Toddler sleep. What a loaded topic!
Before we get to the 16-20 month stage, let me share a little bit about Kaiden’s sleep habits over the past 20 months. Like all babies, he obviously didn’t sleep through the night until about 10 weeks which is when we started using the Baby Merlin Magic Sleep Suit. And then we hit the dreaded 4 month sleep regression. And it was rough…to say the least! At some point, we decided we couldn’t take it anymore and sleep trained K (we used the cry it out method). It worked until I went to Atlanta for Christmas and everything blew up in my face. That was a rough trip! We decided to sleep train him again at almost eight months, and luckily, it only took a couple of nights before he was sleeping through the night again. By no means was he sleeping 7p-7a, but he’d get a decent 10-10.5 hours every night, and wake ups ranged from 4-5:30a.
Also, this is not to say he never woke up in the middle of the night. He definitely did…
Ok, so let’s fast forward to 16 months when things went wonky again. Kaiden’s teeth came in a little late in the game, so I think a lot of his choppy sleep was due to that. But man, it was rough.
The middle of the night wake ups/very early morning wake ups continued until about 19.5 months. Until Vishnu put his foot down and asked if we could let K cry it out again to see what would happen. I’ll be honest, I didn’t always comply. It breaks my heart to hear him cry out like that. But what I learned from picking him up and trying to comfort him is that once he’s in my arms, I have no out. That’s just the kind of kid he is. Also, he equates middle of the night wake ups with playtime. I don’t. So after a week or so of bringing him into bed with us, I finally complied and let him cry it out both at night and in the morning until 6:00 am. And guess what? It took a couple of days, but he’s sleeping through the night again and waking up closer to 6 and sometimes even 6:30 (GASP!).
None of this was super surprising, as many of my experienced mama friends told me that sleep changes around 18 months. They weren’t kidding! These kiddos go through so many changes during this time. Physically, we think K’s grown a ton height wise (in our eyes!), and he’s truly blossoming in other ways too. It’s no wonder he wanted to get up and party so often!
Ok, so I’m not advocating that parents of toddlers should use the cry it out method. That’s a very personal decision and not one everyone is comfortable with it. What I am saying is that 1. you’re not alone and 2. it doesn’t last forever. You may have to try an intervention or two before you crack the code, but you’ll find a way.
ALSO, I want to share one more thing I’ve been doing that I think helps Kaiden relax before falling and staying asleep. Of course, I have no scientific proof that this contributes to any of the positive changes over the last month or so, and it all may be a coincidence, but I’m not stopping any time soon. Essentially, I put 2-3 small drops of lavender essential oil on a paper towel and rub it all over his crib rails. I also lightly dab it on his crib sheets. Lavender is known to be a soothing scent, and I think it’s working with our little guy. FINGERS CROSSED!
On to the next stage. I’ve heard 24-36 months get interesting with the transition to a toddler bed. Send help…and wine…and coffee!