Sleep Habits:
Been There Done That

The KP BTDT Squad will be sharing their experiences and answering two questions per month. Each parent will answer the questions if they can and their answers will be compiled into a feature post to share with readers. These will be general questions that many parents will wonder about as they raise their children. The BTDT Squad will be talking about subjects like potty training, how they dealt with picky eaters, their most favourite family adventures, and how they managed to ever sleep through the night!

KP Been There Done That Squad – tips for potty training

KP Been There Done That Squad – addressing adults

KP Been There Done That Squad – best advice

If you have any questions, or would like to get involved, simply contact elizabeth@kamloopsparents.com

Today’s post is “Sleeping Secrets”

Erin

People warned me that if I co-slept, I would be sleeping with my baby until she was 12!  But, she decided on her own that she wanted her own space – so at about 6 months, she moved to the crib, and until she started teething, slept through the night.  Now she wakes up once in the night – and I haven’t ‘trained’ her not to (she’s just trained me to get up at 2:30)

Leah

Ugh, I am a novice in this area…even after four children.  My youngest starts out in her own bed each night but at some point, most nights, joins us in our bed.  We don’t really mind it.  Partly because there comes a time when children naturally don’t want to spend the night in your bed and we know that we wil miss those years of having our little sweetie sleeping soundly between us.  But also because, as the saying goes, this too shall pass.  All the older three slept with me but all stopped in the three to four year range.  Certainly there was persuasion on my part for them to stay in their beds but I think that it also became not very comfortable for them as well. I would also say that once they went to kindergarten they were so exhausted every night that they stopped waking up in the night and that was definitely the end of co-sleeping.

Carissa

We chose not to co-sleep with our children. We put our children to bed in their crib in their own room every night. No matter how many times they would get  up in the middle of the night at first, when they went back to sleep, they went back to their own bed. Our children were both soother babies, so they would go to bed with a full belly, a soother, and the music of the ocean wonders aquarium. I think for us that part of it, was luck ( Our kids just like sleep, and still do), having a set routine and sticking with it, being consistent. If they did fuss about going to bed, we would go check on them, give them back a soother, reset the music then kiss and out we go. If we had to go in every five minutes, we did. By being consistent and set in our routine, they just got used to it and fell asleep. We did this from the very beginning, so by about 4-5 months they were sleeping through the night. It was hard for a while and we were exhausted, but we stuck with it and it worked for us.

Elizabeth

I remember attending a La Leche League meeting when I was pregnant with my first child.  I scoffed at the suggestion that I would someday share my bed with my child.  I was sure it was my private space.  Parenting lesson #1 – I was wrong.  I couldn’t sleep without my child in my room, hearing his every whimper and knowing he was still breathing.  I was just too tired to wake in the night, feed them and put them back into their beds.  I found it liveable (and enjoyable) to have them right there to nurse and sleep in my bed.  It wound up much the same for all three of my kids.  I slept (if you can call it that) better with their little bodies near and they with their source of comfort closeby.  Once my kids were weaned, they went into their own beds, though they often took a lot of convincing and lie-besiding in order to get them to do so.  Such is life, I guess.

Jennifer H

Sleep – The first baby was “easy…” didn’t co-sleep (we couldn’t get any sleep with her with all the sniffles and snuffles and burps in the night…) and by 7 months old she was sleeping through the night.  We had a couple of rough nights with having to let her “cry it out” – but she wasn’t really a screamer so it was fairly painless.  She’s 4 years old now, and has slept through the night ever since.  So, now the second baby… a completely different baby (of course!)… again, had her sleeping in her own crib in her own room from Day 1; however, we brought her into bed with us a lot more, especially in the wee hours of the morning.  By 9 months old, she still was not sleeping through the night and we were hesitant to let her cry it out, on account of her extremely loud shrieking (a friend once told us it sounded like someone had dipped her arms in scalding water). But finally one night, after getting up and down with her repeatedly for about 3 hours, we let her cry it out, and she went to sleep after about 10 minutes.  We did that, on and off, for about 2 weeks and finally she started sleeping through the night after that (mostly!)

