How To Ensure That Your Children Become The Worst Possible Sleepers, Ever, In The History Of The World

I am a sleep failure.

If I were to write a book on sleeping, it would be called “How To Ensure That Your Children Become The Worst Possible Sleepers, Ever, In The History Of The World.”

Bestseller, yes?

I have a guest post on one blogger’s experience getting her kids to sleep. She’s anti “crying it out,” and has chosen to keep her kids with her until they are 15-18 months and then move them gently to share a room with a sibling. It’s sweet and comforting and what works for her family. Like everything else in parenting, that’s really all that matters. There are no rights and no wrongs; It’s parenthood, not the SATS.

Actually, I take it back. There are wrongs and where sleeping is concerned,  and I did them all.

If there are any mothers out there struggling with sleeping, or wondering how to best approach it, I’d like to share with you exactly what I did so you can do the complete opposite.

You’re welcome.

• Force your newborn to sleep on top of you. I couldn’t breastfeed Lily, and was convinced that she would never bond with me because of it. To achieve a sense of closeness, I forced her to sleep on top of me during her early days, which of course resulted in nothing but a newborn who couldn’t sleep unless she was on top of me. It took months and months to undo.

• Don’t make them cry. Ever. Despite my name, I am quite a pussy when it comes to hearing my children cry, especially when I know they can be soothed simply by my presence. The minute they let out the slightest whimper, I’d be in their room rescuing them. (From a restful sleep.)

• Don’t set any type of routine. I always thought it was annoying when people couldn’t leave the house because their kid needed to nap at a particular time and vowed that my children would be flexible. And, they are, right up until 11PM.

• Fall asleep with your kids. Evan sleeps in his own room, but only if I’m with him, in his twin bed, crammed up against the wall.

• Become an accidental co-sleeper. Most nights, at least two out of three of my children end up in my bed. It happened out of laziness (it’s so much easier to just let them in bed than walk all the way down the hall,) but is now a pattern that we just can’t escape.

• Get them used to sleeping in the car. So they only, you know, want to sleep in the car.

• Have no plan. I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of parent, but sleep is the rare exception where I think a plan is valuable. There are a gazillion books on different sleep methods for a reason– they work. It may have been wise to have read one.

So, there you go. Heed my warnings and I see many restful nights ahead for you and your children.

Unlike us.

About the writer


In addition to being the founder of all things Scary Mommy, Jill is also the New York Times bestselling author of Simon and Schuster’s Confessions of A Scary Mommy and Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)

From Around the Web


samantha 8 months ago

I just died laughing…. It’s all too true! Our son is just a few days shy of 18 months and we have had a total of four ‘sleep through the nights’…FOUR!! He’s our first and I always was against crying it out but tonight my husband and I agreed something had to change. As I was laying here listening to him cry in his room I just kept reading and reading and reading all over the internet for ANYTHING to give me hope that someday he will sleep soundly and then I came across your post; we have done everything wrong as well. Thanks for the laugh!

Sara 1 year ago

Probably really late to post, but I saw this and it spoke to me! I did everything you did. My son is 14 months old (almost 15 months old) and still sleeps in a pack and play in our room. And when he wakes at night I pick him up and put him in our bed until he falls asleep again. We have tried his crib and he screams until he can’t breathe. I feel like I’m abandoning him so I give up. He is so happy in the pack and play in our room. But he does have to be rocked to sleep or held. I’d love it if he fell asleep on his own and in his crib… we’d like our room back eventually!

Danielle 3 years ago

Oh I do not miss the co-sleeping days. Sleep training was so hard but the results for both us and our daughter are so worth it.

Trendy Tummy Maternity 3 years ago

ha ha great article… the last time I had a good, restful sleep was the day before my daughter was born. Funny how it ALL changes.. I will heed your advice.

kath 3 years ago

my cousin practiced the drums during her pregnancy. She always had loud music on and when my aunt watched her new grand child, she could never get the child to sleep, or to settle down. My aunt had men come to repair the roof and when they heard the crying baby they promised to keep the noise down. She told them it really wouldn’t matter and within five miniutes of them starting the job, her grand child was sound asleep.

My nephew was convinved that an elephant lived under his bed and wouldn’t sleep unless his dad was *right there* his dad told his son that elephants had a better sense of smell than sight and by leaving his bathrobe next to the bed the elephants would be scared away…

My niece decided that bed time wasn’t going to happen and was constantly in and out of bed… untill I told her the story of the monster under the bed… the next day when her dad checked up on her she was laying in the middle of the bed with her arms holding the covers pretty tight to her body. (she was fast asleep with no fuss) I told both my niece and nephew that elephants, and monsters can’t hurt you if you give them a silly name. They are so mortified that they just run away.

The moral of the sleep story is. Sleep when the baby sleeps, and very few teen agers ever want to be seen with their parents, so you only have a few more years to go before you have your room to yourself.

Ruby @ Focus, Woman 3 years ago

Oh yes!! The sleep-deprivation accumulated over the first 10 months made it impossible for me to realize: she WANTS het own bed. Duuuuh. Brain-fail. So glad we got some help then, after 3 nights our awful sleeper suddenly slept & napped and was CHEERFUL.

Shani 4 years ago

I’m a fan of routine. My daughter sleeps 11 or 12 hours per night now (she’s 14 months old) plus takes 2 naps. Sleep is so important for kids’ brain development and for parents’ sanity!! She didn’t sleep through the night until 8 months. But routine really helped us!

Thrifty With triplets 4 years ago

I think most Mom of high order multiples would agree that if you don’t sleep train your babies, you might just lose your sanity! We are not perfect, but serious sleep training made a huge difference for us. I did this when they were about 6 months old. and I think it took all of 2 night of a little crying to teach them the crib is for sleeping. If you are sick, Mommy gets you out of bed, other than that, you sleep in your bed. Worked for us and still does. My triplets are 2.5 and still in their cribs….. so scared to see what will happen when they go to big kid beds. Would it be weird to keep them in there cribs until they are 10 ?:)

Lauren @BooPatch 4 years ago

OMG I love it!!! Thing 1 and Thing 2…friggin awesome!!!
Sorry. I know it had nothing to do with sleep but I just had to say that :-)

Old School/New School Mom 4 years ago

This is so awesome. It makes me feel so much better about the fact that Ari refuses to sleep until 11pm. I can completely relate to being jammed up again the wall of a twin bed. Why won’t these kids sleep?!

Sara 4 years ago

I’m with Deep Fried Mama on this one. Yes, it felt like sleep deprived hell at the time. In the end? I am happy that I was there for my little bean. Go back and do it all again? HELL NO! But it was SO worth it!

Deep Fried Mama 4 years ago

Oy…I have done all that you have done, for the same reasons and with the same results:). But would I change anything? With huge bags under my eyes as I type, I still say no. Now that my baby days are over, I don’t regret a minute I held them while they slept or when they cried. Not that I want to go back…no…not ever. But it sure was sweet while it lasted.

MamaBug 4 years ago

We were blessed with a child who will sleep anywhere, at any time, underneath a foghorn. That being said, if we ever get a fussy sleeper… we are so screwed because I pretty much have no idea how to deal with that.

