Mommy Story!: Who Needs Sleep When You’ve Got an 18-Month Old?

Baby Lia had her 18-month check-up yesterday, and as usual, they asked us questions to make sure she’s on the right developmental path and then asked if we had any concerns. Lia is doing great at her age…she has a pretty extensive vocabulary and does what we ask her to most of the time. She loves to read and can identify a lot of objects, letters, and shapes in books. BUT she is not sleeping through the night yet, at least most nights anyway.

When I told Lia’s doctor that she is not sleeping through the night and asked if it was normal, her doctor said, “No”, and pretty much gave us a lecture about how we NEED to get her to sleep through the night on her own. Okay, not that I want to make any excuses, but with both my husband and me working full-time, after awhile, we just wanted to do whatever we could so that WE could get some sleep too in order to function throughout the day. We admit that we have gotten Lia into the bad habit of coming into our bed and having a bottle of water when she wakes up in the middle of the night, but it works, and we get our sleep. Plus, my parents live with us. It’s pretty tough for especially Lia’s grandpa to let her sit there and cry, so if we happen not to hear her wake up in the middle of the night, Grandpa comes to the rescue and takes her.

Lia’s pediatrician explained that it’s important for her learn to self-sooth when she wakes up in the middle of the night and put herself back to sleep. She suggested that we let Lia “cry it out”, and to check on her every once in awhile just to make sure she wasn’t hurt, but not to interact with her when we do check on her. Please note that I have been telling my husband and my dad that we should do this since she was 6 months old, but a year later, they still have yet to let her “cry it out”. Now Lia is 18 months old, and my biggest concern is that she’s a climber, so eventually she may be so determined that she’ll climb out of her crib in the middle of the night. Luckily, she hasn’t figured this out yet, but I’m sure it won’t be too long before she does!

Last night, was the first night we tried to have Lia “cry it out” when she woke up in the middle of the night. I heard her cry for awhile, then she stopped, then she cried again, then she stopped…she repeated this about 4 times. Little did I know that her daddy actually got up the third time she started crying. Apparently he sat outside of her door until, finally, Lia was able to convince him to come and get her by yelling “Mom!”, which is what she calls all adults in our house, and pointing out the door. Daddy gave in, picked her up, and brought her into our bed with us. I’ve never seen her so happy to sleep in our bed with us! She started laughing and gave each of us 3 kisses before she started complaining again and her daddy gave her a bottle of water for her to fall asleep. It was clear that this is going to be more of a challenge than I thought!

My dad works third shift on the weekends, so when he came home today, I explained to him our plan of letting Lia cry when she wakes up at night. He agreed not to take her, but between him and my husband, I’m not sure that this will work.

So, I’m wondering, besides Lia continuing to want to sleep in our bed, what are the consequences of getting her in the middle of the night instead of having her sooth herself and go back to sleep on her own? Does it affect her personality, problem-solving skills, or need/want for independence? What tricks have you used to get your babies or kids to sleep through the night? Any advice would be GREAT so PLEASE leave me a comment below!

Tonight, I put Lia to sleep in her room even though she kept trying to convince me to bring her to our room. I explained to her that she needed to sleep in her crib tonight. I’m not sure if she understood me, but every time I tried to put her down in her crib, she clung to me like a monkey. I’m sure that since she’s older, this will take a little longer than we would like, but hopefully she gets to sleeping through the night soon! Otherwise, she will have 2 zombies for parents!

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