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Little J is sleeping though the night in his own room again only this time he’s doing it better! Instead of falling asleep in his parent’s arms, Little J putting himself to sleep by himself. We have our routines as usual! He has his bath as music from the Usborne Lullabies plays in the background, we read few books together, usually, starting with Goodnight Moon. Instead of following this with singing until he’s asleep then putting him in the crib, I sing to him until he’s sleepy and then put him awake and yes, crying, into the crib. In the beginning the crying seemed endless and we checked in with our little one every twenty minutes. Now the crying is more intermittent and last less than three to five minutes. Then our little one puts his head down and goes to sleep. He even shooed us out of the room so he could sleep once.
Family, good friends and colleagues did share with me their wisdom and I am glad they did as it gave me avenues to try when all seemed lost. However well-meaning though, simply saying,” let him cry it out,” is for a new parent jarring in the least and excruciating at best. Especially when a parent has little accompanying information on how these methods work or affect their little ones. At least this was true for me. I have discovered I am much better with more information than less when it comes to making decisions about my son.
So how exactly did we do this? How did we learn not only how to put our child to sleep but why it’s so important and how it benefits him to learn this skill now? Believe it or not I found the solution in a book. I have an Audible.com subscription as I had little time for actually sitting and dedicating my time to a book. Instead I listen to books as I roam the house cleaning and doing my daily chores. I often listen to parenting books and had just completed Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman and I decided to find a book that tackled sleep. When I picked The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5 by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack I didn’t really expect it to work. I thought it might have a tip or two to help. I didn’t expect my son who had slept in our bed for weeks, to within a week, be comfortable sleeping in his own room by himself for both naps and bedtime!
Perhaps it had something to do with the free of condescension motherly tone of the narrator Jo Anna Perrin. Perhaps it was because not long into listening to the first chapters I was nodding my head and saying, “that’s exactly what he does!” Either way I decided pretty quickly that I wanted to try the method described in the book to help our son sleep. The thing about the The Sleepeasy Solution, is that it also gave me good information on why their method works, how it affects our child, typical behavior for children his age and why they think and act as they do. All of this information along with stressing the importance of establishing consistency in our son’s life now and modeling it for him made it easier for us to see this method through and help our son. When people say just let him cry… well in my opinion they weren’t wrong but they couldn’t lay it all out for us the way this book had.
I wish I’d had this book on the first day I brought Little J home and I am purchasing a physical copy as a reference book for my home. Little J hasn’t just gained sleep and saner parents. He now has a healthier routine altogether, his day has structure and consistency and more sleep means a greater aptitude for retaining all the information he’s learning daily. He’s meeting the sleep requirements for his age. Mom is learning to start her day earlier but also learning a lesson in consistency for herself.
Now I am not saying this is the only solution out there and I am not suggesting that co-sleeping (following guidelines for doing so safely) isn’t the way to go for your family. What I am saying is if there is someone out there struggling to teach their child to sleep and having difficulty in doing so there is hope. Read as many books as you can and I might suggest starting with this one, The Sleepeasy Solution, it just may be the only one you’ll need. Perhaps it is true there is no method for raising children but you can garner strength, support and information to guide you to creating the method that’s right for you.