International Laundress 4 years ago

I thought I should join in the fun ! I love this website! I’m an older mom with teenagers… now half dead from my ‘parenting’ experience – now also working full time- it sucks oh, well
The International Laundress :)

NoDramaMama 4 years ago

The best advice I ever got was to put the baby down to sleep while she was still awake, but sleepy. I did this from the time she was a newborn (without CIO), and I think that is why bedtime is so darn easy. Mealtime, on the other hand…

Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness 4 years ago

It’ll all work itself out in the end. Neither one of the Things ever crosses my threshold at night (and for the longest time, Thing One was a stealthy sneaky co-sleeper).

They don’t cry anymore. Thing Two wakes at the ridiculously early hour of 6:30 a.m. and even stays in his room until he hears me get up.

Thing One? Can barely pry him out of his bed most days.

Our children will grow up to be flexible adults who can go with the flow most of the time. (I hope….)

Mya Maternity 4 years ago

The book sounds great… Most parents make those mistakes and then they learn after they have already created a problem. It is interesting how things happen like that.

bozwa 4 years ago

I 100% agree with you. I think a parent can try try try all they want, but it’s who your child is that will ultimately decide whether or not they are good sleepers!! All a parent should have to do is encourage what’s already there. I never “sleep trained” with mine, just went with how she is. Lucky for me, she takes after her mama (my mom always tells me how I slept for the first 3 years of my life) and loves her bed. She sleeps straight through between 10-12 hours…sometimes even 14 (of course she’s awake playing in her bed for some of that)!

bozwa 4 years ago

How’s it bad and why? Until I get definitive research handed to me with specific and reputable sources (lol!!!) and PROOF, my kid is gonna be in front of Sesame Street. And she’s 10 months. I get a good 45 minutes to do what I need to do when I plop her in front of that show! (Specific episodes, of course.)

Yuliya 4 years ago

I would suggest something about slipping your kids some Benadryl so they sleep better….but we all know how well that worked out for you 😉

Maegan 4 years ago

Eh. I did some of those…I have one fabulous sleeper, one not-so-fabulous sleeper. My first was MY FIRST! So I always wanted her near me. As much as possible. I tried to co-sleep (it didn’t work, she liked to be sideways)…and b/c I had a hard time nursing in the side laying position I would often sit in a recliner in the middle of the night…with my baby on my chest. My first slept ‘thru the night’ (6-7 hours without waking) at 6 weeks. My second turned 4 about two weeks ago and I can still hear her moving around & being restless in the middle of the night. She frequently comes to the side of my bed to let me know she wants to lay with me (and she did not co-sleep with me at all like my first). My first comes to the side of the bed, usually about 3 seconds before she has to throw up. Even now my 8 year old will go to sleep, zonk out…and 8-10 hours later wake up. My 4 yr old will go to sleep…2 hours later she will find me downstairs and say, “I want you…” and look sad & pitiful. If I hold her…She will fall asleep in about 30 seconds flat. She presses her face to my chest and she’s out. I will lay her back down. Three hours later she’s at my bedside. “Can I lay with you?” No…Not enough room. Go back to your bed. She doesn’t…She will snuggle up next to her unconscious sister. Any warm body will do at that point. I find them a lot with the big one on the floor & the little one in her bed!

Nancy Nelson 4 years ago

Hey Jill,
This post is great. I made so many of these mistakes too!!
I can’t wait for your book!!

Maggie 4 years ago

Hey wait, are you somehow me? I could check off all of those as things I have done and my daughter is a horrific sleeper. Trying to do better with my newborn little boy. well see how that goes.

Lola35 4 years ago

I have to confess I am so bad! Bad mommy! I let my toddler watch TV while I am getting ready for work. I put him in a playpen next to tv and turn on some cartoons or, sometimes, one of my shows. That keeps him quiet for 30 minutes or so. I hear spending time in front of TV is pretty bad for toddlers, but how else am I supposed to shower?

Mary 4 years ago

I had always learned to expose baby to lots of noise while they were sleeping, so I would set the bouncy seat next to the tv while she was napping. I think she had gotten too used to the tv when she started perking up to the Law and Order opening at five months!

Regina 4 years ago

I can so relate. My kids are 16 months apart and I didn’t get a full nights sleep until my youngest was 3. So that’s what, 5 years without a full nights sleep!

We let the kids get into bed with us when they were ‘scared’. We did it more with the first one, and yeah, learned from that mistake, b/c feet in your back isn’t a great way to sleep. But then we somehow gut sucked into sleeping in my sons twin bed with him, teetering on the edge, trying to be quiet so he could sleep.

Oh and we got Tvs in each of the kids rooms. Now they can’t sleep without their tvs on. and my daughter insists on having a night light too.

And we bought a whit noise machine, so now they need that to sleep and it’s horrible it we leave that at home on trips. We have forever enabled them I think. still working on undoing what we did, but at least the sleep through the night, I’m happy about that.

Kate Coveny Hood 4 years ago

If it makes you feel any better – I read those books and did EVERYTHING I was supposed to do with baby #1. He never slept through a night in that first year. And for at least the first 6 months, he would wake up 3 or 4 times. The twins sucked too. We went through a very brief period of everyone sleeping through the night when they were toddlers (it was blissful) – but that ended. Now? I think I get up at least twice a night and 50% of the time, I wake up with children in my bed.

I tried – I really did – but some things may just be hard wired into their little personalities.

Sue 4 years ago

Seems like we all just have to learn what works w/ our own kids. No matter how many books or friends n family advise you, you have to figure out for yourself what’s going to make you feel like a good parent and what advice is actually going to help you acheive your goals for your kids/family.
Lots of people told me to just let my baby cry. Then there was the No Cry Sleep Solution Book. I don’t think I even cracked it because I was too tired to see straight for a long while.
Now I sleep w/ my son and we got a Queen Size bed for his room, because I’ve started snoring lately and it tends to be more bothersome to his Daddy than it is to him.
As soon as my back is better and I’ve gotten my wt. back down, I’ll go back to sleeping in the Master bedroom. Luckily my son is 8, and accepts it when I tell him how the evening is going to go and stays put when I lay the groundwork and tell him that it’s a night when he’s going to have to stay put after I say “niters”.
He actually climbed out of his crib once when he was tiny, and I was trying to be a good Mom according to all the advice that had been doled out by family and friends. I was letting him cry it out. Meanwhile he was hanging on to the outside of the crib for dear life, by his finger and tips of his tiny toes. He hung there for almost an hr.

Stephanie 4 years ago

My little boy was (and still is, occasionally) a bad sleeper. He just didn’t want to sleep and not only not sleep, but not sleep alone. I was insanely jealous of other moms who talked about getting 7-10 hours of sleep every night. I was a zombie by the time he was 9mo. old. I tried everything, but it’s just in his nature, I guess. We finally ended up cosleeping because it was the only way I could guarantee a four hour stretch. He absolutely hated his crib, as well.

Then, at two he magically was okay with sleeping in a big boy bed, by himself. It was bliss. Then we moved and my husband went back out on the road (truck driver) and little boy is wanting to always sleep with mommy. **Sigh**


humanmama 4 years ago

Oh, so wonderful. I may have some valuable things I could add, in terms of making sure to never give your kids a bottle until they are hopelessly addicted to the breast, and then they’ll make a sound like you’re killing them when you try to leave them for 30 minutes, since their only mean of sustenance is going away. Ahh.

Mary 4 years ago

I do have to say that once Daughter #1 moved to the crib, we would put about 9 pacifiers with her in the crib so she could just reach out and stick one in her mouth if she lost hers. Then we kept a flashlight under her crib for the times when every single pacifier ended up on the floor and we had to find them.

