To me being fabulous means being the best that I can be…to do that I have to get enough sleep. Since having kids this has been one of my biggest hurdles. With my first child I rarely got a straight three hours at night. By the middle of the night I was so exhausted that I just took him into my bed with me and nursed him pretty much the rest of the night. It wasn’t until he was over a year old that I finally got him sleeping through the night. To do that I used the cry-it-out method (which was very very hard for me and I did not enjoy). With my daughter I had high hopes. In the hospital she let me have six uninterrupted hours the first two nights. I was ecstatic, thinking I would be able to get enough sleep this time and be my fabulous self with my kids during the day. However, that dream quickly disappeared as she started waking up numerous times at night. I was exhausted and felt lazy and unable to give my kids the attention they deserved. Desperate for an answer I decided to utilize my Facebook network and get other mother’s advice. I got tons of good ideas from crying it out (not very recommended by most people) to the family bed idea. None of these seemed to work for me (although they may work for many).
Now, I don’t claim to be an expert on children sleeping because I obviously am not. However, I stumbled across a fabulous book (FABULOUS being key) at a friend’s house that I must share with you all. It’s called “The complete Idiot’s guide to sleep training for your child” by Melissa M. Burnham PhD. & Jennifer Lawter PhD. My favorite thing about this book is that it is not preaching one method over another. It explains how children sleep at night and possible reasons for waking up. It goes through the “crying-out” method as well as variations on it such as the “systematic ignoring with parental presence”. It also discusses ideas such as scheduled awakenings, bedtime routines, co-sleeping and how to combine the different approaches. Also, it looks at holistic approaches such as hypnosis, meditation, yoga, massage, and creating soothing environments. Finally, it also discusses older children’s sleeping issues. Why toddlers may stop sleeping through the night and how to gets school aged children ready for bed.
This book was wonderful because I got an overview of what the root of the problems could have been as well as many options to try and resolve them. In the end, for me, it was my mother-in-law who go them to sleep through the night and realized that our problem was trying to establish a schedule in a one bedroom apartment. Once our kids had their own spaces they slept much better and longer.
In the end, the best advice I can give you is to BE CONSISTENT. Establishing a routine at a young age and sticking to it as much as possible creates a much more pleasant child then just allowing them to go until they fall asleep when they are tired. If you stick to it long enough you too can be getting a full night’s sleep. Thanks to the book, my mother-in-law and consistency I now get my evenings to myself and can be a FABULOUS MOMMY during the day.