Miranda

When we were expecting our first baby I had no intentions of ever sleeping with our babies. I did the expensive nursery set up with the beautiful crib and bedding. Then our son was born and I don’t think he ever slept one night in there!  I was 17 when we had our first and there wasn’t a ton of input coming at me. Not everyone had internet yet so I went with my gut.  Now 7 babies later this is our family rhythm.  We co-sleep until around age 2 and then they transition into a big kid bed.  Sometimes that transition takes one of us laying with them until they fall asleep or sitting in the door way.  I’d say we are pretty relaxed when they are little and just enjoy their dependence on us knowing it ends all too quickly.

Jen H

What-ever works!  I have no real opinion one way or the other.  My Daughter co-slept for her first 3 weeks at home simply because that’s the only thing that allowed both of us to sleep; once we figured out what made her comfortable in her bed she slept perfectly on her own and now has no interest in co-sleeping.  My son co-slept a little in the first few months because he was in our room and for that early morning nursing it was just so easy to pull him into bed and go back to sleep.  He too lost interest in our bed as he loves his own bed and room.  Basically we don’t co-sleep here because it didn’t naturally work out that way, if they were waking in the night bring them to our bed didn’t solve anything but did wake up whichever parent managed to sleep through the wailing!

Sophie

From day one, we always put our twin girls to bed when they were awake so that they learned to self soothe. If they would cry, we would make sure that they were okay (clean diaper, safe, burped, etc.) and then we would reassured them while they were in their bed. We would pat their back and talk calmly to them. Then we would leave the room and let them cry it out (checking on them and reassuring them often, but not picking them up). We had a few tough nights at the beginning, but then the girls learned that they weren’t going to get attention during sleep time. They were both sleeping through the night by 3 months (from 7pm to 5am). My girls get all their cuddles when they are awake, and they have always been amazing sleepers. Of course, when they are sick or seem particularly distressed, they get all of the cuddles and snuggles that they need to feel better.

Tamara C

We are not co-sleepers in our house, although our son slept in a bassinet in our room for the first few months of life, and our daughter (currently 2 months) sleeps in said bassinet in our room.  At 3 months, we transferred our son into a crib in his own room and he just naturally slept through the night.  I always nursed/cluster-fed
him frequently during the hours leading up to bedtime, ensuring he had a full belly to last him through the night.  I do the same with our daughter and she has been sleeping through the night for the last month.  We always have a bedtime routine of bath/brush teeth/stories/prayers/bed…this seems to help.

Krystal

Both kids slept with me. Our room was one giant bed when they were really little. Routine was the key to bedtime in their own bed. Teeth, pee, drinks, stories, songs. It never fails that if you are in a rush to put your child to bed they will take the longest so I try to relax, flex my patience muscle and enjoy the moments.

Danica

When my first baby was three months old I was at a party and several old ladies convinced me that I should let my daughter cry through the night. They guaranteed me that it would take three nights tops. I was unsure, but I was exhausted and I thought it sounded worth giving a shot.

The first night was hell. I won’t lie. And the second night she slept through the night. I tried the same method with my second baby at the same age and it worked again.

I know it sounds harsh, but it worked for us, and when I see the grief that some parents go through with years and years of sleepless nights, all I can do is shrug. A night or two of harsh might be worth it – for everyone – in the long run.

Lara

This depends on what you consider to be “sleeping through the night”.  For me, anything over 5 hrs straight was good.  But I think most people consider it to be more like 7+ hrs?

Baby #1 – She started sleeping through the night on her own around 7 months (9/10pm-6am).  Then stopped around 9 months.  At about 12 months I was getting ready to go back to work and needed her to be sleeping through, so we tried crying it out.  That was really really hard (she cried for hours) and we only did it for 3 nights.  By 13 months when I went back to work, she was sleeping through…and now at 5.5 yrs sleeps straight through from 7:30/8pm to about 6:30am.

Baby #2 – From about 5 months he would go to bed at 8, nurse at 11/12, and nurse again at around 5am. He was probably 9-10 months old before he dropped the midnight feeding.  About 13 months he stopped waking to eat (and I stopped nursing, as I went back to work),  and would sleep through the night from 8-5:30 or so.  Now at 3.5 yrs he doesn’t usually nap so we put him to bed around 7:30 and he’s up between 5:30 and 6am.

