Like many parents out there I struggled with getting my toddler to sleep through the night. When he was an infant, I just accepted that we were not going to sleep through the night. However, as we passed the 14 month mark and he was still not sleeping through the night, we realized something had to change. At this point, Little One would wake up and I’d bring him into our bed to nurse and he would start pushing me or kicking…not fun. For some reason he only did this to me and not my husband. Needless to say, I couldn’t handle it any more. This is the story of how Little One went from the worst sleeper to the best sleeper, and how I got my toddler to finally sleep through the night.
I read tons of post and articles on how to get a toddler to sleep through the night. There is lots of advice out there! I am going to share what has worked for us but every child is different and every family is different, so find what works for you.
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Step One – Preparing Sleeping Area
The first step for us was moving Little One to his own room. My husband and I were both having a hard time taking this step. We liked having him with us and didn’t want our Little One to grow up.
We already had his crib set up with a tight fitting sheet. Our next step was to add a small fleece blanket and Gray Elephant Security Blanket, named Ellington. Being that Little One was 14-15 months he was able to have a small blanket to sleep with. Follow recommendations from your doctor when adding items to your child’s crib.
We also added a humidifier and a fan to Little One’s room. In my reading I learned that it is important to set up the room for sleeping. The humidifier keeps him from getting too dry, which was important at the time because we were heading into winter. Keeping the air flowing was important, too. We had the fan blowing, as well (away from the crib). Both of these items helped provide white noise.
Step 2- Bed time routine
With the new change to Little One sleeping in his own room, our nighttime routine had to change, too. On bath nights (every other night) we would start with the bath. He loves bubbles and we love this foaming bath wash that can be used as a soap and to create a bubble bath. After his bath we would score an extra snuggle and wrap him in his Hogwarts towel. My husband and I would apply lotion and this chest rub. The chest rub helps prompt sleep and did wonders in calming Little One down for sleep. We then brush his teeth and get his pajamas on. If you are choosing to cloth diaper, check out my night time cloth diapering solutions.
Next, my husband and Little One would cuddle in the chair in his room and read books. This can take a little while (especially with those two bookworms) and when they are done, I take over and nurse Little One. I didn’t use the boppy much when first starting to nurse but now I use it every night. Little One and I would then cuddle in the chair for a while while rocking.
The final step was asking Little One if he was ready for Ellington. It took a couple of days to get into this routine, but eventually he would sit up and point to Ellington. I would walk over to the crib, hand him Ellington, and lay him down in the crib. Then I would tuck him in with the blanket, give one more kiss, and head out.
The first couple of nights
When we changed to this routine I could have very easily given up. But I knew for the long run that we had to get through this. The new routine that we laid out above went well but once I laid him down he started to cry. That was the hardest part. It ripped my heart out and all I would want to do was go back in and cuddle him.
However, I stuck to my gut and let him cry and in a couple of minutes he would fall asleep.
After the first week he wasn’t crying at all when I put him down. After that first week he started sleeping consistently 12-13 hours per night. I could not believe it!
Little One went from the worst sleeping to the best sleeping in a matter of a week. It was incredible! I was so happy that I finally got my toddler to sleep though the night, and that I got to sleep though the night too. Believe me it was much needed.
Little One is almost 2 now – I can’t believe it! Our nightly routine has remained much the same. He is still sleeping through the night and is waking up a happy boy.
I am not sure if there was one particular step that really made this work. All of the changes working together is what helped us get to this point.
I have found that the chest rub has been incredibly helpful in relaxing Little One and getting him ready for bed. If your toddler is anything like mine, they are constantly running and excited. The chest rub really helped relax him. The eucalyptus and lavender mix smell so good and is soothing. We rub a little on his chest right before pajamas and it just gets him in the right mindset for sleep.
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Next, did you see our recent post on 6 baby products you need to try?