Sleep has always been a struggle for us… Getting Gio to sleep, keeping him asleep, etc. Even when he was a newborn he didn’t sleep much & I remember people commenting on how alert he was all the time. He’d take quick 10-20 minute cat naps throughout the day & that was about it. We figured Gio must have a serious case of “fomo”… fear of missing out. Haha. I learned to just roll with it & try my best to be patient.
We told the pediatrician he had a hard time sleeping & she advised us to put him in his crib when he was tired but still awake. We tried this & he’d cry & cry. I HATED letting him cry it out & would give up after 30 minutes feeling so guilty. I’m such a softy, I know, but it really upset me to hear him cry & I felt like I was traumatizing him. I’m so dramatic, haha. But he is my first child & I was just trying to do my best!
I tried all kinds of other ways to get him to sleep better & longer: rocking him, walking around with him, pushing him in the stroller, nursing him, laying him in his crib & patting his bottom, etc. Some days I would spend an hour getting him to sleep, only to have him wake up 30 mins later. I’m exhausted just thinking about it, haha. (All you experienced moms are probably rolling your eyes at all my shenanigans, haha.) I learned he slept the longest if I nursed him to sleep & laid him in his crib… Slowly & so carefully you’d think I were handling explosives. & even if he slept through the transfer he’d eventually change his position, waking up enough to realize he was in his crib & crying until I rescued him. Some days I wouldn’t even try. I’d just sit in the rocking chair with him while he slept. It gave me an excuse to catch up on TV shows & take a break. It was a bad habit, but it gave me some peace & down time & he slept for much longer in my arms than he would in his crib.
Part of the problem was that we weren’t on a sleep schedule. I was afraid there would be days we couldn’t follow it exactly & it would cause more problems so I never made one. One thing is true, though… Kids need structure & predictability & I’m seeing this more clearly now that Gio is getting older. We now wake up at 7:00am—this is so early for me! We were sleeping in until 8, sometimes 9am! I’m not a morning person, but since it’s made such a positive impact on our day I’m taking one for the team, haha (; Naptime is now at 10 & 2, & bedtime is at 7:15. So far, having a set sleep schedule is working wonders!
So how did I get him to fall asleep in his crib?
Since up until this point he was used to being nursed to sleep & then transferred to his crib… He never had to fall asleep on his own or in his crib. So when I decided to crib train him, these were my thoughts– & tips to you, if you’re thinking about it…
He’s going to cry & it’s going to be hard. Consistency is key. Be strong & follow through. I’m going to need extra patience & compassion. This is new for him & he may not understand at first. Stay positive. We’ll try for a week & see how it goes.
Luckily, it only took a couple days of letting him cry (which was not easy for either of us!) before he was ok with it. Why didn’t I do this sooner??? I think I was afraid it wouldn’t work & it would just be hard on both of us.
Here’s our routine:
I give him a sippy cup of milk & we read a book together before we make our way to his room. I stand next to his crib & sing him a little lullaby while rocking him back & forth. Then I lay him down & say, “Goodnight, Giovanni, I love you.” I give him a kiss & his stuffed animal. Then I leave the room. We do that every day. There’s always a book in there & sometimes he’ll look at it until he falls asleep, sometimes he plays with his feet or stuffed animal, sometimes he’ll hum or talk to himself & then other times he just rolls over & falls right asleep (:
He now naps for 1 ½ hrs in the am & 1 ½ hrs in the afternoon & it’s GLORIOUS. He does still co-sleep with us for half the night (he wakes up at 3am) but we’re currently trying to break this habit. I know, we’re a mess, don’t judge, haha. I’ll have a separate, detailed blog post on that soon…
I apologize if this post seems all over the place. I felt like I had so much to say & still couldn’t manage to articulate everything I wanted. But the main point was to share with you my struggle with letting him cry it out & the changes we made to help him have better sleeping habits. Moral of the story? Listen to your pediatrician. Haha. Motherhood isn’t always easy & we’re all just doing our best.
I hope you found this post encouraging, thanks for stopping by!