Mary 4 years ago

Daughter #1 was addicted to the pacifier from the hospital. Pediatrician begged us to give it to her since tried desperately to get to her hands from birth. After a few nights in the crib with hubby sleeping on the floor to keep reinserting the pacifier, we moved her to the bouncy seat next to our bed. Much, much easier. She was on formula which guaranteed she would wake up every 4 hours to eat. Never turned on the light to change her diaper in the middle of the night so she wouldn’t fully wake up. She was sleeping 8 hours by 10 weeks and moved to the crib at 4 months (we put a pillow under the mattress for a few weeks to incline it like the bouncy seat)
Daughter #2 spent the first night at home and the next 4 months in the bouncy seat. She had a higher metabolism and ate every 3 hours so she didn’t sleep 8 hours until 5 months.
My sleeping mistake was with daughter #1. She would fall asleep during the day for her naps during her feedings and I hated to put her down. I wanted to hold my sleeping baby! If I had a lot to get done, I might every few weeks put her on the floor on a blanket and the boppy after she was sound asleep. But mainly for the first year, her naps were in her car seat in the car or in my arms. I got nothing done! Daughter #2 napped in the bouncy seat, car seat or crib. I only gave in to holding her (knowing she was my last baby) during naps about once a week. Maybe twice. :)

tracy 4 years ago

OMG so funny. I take my sleep quite seriously so was the model parent for the cry it out method. My almost 9 year old still goes to bed by 7:30 because I tell her to. LOL

Stefanie 4 years ago

Best book ever – BabyWise.

Sonya – Belly Charms 4 years ago

I am still a co-sleeper with my 4 year old – in a twin bed. This child was 2 1/2 before he EVER slept through the night — so I totally suck!! I can write a few chapters for your book. Loved this post!!!

Carri 4 years ago

I’m the Nap Gestapo. Not even joking. The hardest thing for me was letting him cry it out but now I’m glad I did. He’s a great sleeper and honestly? Mommy is cranky when she doesn’t get her 8 to 9 hours. Thankfully, my son goes down at 8 and will sleep until at least 7.

Johanna 4 years ago

I guess I’m a total sleep nazi, but I’m really, really attached to my 9 hours a night. I know, it’s pathetic, but the upside is everyone is always well-rested. That’s what happens when sleep nazi is your mommy (and you should know that as I write this I’m inwardly seething because it’s 8:04 and my husband is still in with my son! What is he doing in there. Doesn’t he understand his bedtime is 8:00?!?)

Hatton 4 years ago

This made me laugh a lot! It’s the biggest game as a parent…if I feed him sweet potatos, will he sleep through the night? Bottle of milk? Temperature at 73 instead of 72? what will it TAKE?!

Headacheslayer 4 years ago

Oh, for all the sleep-deprived moms, (and those who remember it painfully) You MUST MUST MUST get “Go the *uck to Sleep”, preferably with the audio CD of Samuel L. Jackson. It will make you laugh your ass off and help you keep some sort of sanity. Because yes, I as a slacker bad mom have said to my kids “GTFTS!” lol

Headacheslayer 4 years ago

*nodding head* I hear you Kara. That was EXACTLY my son. We had to follow his cues, and by 12 mos he was READY to be in his own room. Took us a few sleepless nights to figure it out that him waking up every 30 mins was his way of saying “I need to get a room!” lol

I should have mentioned in my original comment that he did have health issues–severe eczema–that kept him pretty miserable for 4 yrs.

Headacheslayer 4 years ago

My 16yo asked to sleep with me after a hellish week that came after she broke up with her boyfriend of 2 1/2 yrs. It was sweet and broke my heart all at once. And it was just what she needed–the next day she was better than ever.

Headacheslayer 4 years ago

Awwww *hugs*

I had a child who would ONLY sleep IF you held him. (birth to 6 mos)
I had a child who would ONLY sleep in our room (6-12 mos)
And then this child would. not. sleep. for the next 3 years.

“Sleep” “teething” and “potty training” are curse words in this house.

Babe you did nothing wrong. You can TRY to do everything right and it’s because we don’t have the damn handbook that we fustercluck it all.

The way I see it–as grownups we usually don’t like to sleep alone, but we want to force kids to.

IF mom & dad are happy, then do whatever is best for your family. If not, it’s never too late to change.

I did find the “no cry sleep solution” and Dr. Sears’ “high needs/fussy baby book” as salvations to my sanity.

Natalie 4 years ago

No one goes to Harvard sucking their thumb. That’s what I say to any critical comment prefaced with, “Isn’t s/he a little old to be…”

Unless they are those super weird British people who nurse until their kids are in high school. Those kids aren’t going to Harvard, though.

Aimee @ Ain’t Yo Mama’s Blog 4 years ago

This post could not be more relevant to me at this time. My soon to be 4 year old FINALLY sleeps through the night in his own room…just in time for my due-any-day now baby to be born.

We tried everything with our son and quickly realized that he was just one of those kids that slept better with us. It seemed like he hated his crib from the get-go! I went from being that new mom who said that I would *never* co-sleep to co-sleeping most nights of the week, during some point of the night, for the past 3+ years. The truth is, we all slept better when we slept in the same bed. And now I’m totally prepared to do it again with this next one. I say whatever works best for your family – whether it’s CIO (tried it once and couldn’t handle it) or sleeping in a family bed – do whatever you need to do for everyone in the family to get some sleep! There should be no shame in co-sleeping or letting the little ones crawl into our bed if they have a bad dream or just need to snuggle. We’ll all sleep again when they’re in college, missing the days of waking up to small feet in our faces.

The Flying Chalupa 4 years ago

I fell into so many of these same traps too with my firstborn. With my second on the way, I’m keeping this post close at hand! I’m just way too much a bitch when sleep-deprived to not wise up.

christi 4 years ago

OH yes, I did many of those with my first child! Now, my second falls asleep on her own, in her crib, with little problem. I learned my lesson! She does, however, need her binky to fall asleep, but at least it’s better this time around!

Figuring it out 4 years ago

Point taken–I sometimes project myself (a bad sleeper all my life!) onto my son and imagine lying there myself wanting comfort and getting none. Self-soothing … Hmm, I’m not terribly good at that at 31 years old!
But crying it out–not for us. We’ll see where that road takes us!

Suzy 4 years ago

This pretty much sums up my life. My friend has twins & they slept thru the night at 3 months by using some method of keeping them on a strict sleep/eat schedule. My daughter didn’t sleep thru the night til she was 5 YEARS old & my friend thought that was hilarious. I failed to find the humor in my sleep deprivation, but c’est la vie :)

Jack@TheJackB 4 years ago

I had a girlfriend who used to let me sleep on her chest, but no one really wants to hear those stories. But no one who has bad sleepers really wants to hear about good sleeper or so I have been told.

My kids sleep well, always have. When they were little I made a point of making normal noises around them so that they wouldn’t been complete silence to sleep.

Occasionally if they had a nightmare or were sick they were allowed to sleep in our bed but most of the time it didn’t happen because they hate my snoring.

We do have a routine at night that I think helps. They brush their teeth, climb into bed and then we talk or tell a story and after that it is time to sleep.

The one thing that I can’t seem to teach them is how to sleep until at least 7 on the weekend. Hate that.