Francy

Trust yourself and your partner.  Only you two can know what is best for your family.  I really believe that children move through their development at very different times.  I don’t think sleeping through the night can be forced, but rather managed.

Erynn

Co-sleeping absolutely. I can’t imagine not having her there, not being able to listen to her breathing and know everything is ok. For safety factors alone i would always choose co-sleeping.  As an added bonus as a breastfeeding mama everyone gets so much more sleep not having to get out of bed to meet her needs.

Sleeping through the night? I’m hoping more than anything to be able to have more babies one day so I’m not sure that ever in my future. My daughter still nurses 3 or 4 or sometimes more times a night and will as long as she needs to, and that’s still way more sleep than I ever got when I was pregnant!

Tamara V

Sleeping issues in our house went on for years (I’m talking about kids who woke up at least four times a night).  In hindsight I realize that I was moderately ‘blue’ for a long time from exhaustion.  I bought all the sleeping books including the big hitter – Ferber – who advocates crying it out.  I really wanted to do this (and never for a moment judged anyone who successfully did) but I simply couldn’t do it.  I wanted to hold or breastfeed my babies/toddlers until they fell asleep at any hour of the day or night. So I honoured that.  At the age of four we discovered one of our boys had sleep apnea which had been affecting his ability to sleep all along.  After a surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids he immediately started sleeping through the night.

Kylie

As with most parenting issues, I don’t think it’s black and white.  I think when deciding if co-sleeping is right for you and your family you have to consider everyone involved. Personally I’m all for co-sleeping.  With my first baby I tried to get him to sleep in his bassinet in the beginning, but that didn’t last long at all.   I felt better with him next to me, and he slept better.  It meant that we all got more sleep and were happier.  But I haven’t co-slept with all my kids except in the beginning.  My daughter since 12 weeks old has been much much happier in her own bed.   My youngest is also happier in his own bed.  My older 2 boys however still co-sleep with me about %60 of the time.  They’re all different.I didn’t really ‘train’ any of my children to sleep through the night.  I always figured that was something that they would do when they were ready, and they did!  My children all did it at different times, from 12 weeks, to 15m.  I found that it helped to put my children to bed around the same time each night, and also to have some sort of routine.  They are all so different though.  I never thought I’d let a child cry, but with my youngest sometimes this really is what he needs to be able to settle himself.  It’s just trial and error, and figuring out what works for each child.

Angela

The closest thing that I came to co-sleeping with any of my kids was 1) falling asleep while nursing in my bed and 2) falling asleep in their bed as we have our bedtime snuggle.   I don’t know if I ‘trained’ my kids to be independent sleepers or if I was lucky and they were just like that.  Don`t get me wrong – there have been many a sleepless nights when the kids have been plagued by nightmares or teething pains or a flu or when they are just plain so-ridiculously-overtired-but-can’t-fall-asleep, but for the most part, they have been sleeping through the night since they were wee ones at 4-6 weeks old.   Eat.  Play.  Sleep.  (I guess that`s another really good piece of advice I had given to me).  Baby likes to eat, then play, then they are tired from playing so now it’s time  for sleep.  I suppose for the most part I followed this routine if I could during the daytime and for naps.   And for bedtime, I just nursed while they were awake and then we did our cuddle time (sing songs, read books etc, 20 thousand hugs and kisses and 10 thousand good nights) and then I put them in their crib. They would coo and talk to themselves and then just nod off to sleep. And as they got older,  we just substituted a cup of milk for nursing and  a bed for the crib but the rest of the routine pretty much stayed the same.  My oldest now takes 10 or 15 min to read before it is lights out and we can often hear the two little ones singing to themselves or talking to their bears as they drift into dreamland.

Marlene

We never co-slept with any of our kids. My husband and I considered bedtime to be “our time”.  Falling asleep on 3 inches of bed space never appealed to either of us. Somehow, our youngest often seems to sneak her way into our bed during the night.  My husband and I are often so tired that neither of us notice she even comes down.  We realize when we wake up with our muscles all gimped up from being curled up in a ball and there she is comfortably sprawled out in our bed. “Training” our kids to sleep through the night was very interesting when the 2am train comes rolling through Rayleigh;)  All three of my kids are excellent sleepers thank goodness!

