Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Happy Sleep

This post is for parents out there who can relate to this:

 Or this:

Let's face it...SLEEP goes hand-in-hand with happiness.

The first few months of Little Man's life, we did not have a regular routine for bedtime.  He just played until he seemed tired, then I would rock him to sleep or put him in our bed next to me until he fell asleep.  Well, the night wakings became more frequent, and he just didn't seem to want to sleep!  I was starting to feel the strain each morning as I was exhausted and only wanted to go back to bed.  Mr. Handsome and I wanted our bed back, and I knew that something needed to change so that we all got the sleep we needed.  My pediatrician suggested the "cry it out" method.  I tried it, and just ask Mr. Handsome...I could NOT do it.  It just didn't seem right at all to let my little baby scream and scream while I tried to wait for fifteen minutes until I was "allowed" to go in.  I know this method works very well for some, but I just couldn't do it.  I felt like a horrible mother, and it brought me close to tears every night!  So, I began researching sleep books.  This is when I came across The Sleep Lady's Goodnight Sleep Tight.  The Sleep Lady's method felt good to me, so we decided to try it!

The first thing we needed to do was to set a regular bedtime routine.  Our routine of choice is family prayers, bath time, jammies, bottle, 1-2 verses of scripture  and two stories, then I put him in bed and it's off to dreamland.  Every family will have a different routine that works for them.  Once we set the bedtime routine, it was time to start the Sleep Lady Shuffle.

  - Nights 1-3: The first few nights were hard.  After reading stories, I put Little Man in his crib and said "I love you, goodnight!"  I then sat on a chair right next to his crib.  I was close enough that I could touch him, but I did not pick him up.  He cried and cried, he threw everything out of his crib, and he was not happy with me.  But, he knew I was right there and I wasn't abandoning him.  While there were still tears and it was still hard for me, I felt much better being right there with him and giving him the assurance that I was there for him.  The first night, it took almost 2 hours for my boy to fall asleep.  The second night it only took TWENTY minutes.  It was a night of celebration!  Night #3 was a little more difficult, taking 90 minutes.

-Nights 4-6: Same thing, but I scooted the chair to the middle of the room.  From here on out Little Man was sound asleep in under 30 minutes.  Things started looking up, and I was SO glad we decided to do this!

-Nights 7-9: Move the chair to the door.  He was a pro by this time, and I didn't even finish out all the nine nights.

Because Little Man's night time sleep was improving, and he was getting the rest he needed, his naps also improved.  Yay!  He started taking two naps a day for 1-2 hours.  He was getting more sleep all around, and that makes for a much happier little boy and mommy!

The Sleep Lady method worked for us, and we are SO happy that we decided to try it!!

We would love to hear your ideas about sleeping and bedtime routines!  What works for you and your family?

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