San Diego Farmgirl 4 years ago

Yep. Same here, Scary Mommy! My boy is 6 months old and we never got him a crib. So, now that he’s starting to crawl, how will we ever keep him in bed long enough to nap? How long before he tumbles onto the floor? Will he still be sleeping with me when he’s 10? Hell if I know. I think families who live in their cars have more structure than we do.

Lola35 4 years ago

Really? I think my kids have been manipulating me since they were one day old. I find it kind of odd how fast they learn to get what they want. As for sleep training, it’s not that you just leave your child crying without checking on them – you do need to make sure they are not sick, hungry or need attention. And most of the time you know if something is wrong because they cry differently.
But hey, if you girls like to make it difficult on yourself – that’s your choice. As we know, there is no right way to be a mother – just what’s right for you. I just wanted to point out that I’d been in your shoes and I am so so happy I reconsidered this sleep training idea – it completely changed the way I approached motherhood. Sometimes what feels right hurts you on the long term, so just think about it.

Jackie M. 4 years ago

Here’s a little hope…they are 10 months now and it’s starting to work. lol

Jackie M. 4 years ago

also, I don’t get the whole make a lot of noise when they sleep? Do you like it when there’s a vacuum going off by your head when you are trying to sleep? It’s not like I am saying, SHHHH!! DON’T BREATHE!! But I don’t need other people to be performing a STOMP routine while my kids are trying to sleep. Putting a little soothing music/sounds helps. That’s about the most “noise” they need.

Jackie M. 4 years ago

My twins are 10 months old and JUST started to sleep for a good few hours straight. A GOOD night is from 10-6am and that’s because we are up at 5 getting ready for work. most nights they wake up at least once for a bottle. Sometimes my husband and I pull them into bed with us. That was always a no-no…or so I was told. Meh, it worked for us and my kids stay asleep so I can get a few hours shuteye myself. They slept on our chests as newborns and I then we did the big (not so smart?) transistion to holding them on our sides. Hey, it was the only way. We don’t let them cry it out because I am like you…a big sissy and think that something really is wrong. So many people kept telling me what to do but like you say, do what works for you.

Sue 4 years ago

My son likes to stay up late, too, but I’m an early sleeper/waker, so if he wants to stay up late the rule is that he does it in his own room watching a movie on the old TV that only plays DVDs n VCRs.
During the week, TV is off by 7:30 or 8p and he has to be in/on his bed doing something Quiet until he falls asleep. I let him know way ahead of time that popping out to talk to us or asking to hang out w/ us downstairs is a no-no and that a privilege will be taken away if he interrupts grown-up time after I’ve said niters.
He still sometimes comes out to get a last snack/drink of water, but leaves us alone and goes right back to his room.

There’s just no reason that they should need you after bed- “time” and it’s called bed- “time” for a reason.

Figuring it out 4 years ago

If your kid is under at least 12 months, there’s no way he can “manipulate” you. He wants comfort from his parents. There’s plenty of time for me to teach my son to “self soothe” when he can understand that’s what he’s doing–as opposed to the instinctual thinking, “Well, I guess no one cares to come see why I’m crying.” What if he has a bellyache or an earache or is cold? What if he is just plain scared? I completely agreed with the guest post against “crying it out.”

I fully believe in the “nature” aspect. My son (6.5 mos) has been a champion sleeper since he was 2 weeks old. Largely that’s because his father was a champion swaddler. It was a challenge to break the swaddle habit around 4 months so my son could sleep with his arms and legs out, but after about a week he got used to it, and so did we. Now he’s just fine with just his PJs.

And I did nothing to make him that way. He is what he is. He’s in day care and sometimes he takes long naps, sometimes he takes very short naps. He sleeps when he’s tired. Almost always he falls asleep around 8 or 9, then wakes up after a short period and is awake until about 11. Even if he is fully awake at that time, he goes to sleep within three songs with me or Daddy swaying him. Again, not because I’ve “trained” him that way–he is. what he is. And I love him for it.

Figuring it out 4 years ago

If your kid is under at least 12 months, there’s no way he can “manipulate” you. He wants comfort from his parents. There’s plenty of time for me to teach my son to “self soothe” when he can understand that’s what he’s doing–as opposed to the instinctual thinking, “Well, I guess no one cares to come see why I’m crying.” What if he has a bellyache or an earache or is cold? What if he is just plain scared? I completely agreed with the guest post against “crying it out.”

I fully believe in the “nature” aspect. My son (6.5 mos) has been a champion sleeper since he was 2 weeks old. Largely that’s because his father was a champion swaddler. It was a challenge to break the swaddle habit around 4 months so my son could sleep with his arms and legs out, but after about a week he got used to it, and so did we. Now he’s just fine with just his PJs.

And I did nothing to make him that way. He is what he is. He’s in day care and sometimes he takes long naps, sometimes he takes very short naps. He sleeps when he’s tired. Almost always he falls asleep around 8 or 9, then wakes up after a short period and is awake until about 11. Even if he is fully awake at that time, he goes to sleep within three songs with me or Daddy swaying him. Again, not because I’ve “trained” him that way–he is. what he is. And I love him for it.

Heather 4 years ago

Oh, sweet Jesus– I’m with you. I suck. Can anyone post that they had a terrible sleeper (grown out of the parent’s own stupidity) and they grew out of it eventually? I could use some hope.

Wendy Sullens 4 years ago

My daughter is a bad sleeper, kinda. But I did it on purpose. I work third shift and my husband works second. We try to keep our 18 month old awake until two or three in the morning so that she will sleep hopefully til noon. That way I can come home from work and sleep for a couple of hours. Husband gets up with the baby at noon gets her dressed and fed, plays with her until he has to go to work. Then gets me up. It works for us, mostly. I say mostly because it is ten am and my daughter and I are up, but that is what caffeine is for.

Jessica Harris 4 years ago

Lucky for me my boys have both been great sleepers. I was full of bad habits until they hit about 4 months old, and then I cracked down. I was never one to let them “cry it out”… unless I thought the crying was strictly tiredness. I was an obnoxious “routine” person, though, and still am. I avoid leaving the house at all costs during nap time. I think a well rested kid is a happy kid. And I just can’t deal with tired, crabby kids.

Mrs Catch 4 years ago

My five year old daughter gets scared at night sometimes and wants to sleep near me. We compromise with a mattress on the floor. Her knees are sharp!

Nessa 4 years ago

The best piece of advice ever given to me was to make as much noise as HUMANLY POSSIBLE when the baby was sleeping! I used to vacuum right underneath the crib when my little one was sleeping, and now he could sleep through anything.

Marci Levitt 4 years ago

I made every one of the mistakes that you made including forcing my infant to sleep on my chest. This could have been written about me !!

mommy23girls 4 years ago

I guess this blog just goes to show that everyone does it diiferently and evry child/parent is different. Even though I tried to convince my sister that her two year old CAN sleep through the night without a sippy of milk at 4 am. She did not listen and now she is a sleep deprived mother of two. Two babies waking her up at night. I understand that she is doing it her way because that is what is easiest for her situation but I couldn’t do it. I need my sleep. I let my babies sleep on me for the first 6-8 weeks then in thier bassinet , then in thier cribs when sleeping about 5 hours a stretch. I still let my baby( my third who is two) come in bed with us every once and a while when she is sick then I pay for it for about two nights. She will wake up and want me to take her into my bed but I have to say no, rub her belly, sing, whatever for a few minutes then leave. All three are happy and doing well sleeping. I’m not ,however ,a person who would let thier baby cry forever without checking on them. I just think that we can sooth without sleeping with them. After all, being a mom is hard enough without being sleep deprived on top of it.