Holly

Sleep – parents aren’t supposed to sleep are they? LOL! I have co-slept with both of my kids.  With my first child it was done out of desperation for sleep. We fought the idea of co-sleep but in the end it is what worked.  My second child co-slept from the beginning.  We are gradually moving away from it.

Amanda H

With my first I co-slept because I couldn’t sleep with waking up to every sound he made (and he was a noisy sleeper).  I would hear him and wake up just to discover he was sleeping soundly, every few minutes.  I also enjoyed being able to nurse in bed.  I did wish as he got bigger for him to leave the bed and allow me to sleep comfortably with more room, so by 5 months we moved him to his crib.  We started slowly, giving him his nightly feed, then a soother and stayed with him rubbing his back until he fell asleep.  Each night we would spend less and less time in his room until we could just lay him down and allow him to fall asleep on his own.  There were times he cried but I never allowed him to cry it out for more than 5-10 minutes.  It took about 2 weeks.  With my second I had planned on him sleeping in his own bed from the start but he had other plans, every time I laid him down asleep in his bed he woke up.  I quickly gave in and co-slept again.  He was much harder to switch to his own bed and the whole process took at least a month with both of us doing a lot of crying.  He refused very early on to take soothers and was very attached to nursing all night long whether I had milk or not which made the process much more difficult.  Both boys now easily fall asleep on their own in their beds

Lois

All 13 of my children coslept with Mom and Dad. Between 6 months and a year and a half we transitioned them to a toddler bed. Each child had a different timetable for when they were ready.By the time they were 2 and a half they would go off to bed with the older children because it was time for bed and they were old enough to feel that they were big like everyone else. Some toddle off to bed before everyone else because they feel tired. Routine is very important to young children. Baths, stories,snacks,bathroom hygene, and into bed to be tucked in and prayed with. Once they are weaned from nursing they usually sleep through the night.

Alison

Our boys are very different sleepers! As a baby, K slept in his bassinette at my bedside as a baby, and moved to a crib in his own room around 6 month. He slept through the night around 5 weeks, and had a fairly regular sleep schedule after that. We occasionally would let him cry it out, but it usually lasted only a couple of minutes. Once he moved into his own bed, it was a different story. He needed one of us to lay with him until he was asleep – and it went on for a few months. Again, luckily, he was able to start going to sleep on his own, and didn’t really need any “sleep training”.

When R was born he definitely sent us for a loop! He didn’t want to sleep in his bassinette or crib, wasn’t big on being swaddled. He just wanted me, or my bed. When he was 6 months old, we moved to our new house, and had a month where we had four of us in one room. This meant that R was co-sleeping most nights, I didn’t mind as I thought it wasn’t going to last long. R was/is not a self-soother, and has always had a hard time going to sleep. I tried a short stint of letting him cry it out, but after four nights of four hours of crying, I couldn’t do it. R was also nursing until he was 22 months old, and nursed during the night until just past his first birthday. Soooo… at 2 ½ years, R was still co-sleeping most nights. And although I did not want to co-sleep with K (because I was told he would never sleep in his own bed), I was so happy to co-sleep with R, as it meant everyone in our household got a good sleep. This means that most nights he would fall asleep on our bed watching a movie, and then get moved to his bed. Whenever he woke up, he would make his way to our room and stay there. Recently, he found our portable DVD player, and I told him it was a treat if he would sleep in his bed. Wow! Did that ever work. This was the beginning of July, and since then he has been going to sleep in his room (still watching a movie) and sleeping thru the night in his bed!! Wahoo!!! Yes, I have to get rid of the DVD player eventually, but for now, it works, and we all get a good night’s sleep.

Sarah

We do not co-sleep nor have we ever.  My husband and I made that decision before having kids.  We wanted our bed to be ours and not have to share! (within reason – our 5.5 year old comes in the odd night when he gets scared BUT as soon as he is calmed down or back to sleep, we take him back to his bed).  When my babies were born I woke them during the day every 2.5 or 3 hours and I fed them.  Then at night I let them sleep until they woke up.  They were all (except the 3rd boy!) sleeping through the night by 3 or 4 months (10pm-7am).