I’m Losing My Mind While Sleep Training My AP Toddler

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sleeping toddlerAt my daughter’s six month checkup, my pediatrician gently suggested we start using a crib.

“The older she gets, the harder it will be for her to leave your bed,” she told me. I nodded, agreeing with her, but knowing I was perfectly content with bed sharing at the time—and my husband and daughter were, too. Why wouldn’t she be, anyways? She had endless milk on tap, all night; the warmth of my body beside hers and the joy of rising at the same time, smiling into each other’s faces.

How could I have predicted that the quality of everyone’s sleep would take a serious downturn when she turned one and a half? I had just blissfully assumed that we’d all snuggle together until she was three or four and ready to have her own sense of independence. But no. Now that she’s big, she arches her back and kicks me in my nether regions, she rolls up against my husband and forces him to the edge of the bed, and now that she’s teething again she nurses Every. Damn. Hour. I wake up with the wrinkled nipples of an 80-year old aboriginal woman. This has to stop.

So we bought my daughter a mattress and placed it near the foot of our bed. What follows is my raw, visceral experience with her first week of sleep training. If you’re the super empathetic type, I suggest reading with a mug of some caffeinated beverage in hand.

7/17, Night One

I wiggled down next to her on her mattress, making the damn thing squeak and squawk and wondering briefly if there was a weight limit to it. I nursed her. After both boobs, she fell asleep and I pranced off to play Candy Crush in my office for a bit.

Half an hour later, baby woke up—I tried nursing her again, but she sat up and did her “all done” sign. I made it darker in the room, put her back down on her back, and sat there petting her while she cried her eyes out. She did her forced, tantrum-y cry (it sounds more like an adult doing an impression of a baby than an actual baby—each “Wah” enunciated). Ten minutes of this.

My husband put on some soft music and I tried nursing her again. Her eyes stay open, she sits up and does “all done” again. Awesome. So we all stay up until eleven. Then we all went to sleep together in our adult bed. So mostly fail.


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