Jessica 4 years ago

I had this great, nurturing but firm sleep plan and my kids were dream sleepers for quite a while. Then we switched to beds, which meant they could get out and plead for more time awake and that is when it all fell apart and they found my inner wimp. Now everyone is in our bed at some time of the night and falling asleep within five minutes of a car ride. So much for sleep training.

Mama Track 4 years ago

I hear ya. I would add: “Never nap with your kids.” Unless you don’t want them to nap alone. Ever.

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes 4 years ago

Even if you teach them to sleep on your own you might wake up one day to find a toddler in your bed… (the eldest can be really quit when she wants to)

911Mommy 4 years ago

My husband and I are really bad about letting our two sons, ages 5.5 and 2.5 sleep in our bed. I work a midnight shift and we do not use day care during the day, so I take naps while Peanut watches cartoons. When it’s Peanut’s nap time he sleeps in bed with me. Then at night he thinks he gets to sleep in our bed with Daddy, which he does most night. My boys are now on a rotation for sleeping in our bed. When one is sleeping in our room the other one is sleeping in Pumpkin’s room. On the two nights that I am home, Peanut usually ends up in our bed at some point in the night. Pumpkin is our best sleeper, he can sleep anywhere. He will sleep in his room with no problem, but likes to sleep in our room as well. Pumpkin has been sleeping with us off and on since he was 4 weeks old. We are thinking of getting them bunk beds and maybe if they are in the same room they will stay in there all night. Wishful thinking!!!

JDaniel4’s Mom 4 years ago

We really tried to establish a good sleep routine. It is the choices we make when he wakes up in the middle of the night that will do us in.

Lola35 4 years ago

WTF Woman?? :)) Don’t you love sleeping with your husband?

Lola35 4 years ago

BTW, I didn’t sleep train my first son, he spent a lot of hours in our bed. I was exhausted, tired, drained, but I thought i was a better mother! I thought I was doing the right thing. With my younger son I tried cry it out. It worked amazingly well. He falls asleep without rocking every night, he wakes up and soothes himself back to sleep, all of us wake up rested and happy. Except for those days when my almost 5 year old still wakes me in the middle of night…

Lola35 4 years ago

I have to say I disagree with you and some moms said it better than I could. As a parent, you want to raise confident, self-sufficient individuals, give them skills to succeed in life and let them make their own choices. Sleep training is not the only situation in which you’ll have to put their interests before your own. It’s in their best interests to learn to soothe themselves and have good sleep habits. Later in life we have the same choice with discipline when it’s so hard to be tough with them, but you really need to be. And when they grow up, you have a problem of letting them go because they’ll be better off on their own then under your wings.
It sounds cold but I don’t think you are a better mother if you let your child manipulate you. You know you won’t lose your child’s trust, you just worry that you’ll think less of yourself as a mother. I know because I’d been there too. And it really hurts to hear your child cry, but it’s a lot more than comfort that we give them as parents.

Yasmin @ alittlelessfluff 4 years ago

I totally get where youre coming from with the sleep thing.
I have twins. My daughter is “Kind” enough to sleep in her own bed (also because she is a very independant young lady for a nearly 3 year old). My son STILL sleeps in our bed. *sigh*

Ludicrous Mama 4 years ago

Other than that first one, this was all me (I didn’t “force” her to sleep on me. She just wouldn’t sleep longer than 20 minutes unless she was in the crook of my arm. And I needed sleep more than I needed my arm to not go numb!)

Moomser 4 years ago

Sleep is over-rated. Well, not really, I love to sleep and haven’t had a full night sleep in four years. I made none of the “mistakes” you did and yet my almost four year old has only recently started sleeping consistently through the night and my two year old still wakes up at least twice for milk or a cuddle or just to bust my chops. I’m hopeful that in a year and a half she too will sleep through like her brother. (Hope springs eternal, right?) So in my opinion, in the nature vs nurture argument, nature wins hands down all the time, some kids are just good sleepers and some are pains in the patootie. (most kids fall in the second category)
All this to say, you did nothing wrong, it’s just another of the Universe’s ways of making you stronger (or driving you crazy, whichever).

Jessica 4 years ago

This is almost exactly me which explains why my 2 year old is sleeping next to me right now and I always have bags under my eyes.

Kisha 4 years ago

We’re the in the anti-CIO camp here to, and I really planned to co-sleep for a while. I thought my oldest would be in the same room with us for ever, but when we moved a year ago, just a week before his 4 birthday he told us he wanted to sleep in his own new room. And it is a rare dark stormy or feverish night that he crawls in with us. More importantly he’s relatively easy to put to bed now at 5: snack, teeth, 1 story, kiss — lights out. (at least with me, dad tender to climb I. The toddler bed. Love is a 6’2″ grown man scrunched under a toddler tent covered bed lol.)

We did all the things to make a bad sleeper, but it turned out ok, and I think out daugter is going to want to go down the hall soon too. Even if we didn’t make all the same mistakes, namely we had to enforce a house wide bedtime when she was young because he needed sleep for pre-school.

May I wish you many sleepfilled nights in you future.

TheTiredMom 4 years ago

That last line should have been Yeti, not yedi. What can I say? I don’t sleep…

Ann 4 years ago

Another fan of the ‘family bed’, although it worked well with children 8 years apart…one at a time, and all. Didn’t have to fully wake up to nurse, no cries in the night…we all slept great from Day 1.

Practical Parenting 4 years ago

You are so funny! My husband lovingly refers to me as the “nap nazi”…I have yet to find a reason big enough to have them sleep anywhere but their own beds at naptime! Except cross country flights, in which case I spend the whole flight being annoyed by the missed nap. I’ve always been scheduled and had them sleep in their rooms bc I know how hard it can be to break the habit. When my daughter gets sick it takes forever to get back to normal.

Zoey 4 years ago

I’ve only got one little one, so who knows what more babies would bring. But she’s a good sleeper…now. It wasn’t an easy thing for us. I’m like you in that I hated to be one of those stay home for naps and be tied to a silly schedule moms. She was so colicky and refluxy that she literally screamed 90% of her first 5 months, so I was desperate for a break, in the form of her sleeping (at around 8 months). I decided on a kind of a middle-of-the-road sleep method (called the Lull-A-Baby Sleep Plan) that finally worked once I figured out my daughter just needed me to pound the side of the crib and say “time to go to sleep” in a crazy music teacher voice about 500 times. After about a week we were down to just saying “time to go to sleep”. I’d say it was worth it. I think. :)

momma doesn’t sleep 4 years ago

Yup I co-slept. yup, monkey 1 was transitioned into a toddler bed with me sitting beside him until he fell asleep to start the night. When he came to our bed in the middle of the night I welcomed him (meant i didn’t have to get up). It is 9:37. he’s in his room, he is not asleep, he’ 4 and will not go to sleep before 8 pm. Gets up at 9 am. doesn’t nap. I don’t care anymore. Now with the baby, he’s realized there is no room in our bed and sets up camp at the foot of the bed.
Baby sleeps in the swing 70% of the time and with me the rest of the time. Don’t care. I know when they 18, they won’t be in my bed.

