up on the idea of “this is how and when you should sleep train/this is how you shouldn’t”. What works for one baby might not work for the other!!

From a Good Sleeping Baby to a Terrible Sleeping Toddler: Stories & Advice From Real Moms

>> You may also like: The Terrible Twos Take Over 

If you’re a new mama or mama-to-be, this post is not meant to scare you. In fact, the exact opposite. The point of this post is to bring to your attention the fact that every child is different. Clearly, you have 6 very different stories, tips, etc. from 6 different mamas above. The important thing is to do what works best for you and your family. Yes, it may be hard and yes, it may be frustrating at times, leading you to need all of the coffee in the morning, but you will get through it. Phase or no phase, you will find what works best for you and your family and you will get through it.  

What is your experience with getting your baby/toddler to sleep? Any stories, tips or tricks? I'd love to hear!

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