I’m thinking of renaming my blog, “The Baby Who Would Not Sleep.” Not really, but it would certainly be a fitting title. I’m pretty sure 90% of the hundreds of posts I’ve made have been about baby/toddler sleep issues.
So what hair brained idea are we trying out this week to get our 16 month old to sleep? The toddler bed!
We’ve used a floor bed (crib mattress on the floor) with her before and it worked really well. The reason we stopped using it is because she started getting up and crawling away at bedtime. That was when she was about 8 months old. But now Avery is going through a phase of refusing to be put down in the crib (even when sound asleep). On the other hand, she is also now able to understand and obey when we say “lay down and go to sleep.” She’ll only do this if one of us is next to her, and it only works for wakeups through the night – not getting to sleep at first at bedtime. She still needs to nurse to sleep at bedtime.
Our solution was to try something that all the parenting blogs say she is way too young for – we transitioned her to a toddler bed. Actually, we just took the side off of her crib. She was so excited when we were rebuilding it, and she wouldn’t stop throwing herself on it and snuggling with her new toddler-safe pillow (while we were still tightening all the bolts back up. Literally couldn’t wait to try it out).
I’ve been sleeping on couch cushions beside her new bed and when she wakes in the night I hold her hand and say “shh, lay down and go to sleep.” So far she does, but only for me (not my wife). To get her to sleep I have to lean awkwardly over the side of her bed to nurse her, because it probably won’t hold my weight. Soon I hope to be able to leave the room once she’s settled, but I think her recent sleep issue is separation anxiety, and leaving her side wakes her up. She clearly experiences anxiety. Or screaming panic, more like. But if I’m there, holding her hand, she flops herself back down and goes back to sleep.
I’ll update after a week or so of this when we get a better idea of how it’s working!
If you’re interested in the floor bed idea or transitioning early to a toddler bed, I encourage you to read about why it’s recommended by the Montessori school of thought. I think that the idea of giving the kid more autonomy with sleep is something that will work for Avery, because she’s very much a power-struggler when it comes to sleep. But that kind of early autonomy won’t work for every toddler!!
As always, wish us luck as we embark on yet another hair brained sleep plan…