Loukia 4 years ago

I sitll sleep with my three year old in my bed. He’ll be four, soon. In a few months. We bought him a nice queen sized bed for his room and he’s never slept in it. My husband sleeps in our three year olds room. We haven’t slept in the same bed together in years. I think I win at “WTF WOMAN? GET IT TOGETHER!” when it comes to bad sleep habits with children. BUT! I love sleeping with my baby, so you see? It’s so hard!

Brittany {Mommy Words} 4 years ago

Oh sleep – I was able to nurse which meant with my hyperlactation those babies ate all night long. I just popped up and gave em the boob and now it is like they want that same sort of attention all the time. Yes, they end up in our beds, yes they wake up in the middle of the night all the time. No, they do not take naps. Ugh. I still adore the,m and actually love the flexibility during the day that no schedule gives us. But the nights…well, I need a new plan.

Best of luck to us both!

Romy Wightman 4 years ago

I loved this post – do any of us really do it right? I think not. With my first, I followed all the rules – it was exhausting and I was pretty sure I couldn’t go through that again. My second was colicky and he cried all damn day and would pass out at night from exhaustion – problem averted (if it counts that we listened to a crying baby all day long but got a good nights sleep). When the third rolled out, I was so used to sleeping through the night, that I would have done anything to get a good nights sleep. My plan – when she was old enough to grab a binky, I would put no less than a dozen binkys all around her crib so it was almost impossible for her not to find one. (biggest issue – when she was 2 she walked out of her room with a binky on each finger. Ten! I knew we had little addiction problem, but that is another story) Need a bottle in the middle of the night? No problem. I would do my version of the drive by and practically throw one in from the hallway. Loss of sleep -30 seconds. I think back on that and laugh, but I needed to survive with an infant, a two year old and a three year old. I am proud to say that they are now 11, 13 and 14 and all of them sleep and no one suffered ill effects! Good Luck.

TheTiredMom 4 years ago

At our house, we think of “Good Sleepers” as mythical creatures much like leprechauns, mermaids or the Loch Ness monster. Other people swear that they exist, but my husband and I have never seen one. We haven’t slept in six and a half years (hence the Tired Mom thing). I have a vague memory of what it was like to wake up well-rested, but it’s been so long I’m not sure if it was true – not to mention that the lack of sleep means all my memories are vague, including what underwear I have on right now, what I ate for supper an hour ago or why I am writing this.

We made many of the errors you listed, as well as a few of our own. Our first was 3 years and 3 months old when he finally slept through the night. A month later, our twins (who are now 3) were born. If you came over to our house right now, you would see a chart on their bedroom door, in which my husband and I are bribing them to sleep through the night with the promise of cozy jammies and Rapunzel dolls. I would buy them each a 20 foot yacht if they would just leave us alone until morning. (Well, okay, I can’t afford multiple yachts, but I would buy them a book about Yachts and write them an I.O.U or something.)

For those of you who have good sleepers, you give me hope. I have always wanted to see a yedi. Maybe it could happen.

colormeroo 4 years ago

Awesome. I did it exactly the same as you!

Galit Breen 4 years ago

Hee! Oh friend, I have so been there (repeatedly), done that (still).

One day they will sleep, right?



Erin 4 years ago

With my 12 year old there was no rules or schedules..J slept when and where he wanted and of course was with me…the crib was used for storing toys… was like that till he was 5 and the hubby and I bought him a big boy bed…10 years later came # 2 ( prob bc #1 was always in our bed)…and I started the bathtime/ bottle/ rocking routine which worked…for a few hours…by 15 months she was sleeping through he night…just in time for # 3…who follows the same routine and at 10 months still wakes up for a bottle at least twice a night…hoping he will follow on his sister’s steps for # 4 is coming in 5 months….oh well….I will sleep when I’m dead

angela 4 years ago

Oh good Lord, I will be your co-author. I will add, “Half-ass any sleep plan you may actually consider trying. This way, your children will not only fail to learn to sleep, they will also be confused about what will or will not elicit a response. Thankfully, they are born with amazingly strong lungs and soon figure out that high pitched screaming always works. Always.”

JD 4 years ago

Ooooh, I’ve got one, I’ve got one!

Expect that everything you did for your first kid (who is an amazing sleeper) will work exactly the same for your second.

‘Cause we’re all THAT lucky, right?

Nancy@ifevolution 4 years ago

My son never ever NEVER napped. Even as he got older, a sure sign he was sick was if he DID nap. I was destined for no peace…EVER!! He wouldn’t sleep if he laid on top of me, with me, in a dark room, in a noisy room, in a moving car…what didn’t I try?

He should only have a child that doesn’t nap either. lol

Mel 4 years ago

I actually tried variations of having The Nugget in the room in a bassinet or in the bed with us, but I could never sleep when she was in there as I woke up to every single little baby grunt. She got kicked to the curb (AKA her own bed) at about age 2 weeks. She’s been there ever since and has always been a pretty good sleeper. THANK GOODNESS!

Madge 4 years ago

You really have to start early to make good sleep habits. We had a lot of luck with the Pick Up Put Down method as a way to teach DS to fall asleep on his own when he was 4 months. Also, knowing the maximum wake time for your child’s age makes a world of difference too in minimizing over tiredness. DS has been on a sleep schedule since he was 4 months, and I wouldn’t change it for the world! I may have less flexibility, but it’s worth it to have him and me well rested. He is in bed by 8 PM every night and sleeps till 7 AM the next morning. If any parents are having problems with getting their baby to sleep well, this has some valuable information:

Milena 4 years ago

I have two children and sadly I only taught one to sleep. Surprisingly it was not my second born. I had my first born sleeping through the night (at least.6 hours) by the time he was 3 months old. Worked out perfectly since it coincided with my return to work. With baby #2, I was in the process of moving overseas and knowing i was staying home with her for three years and that baby #3 was unlikely, i went against my better judgment of “starting as you mean to go along.” We let her co-sleep with us in one of those boxy thing meant for infants sleeping in parents beds. This went on for 6 months. We moved overseas when she was 7 months old. That last month before leaving was spent in hotels and relatives homes where family bed was the sleeping arrangement. It took me a week of sleeping on a day bed
next to her crib for her to start falling asleep on her own. When I started leaving her she would cry hysterically. And when she got her big girl bed at about 2 years old, she started getting up multiple times. At first we would take her back to bed, but eventually she wore us down and we gave up. Our solution to this madness – we enrolled her in soccer, dance and martial arts. These days she is so exhausted that she passes out and leaves us the f*** alone!

Shell 4 years ago

My oldest was an awful sleeper- mostly my doing, too.

It’s really a miracle that we had any other kids after him. B/c really, I love my sleep.

Dana K 4 years ago


Crap. I fail at life AND parenting.

Jennifer 4 years ago

Yes, but I won’t lie, it was hard. Some nights it is still hard, but it is SOOOO much better. I can actually get six hours of unbroken sleep some nights.

After we got her to sleep in her room she would still come into our room two to three times a night and I would have to get up and take her back to bed, which wasn’t making it easier on me. Finally a counselor she was seeing suggested that I “reward” (pay) her to stay in her room. Every night she stayed in her room without coming to get me at all I paid her $2. If she came into my room it cost her $1. It took about two weeks for her to stop coming in. Oh, and the other thing, when she would come into my room I would have to tell her, “Go back to bed!” He said I could not get up and take her and I could not let her sleep with me at all. I had to make her do it on her own. So like I said before, it was really, really hard because that is not my natural inclination at all, but it has totally been paying off.

