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Sleep Training For Toddlers

The (No) Sleep Diaries: Not Getting Any? Me Neither.

Sleep that is. But like sex, when you’re not getting enough, it’s all you can think about, because, duh, sleep is important! There's a reason forcing people to stay awake is classified as a torture technique. We know newborns wake constantly, needing to be fed and changed. We're prepared for a few months of pure exhaustion. But when those months turn into years, life can get pretty difficult.

I'm closing in on 18 months with a child who just will not "Go the F**k to Sleep," and his sleep habits, or rather lack of, absolutely dictate my life. I've read all the heavy hitters (Ferber, Sears, Weissbluth) thoroughly confusing myself in the process. I've tried some version of every reputable sleep-training method out there, and if one more well-intentioned person asks if we have a consistent bedtime routine, surely I will snap.

I'm quickly coming to the end of my rope, and seriously considering turning to a professional sleep trainer. Spending upwards of $500 for a stranger to teach my baby to sleep sounded absurd to my confident, well-rested, prebaby self. It's amazing what 18 months without a solid REM cycle will do for your perspective. Five hundred dollars for some decent sleep sounds like an absolute bargain to this addled mom.

Did you use a sleep trainer? Was it worth it?

Check back in two weeks for the next installment of The (No) Sleep Diaries.

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Natasha-Dantzig Natasha-Dantzig 4 years
Thanks for that advice Rebecca. It's good to hear that there are other options besides sleeping together forever and listening to my baby wail for mama.
RebeccaMichi RebeccaMichi 4 years
I'm a children's sleep specialist. I teach families who have children under the age to six to sleep better and hopefully through the night. I use all sleep training techniques apart from cry-it-out. I devise a plan unique to each family (books can't do that) taking into consideration family routine, lifestyle and the child's temperament (which is probably the biggest factor in sleep training which many books ignore). There are quite a few sleep specialists who do use cry-it-out (which I have to say is very hard to do with a child who is over a year old and just doesn't work for more spirited personalities) as their sleep training method of choice. So make sure when choosing a specialist you understand the techniques they will use and how they will assess your child. Go for it. You deserve some sleep! Rebecca Michi
Natasha-Dantzig Natasha-Dantzig 4 years
Thanks Evie, I actually have not read that one yet. I'll check it out for sure. And wow - 6 weeks! That's the stuff dreams are made of.
EvieJ EvieJ 4 years
Before you hire a trainer, have a look at Gina Ford's "Contented Little Baby" book. It has schedules to start your child on, I think at pretty much any age. Some people don't like her, but she worked so well for my situation. My daughter was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks (10.30-5.30), and has never (knock on wood) had sleep issues, unless she's been ill.
Natasha-Dantzig Natasha-Dantzig 4 years
Thanks Jenny - that's sort of what we tried, but we just could,t get him back down at night. Hours and hours of screaming. But it's always encouraging to hear that it can change. And aemayer - also good to hear. I think we're going to give it the next two weeks on our own, what Jenny described, and then we're throwing in the towel.
aemayer aemayer 4 years
We did use a sleep trainer and it was about $1000 but after four nights with her our son, who was getting up 3-4 times a night, slept happily through the night. A bargain at twice the price.
Jenny-Sugar Jenny-Sugar 4 years
I totally feel for you! We didn't use a sleep trainer, just my husband! Our little one was waking up once a night to nurse and when I knew she could go through the night without eating (she'd done it a couple times), we started our version of sleep training. When she woke up, instead of me going in to nurse her, my hubby went in to soothe her. He didn't pick her up. He just rubbed her back and sang a little. The first night took about an hour, the next night 45 minutes, and so on for about a week. Then all of a sudden she was sleeping through the night. It wasn't easy, but being consistent was key. I knew if I broke down and went in there, we'd be back to square one. As a former Preschool teacher, he best advice I can give is that whatever you decide to do, be consistent. Hope this helps and hope you get some sleep soon!
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