11.12.2014

5 Steps to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night

Parents: We're all tired. We all know we're not the only ones who are going through this special brand of torture - that is, profound sleep deprivation. On our best days, we're happy with the way things are; on our worst days, we scour countless internet articles and baby-raising books in a mostly fruitless effort to find a "solution" to the "problem" of sleepless nights with children. If this is one of those articles you stumbled upon with propped eyelids and your tenth (twelfth?) cup of coffee in hand, hoping to find some revolutionary idea, you should probably keep Google searching. But if you are in need of a good laugh (and I'm willing to bet that you are), read on, dear friend. Read on and know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. And little Johnny WILL sleep through the night. Someday. Maybe in college...

STEP ONE: Roll with it.
Do whatever your baby wants for a year and a half or more. This may include chest sleeping, baby hogging the bed, nursing every hour or two every the night (which was the case for us since birth, hence the real need for a gentle change), and/or 3am baby parties. Just roll with it.
How to Be A Dad: Baby Sleep Positions


STEP TWO: Show him how good he has it.
Change it up a few times to remind him just how good he has it. Popular methods are the No Cry Sleep Solution and what we call the "Dr. Jay Gordon" method. 

Try each of these methods in earnest for a very long time. All parties will be so tired by the end they will revert back to Step One, much to the relief and enjoyment of baby.

DO YOU SEE HOW GOOD YOU HAVE IT?

STEP THREE: Make it fun.
Get cute sheets for that crib you've never used and make a BIG STINKING DEAL of it. 
"LOOOOK! LOOK AT YOUR STARRRRRS!"
"OH MY GOSH! STAAAARS!" 
"Do you want to lay down on your staaaars?" 
"GASP! Look at you in your Big Boy Bed!" (aka Dana Carvey's "Two Parent Technique" ) 
 
Practice having your child lay down in his or her "Big Kid Bed" a lot throughout the day. Make it a game. Oh crap, now sleeping is a game. 

OKAY, SCRATCH THAT.

STEP THREE, TAKE TWO: The Big Switcheroo.
These serve little more purpose than
to annoy the snot out of you.
The Big Switcheroo, which happens out of pure necessity due to your incredibly drafty house. Baby can no longer be between Mommy and the wall because of the oncoming Perpetual Illinois Winter; now baby has to be in the crib. 

Thankfully that crib you got (and never used, remember) is convertible. Spend an afternoon converting it to a toddler bed by figuring out how on earth to remove the correct railing with one of those tiny, useless Allen wrenches/hex keys/whatever you call 'em.

Once that nightmare is over, drag the twin mattress up to the attic, shove your queen mattress up against a wall, and place the newly-converted toddler daybed on the opposite side of the queen mattress. New family bed unit. BOOM.


STEP FOUR: Stage an intervention.
After a week in the new sleeping arrangement, stage an intervention. At dinner one night, have a sit-town with your tot and discuss your plans for night weaning. 
"I don't think we should talk down to children!"
The conversation will go something like this:
Mommy: "Now, Little Mouse, when Mommy goes night-night, milk goes night-night, too. When the sun comes up in the morning, Mommy will say, 'GOOD MORNING! Do you want milk?' But until then, the milk will be sleeping, okay?"
Little Mouse: "Nah."

Mommy: "You will sleep in your Big Boy Bed again, and the milk will sleep right next to you until morning, okay?"
Little Mouse: (laughing) "Nooooooo!"
Mommy: "Little Mouse, do you understand? Milk needs to go night-night at night like Mommy and Daddy and you. When the sun comes up, the milk will wake up with the rest of us."
Little Mouse: (shrugging flippantly) "No."
"You want me to do WHAT, Mom?"
"Yeah, okay..." *rolls eyes*
Realize that maybe the sun wasn't a good illustration since it's now very dark in the morning. Reinforce the idea of MOMMY asking BABY if he wants milk instead of the other way around as you're going through your bedtime routine.


STEP FIVE: Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Marvel as baby puts himself to sleep after rolling into you to make sure you're still there each time he wakes up on nights one and two. Find yourself becoming less exhausted and more optimistic. CAUTIOUSLY optimistic.

Do a happy dance when naps start getting even easier during the day and he only needs to comfort nurse ONCE to fall back asleep on night three. PROGRESS! Glorious progress!

Pick your jaw up off the floor when YOU ALL SLEEP THE WHOLE 10 HOURS WITHOUT WAKING UP ONCE on night four.

TA-DAAA! That's all there is to it. Genius, right? I should write a book on this stuff.
Look! I've even designed a cover!
You're welcome. 


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AN IMPORTANT NOTE: Tired or not, I really am SO HAPPY we followed Little Mouse's lead and waited until HE was developmentally ready to gently help him learn to "sleep through the night." I am still laughing that it was our little "intervention" at dinner one night that effected this change!
UPDATE!After several days of sleeping well & writing this post, he returned to his default "up-every-two-to-three-hours" schedule. So we still haven't reached that blissful "sleeping through the night" phase, but that's okay. We co-sleep and LOVE it. I am there for him whenever he needs me, and I wouldn't have it any other way. He'll sleep when he's ready. :)

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