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

YES. That’s so so true.

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

Are you leaving in a huff and never coming back? 😉

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

THAT sounds amazing to me. Seriously. Cuddle them during the day!

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

Yes, that.

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

Is it working, though? Are they actually… sleeping?

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

My fingers are crossed for you. :)

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

I can’t even imagine. You are my hero.

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

Exactly. Summer was awesome here. The school year? Not so much.

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

You’d think I would have learned with Lily, too, and I did. For a while Ben was a great sleeper, but then we had to have another baby and it all shot to hell.

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

I agree with you– I fucked up. You’re way is far smarter than mine. Clearly.

MangoChutney 4 years ago

Funny! I have never le my kids sleep with me, because I am seffish! I like to have my own space, I shared my space when I was pregnant and that’s it! lol! I know parents that have made this mistake and are still paying for it 3-4 yrs later 😉

Scary Mommy 4 years ago

That’s true. :) And, Lily is almost 8 and finally out of the horrible pattern she was in. But, it was a looong 8 years, sleep wise.

Alison@Mama Wants This 4 years ago

I’ve committed some of those sleep crimes – sleeping on top of me (he’s nearly 2 and he still finds comfort in climbing onto me and laying his head on my chest), co-sleeping since birth (until 18 months) and having to stay with him til he falls asleep. I’m convinced that because I was on hand for comfort and boob, he’d wake up every 2 hours. For 18 months. I was a zombie.

However, at 18 months, my husband put his foot down and we moved him to his own bed & room. He was the one who put him to bed, stayed with him til he was drowsy and then left. And guess what? It only took a week and he’s been sleeping through the night since. He’s also a very good napper. We are routine nazis. We are also people with no life since this kid goes to bed at 8pm.

Jenny 4 years ago

Tehe! I’m not the best at this either… our 19 month old still wakes up during the night and wants to snuggle. Oh well! This time is short, right? Thanks for the giggle. :)

Odd Dad 4 years ago

We definitely have a routine at bedtime. First pjs, then brush teeth, then read books, then “tell me something.” This last part involves telling the children a scientific fact of some sort, like: the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second, or: the sun is a miasma of incandescent plasma (thank you They Might Be Giants).

But now I’ve run out of facts off the top of my head and have resorted to reading them from a Cool Facts iPhone app! Some of the facts they list are not family friendly, like how much a condom can stretch before it breaks, etc.

And this is the second app I’ve used because I discovered that the first one had a “fact” that was incorrect. You actually CAN sneeze with your eyes open; they did it on Mythbusters!

Mrs. D-Zo 4 years ago

You forgot my favorite: Do it all yourself.

Be the one to soothe your child to sleep. Every time. So you are saddled with that responsibility ALWAYS. My little one refuses to fall asleep for her dad because I never let him put her to bed.

Wendy 4 years ago

As my husband and I both work outside the home full time, making sure everyone gets their sleep was the #1 priority. And that meant co-sleeping with both of our girls. My oldest is 6 and is now in her own room, sleeping on her own. And she sleeps like a ROCK (outside of the sleep talking). It took a couple of false starts and I suppose if I had been willing to go through some sleepless nights we could have gotten there sooner. But you know what, I LIKE cuddling with my daughters. I LIKE that they want to cuddle and snuggle with me (and Dad). I realize it’s not for everyone, but it worked for us.

Oh, and “good” babies are NOT just those that sleep through the night early. Oh, how I HATE that. Like my children are delibrately sabatoging my sleep:)

sweet_archangel 4 years ago

Had to co sleep with Missy – even from day one.It was the only way either of us got any sleep. Did my best to stick to a fairly decent routine. Co slept until a few years ago. Only comes in when sick or scared.

The Beast was great. No sleeping needed – when he was younger. Older on the other hand. We got broken into a while back and I had them both in with me for a bout 6 months or so. Plus it was winter and warmer for us to co sleep ^_^

Now he too, is in his own bed *hurrah*

Jillian 4 years ago

LMAO! “anti-cuddling heifers” sounds sooooooo much like what I said about my 6yr old boy the other day. I miss cuddling :(

Jillian 4 years ago

I TOTALLY agree with you. My son was a pretty good sleeper except for waking up a couple times a night until he was one. We didn’t hit snags ville with bedtime until he turned 4 and we had to sleep on bunk beds in the same room. He fought and fought and fought and fought me for months. Most of the time he wouldn’t fall asleep until mdinight leaving a very cranky kid going to school. I kept at it though, and when we moved into our new home, it was no longer an issue. We also established a bedtime routine that starts two hours before bedtime because he needs that much time to completely unwind. The routine is what helped the most, and it’s not a hard one. We watch a movie, or do an arts and crafts project during dinner (he takes forever to eat if I don’t and that is one battle I’m not picking today) then it’s bathtime, then we cuddle up on the couch for 15 minutes and he gets to tell me everything about his day. Then it’s bathtime, and it’s book time. Then it’s lights out. Two days out of the week this schedule is interupted because I have night classes so he is at the sitters, but because of our routine the rest of the week he doesn’t give the sitter any trouble about bed time. His bedtime has also always been 8. I personally think allowing a toddler to stay up until 10 or 11 on purpose is crazy, because once they start school you will NOT want them up that late, and you will have a very difficult time switching them to an earlier sleeping time.

Of course I also have a child who stopped taking naps at 3 1/2 because he woke up from the nap in a much worse mood then he went to sleep in. It’s a pain for his school, but after this year I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Dana K 4 years ago


Oh, wait. I disagree with you so now I must be angry and personally insulted. ;-P

kari 4 years ago

jill–this was such an interesting read for me! i am at the opposite end of the spectrum–one of the structured crazies who (i’m sure) my friends&family get annoyed with/don’t understand…now i wish i got some of that cuddle&sleep time–instead they are both like “put me the F in my bed and get out so i can sleep!!” they sleep AMAZING in the car or their beds but never ever with us. good debate…

Lisa 4 years ago

Totally did and am still doing this and my son will be 7 in January. At about 4 in the morning, he gets in my bed to sleep the remaining two hours of the night. If I wake up (about 1/2 the time I sleep right through), I know I should walk him back to his bed, but its 4 in the morning people! I’m asleep! I know, no excuse and I keep telling myself that one day he’ll be all “ewwww, I can’t sleep with my MOM!!!” and just stop. Or he won’t and the therapy bills will be the least of my problems.

C @ Kid Things 4 years ago

Safe to say I’ve been doing it wrong, too. None of my 3 kids slept through the night before age 2. My 3 year old just started sleeping through the night, actually. I’m getting so much sleep now that I honestly don’t know what to do with myself. I’m not used to it. The last time I’ve been able to sleep through the night was before my oldest was born, almost 8 years ago. The only true advice I can give anyone is to just wait it out. If you’re not a zombie by then.

WebSavvyMom 4 years ago

–>It’s just a coincidence that my most recent post is called Enter Sandman!

WebSavvyMom 4 years ago

–>I’m the sleep nazi in my house and my child is on a rather strict schedule for naps, bedtime and the OMG it’s early wake-up times.
However, I have made many mistakes over dinner rituals that has created among other things, the SLOWEST EATER ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH.

