When our second daughter came home, our toddler's sleep went BOOOONKERS! She would scream-cry for an hour and a half, WHILE WE WERE HOLDING HER before she finally fell asleep! We knew we couldn’t do that every night and decided it was time to hire a sleep consultant. We found Stephanie at Bed Rock Sleep to do some sleep training and it was A GAME CHANGER!!!
After our first call with her I straight up told her I didn't think it would owrk for our daughter but we were willing to give it a real college try. AND HOLY CRAP. 10 days. After just 10 days, we could do our routine, put her down and walk downstairs! Now those 10 days weren’t easy breezy but with our daughter sleep trained, it is SO nice to have our nights back and one less persons’ sleep to stress about!
This blog is all about our journey of sleep training our toddler after bringing our second baby home. If you’re more of a video person, I have a whole YouTube video on this too.
Before We Sleep Trained
We thought about hiring a sleep consultant when AJ was a baby but then we decided (at the time) that it seemed ridiculous to hire someone to teach our baby to sleep.
And eventually when we did hire a sleep consultant for her as a toddler, I was hesitant.
In my mind, sleep training was synonymous with cry it out. And while I totally understand why people do the cry it out method, I didn’t feel comfortable with that for our family. But what I learned is sleep training does not equal CIO!!
What I loved about Stephanie's approach is she offers a free 15 minute consult where we explained what we're currently doing, the problem and she gets an idea of we're a good fit.
This is what we were doing:
We would lay with her on her floor bed until she was asleep. Then we'd roll away and eventually some time in the night she'd wake up and come into our bed. Then I got pregnant and couldn't lay with her because sometimes her foot would hit my belly and it would feel so weird. So I was laying next to her bed until she'd fall asleep.
When we got the courage to start sleep training AJ got sick and our sleep consultant said to pause until she was healthy. So, we pushed it back. BUT, while she was sick, Seth pretty much slept with her in her bed all night, which meant she wasn’t in ours and got a little more used to staying in her own bed.
Then she was healthy and we were ready.
3 changes we made:
No co-sleeping: The consultant told me I had to stop co-sleeping if we were going to do this. The sleep training strategy was to eliminate me as the prop. That was honestly very hard for us.
Schedule: Wake windows were out the window, we were not on a time schedule to get her body used to a schedule.
Routine: We were hit or miss with our routine, so we had to pick one and stick to it. I even went as far as printing out photos for her so she knew what was coming and what we still had to do.
These three things helped SO MUCH.
Days 1-3: We would lay next to the bed (like I did when I was pregnant) and comfort her to sleep. But she had to stay in her bed.
Days 3-6: We moved to a chair in the middle of the room, and stay in the room until they fall asleep. and you can stay until they fall asleep but they have to stay in their bed.
I know what you're thinking… how do you get your kid to stay in their bed. You don't. When they get out you pick them up with NEUTRAL emotion, not angry, not excited etc. and “reset” them.
you pick a phrase, ours was “time to go nu-night” and you place them back in bed how you want them to go to sleep (head on pillow, blankets on).
Day 6-9: We did the routine and then we sat right outside the bedroom door. When she comes out (because of course she did) we neutral emotion put her back with our phrase.
DAY 10: We put her down and we left, in the plan it said to let her cry for 10 min before we go get her. I had so much anxiety about that but it was never a problem. She didn't cry, she just laid there!
When we first started, we probably “reset” her 20-30 times saying our phrase over and over and putting her back in her bed. Each night she got used to it a little more and got up less and less.
Each time we moved further from her she was crying, confused, and upset. So we would comfort her until she'd calm down then go back to the floor/chair/door. We were there to help her feel calm and safe but not be her crutch to sleep.
She actually gave us this entire plan in the first 15 minute call. So, I thought we could take the info and run but Seth encouraged me to move forward and hire her as our coach and I’m SO glad we did.
Things would come up like her asking for water over and over or I wasn't sure if we needed to keep her just in her room, always in her bed, then AJ was waking up super early and Stephanie had a plan for that too!
AJ got sick and we love co-sleeping and we got sloppy with the routine and we slipped into old habits.
This post is not sponsored! I paid Stephanie with BedRock Sleep for her services because I didn't want any obligation with a collaboration! But I would highly recommend her if you're struggling with sleep. She's amazing.