Alison 4 years ago

Yup, this sounds like my kids. Sleeping whenever they feel like it? Check. Bedtime is any time between 11pm and 3am. Thank goodness I stay at home because I do not get up before 9am and it’s a struggle to get everyone ready to leave the house for my oldest son’s preschool drop off by 12:30. Co-sleeping? Check. The baby is a year old and has slept in my bed since he was born. My oldest (3 1/2) has been sleeping in my bed recently too. Oh, and my daughter won’t sleep unless her dad is laying down with her, so he sleeps on a couch in the kids’ room. I think it’s been close to 2 years since we slept in the same bed for even part of the night. Oh, and I never have a plan for anything either. But so far, it’s been working out okay for the most part. I figure I have until my oldest is in 1st grade to get everything sorted out. Until then, I guess we’ll stay up all night and sleep until late morning.

Rachael 4 years ago

Also, don’t stick to your guns. With my older son (now 5), we sleep trained him four times. Why? Because we didn’t stick to making him stay in his bed, and he started coming in ours again. It sucked every time. We learned our lesson, and our 17 month old stays in his bed.

Tina 4 years ago

I am so glad I am not alone! This was written about me and that is not a good thing…or is it?

Arnebya 4 years ago

The girls slept well. And by well I mean sleeping through the night by the time they were one. Ha. This boy, however? The 2 yr old boy still wakes at least twice a night. Granted he only wants water or for someone to cover him back up (he sleeps on his stomach and has yet to figure out that yes, he CAN put the damn cover back on). The girls are now 10 and 8 and I secretly wish one of them would want to come to bed with us. Anti-cuddling heifers.

SaucyB 4 years ago

I have to say, because I always knew I would be going back to work after my maternity leave I kind of made it a personal mission to make sure my kid was a good sleeper. Having a routine, making sure he took naps and not letting him fall asleep on me all helped toward having him sleep through the night by the time he was 4 months old.

Julie 4 years ago

OMG, I wish I’d read this 4 years ago!

Jennifer 4 years ago

We did this same thing with our first. Almost word for word. It sucked then and it sucks now. Finally after going to the doctor and finding out that I’m severely sleep deprived and learning that it is affecting my mental and physical health I had to pull the plug. It has been so, so hard. My natural urge is not to be that hard ass kind of mother, but I’ve had to do it. I hate it.

Callie 4 years ago

My 19mo was sleeping through the night for the last half of the summer. He started doing it on his own after a few months of waking up once in the middle of the night (at which we would give him a water bottle). Then at the beginning of September those blissful nights filled with slumber came to a screeching halt. We can’t figure out what’s causing it. Nothing in his routine or our routine changed, nothing in his diet to cause it…so we sum it up to a phase and hope that he’s out grown it by March when the baby is due. (Please, please, please go back to sleeping though the night by then!)

But I’m already ahead of you on the co sleeping…our little guy has been sleeping in his crib since day. One husband and one Basset Hound is enough in bed, I don’t need another couple little bodies. I’ll cuddle them during them during the day when they’re awake. :-)

Kara Nutt 4 years ago

I know that I am lucky in that my son slept 6 hours at 6 weeks and only got better from there.
However, I think some of it was from the realization that if he’s in the other room, he can’t smell me and will sleep better.
I figured this out the second night in the hospital. I had an emergency C-section due to my acrobatic son having tangled the cord around himself about 3 times.
The first night, both my husband and my brand new baby stayed in the room with me. Of the three of us, only DH got any sleep. He even slept through getting up and getting me some wet towels (you can’t use wet wipes in the hospital) for a midnight nasty diaper change.
The next night, I sent the super sleep walker home. At about 2 am, out of shear exhaustion, I took a walk with the little bassinet down to the nursery. He had wanted to nurse every 20 minutes until that point and they won’t let you just fall asleep in bed with baby in the hospital so I’d had NO sleep since the major surgery just 36 hours previously.
The lovely nurses in the nursery were happy to allow me to get a few hours sleep and as I was trying to exclusively breastfeed, they were happy to bring him to me should he wake up. Four hours of blissful sleep later, a lovely nurse brought me my son who nursed and went back to sleep.
There was one night at the hospital that I got 4.5 hours of blissful sleep and I woke up worried, I went down to the nursery and there was my son just starting to stir and get hungry.
When we got home, if he was in the bassinet in my room, woke every 30 minutes. If he was in his crib, everyone got to sleep a solid 4 hours. Happy baby, happy mommy, happy daddy.
The next one will probably be totally different, however, I plan on starting out with them in the next room with a monitor. Everyone functions better with a good night sleep, baby included.

Jen 4 years ago

Like you, I made all those mistakes with my oldest son and thankfully I saw the error of my ways.

But honestly, I probably would have done those same things again if I had not had triplets. Triplets forces you to plan and set a sleep schedule or you will never sleep.

Nicole 4 years ago

Holy Crap. I did pretty much every one of these things. My 2 year old finally falls asleep on her own, but she still ends up in our bed every night. :-/ She’s a late-to-bed, late-to-rise girl, too, which is great now. It won’t be so great when school rolls around. Sigh.

imperfectmomma 4 years ago

Oh I am the worst too. I let my kids sleep with me too. Monkey was 5 months before he slept on his own…and I had to let him cry it out.

You’d think I would learn. Apparently, I am just a sucker cause; I screwed up w Diva too. Now, she wont sleep unless I’m holding her too. I’m gonna hafta let her cry it out.

But I am a big wuss with crying too. That and the fact that this girl is freaking stubborn.

Sigh. Why cant this parenting thing be easier? Why cant kids be born awesome sleepers?

Why am I venting on your blog? Ok…this is me…stopping typing….if I can

Kim 4 years ago

LOL. Noted!

Julie R 4 years ago

I, too, am a terrible sleep trainer parent type person. My first two kids had zero problems sleeping and it was never an issue. The only problem I had with them sleeping was that I thought they slept TOO MUCH so I woke them up sometimes just so I could pick them up and cuddle them, etc. They are still excellent sleepers, but I had nothing to do with it. My 3rd kid came along and HELLOOOO sleepless nights. I was unprepared and stupid about the whole thing and now I have a 2 year old who has never, not once slept through the night. Not even accidentally. She is up every couple of hours demanding that either me or her dad (thank god it’s usually him that she calls) come and rub her feet or her back or get some water or watch videos on the iPad. YES. We are not the ideal parents when it comes to sleep. We haven’t slept in 2 years. I’m glad to hear that we aren’t alone. Thank you. Us.

Wende 4 years ago

People can say what they want. Teaching your child the ability to sleep alone and self-comfort is one of the most important things you will EVER teach your child. However you do it – make SURE you do it, make sure you start with it young, and make sure that you STICK. WITH. IT. My heart sincerely goes out to you for the struggles you’re having.

My son slept in a playpen beside our bed when he was tiny. When he got older, I moved him into his own room in his crib. He hated it. He would cry and scream every night when I put him down. For three months, I would sleep beside his crib on the floor, holding his hand. I did not take him out of the crib. I would comfort him, let him know I was there – but make sure he understood he WAS going to be sleeping in that crib, as that was his new bed. Within those three months, he figured out I was close by and not leaving him there forever and ever, and eventually started lying down on his own and going to sleep. Then I stopped lying down beside him, and simply told him I’d be back in 5 minutes to check on him. He would wait to make sure I did, and I did it faithfully. Then 10 minutes. Then 15 minutes. This was at about age 10 months, and he never looked back. He has slept consistently through the night since then without a single problem.

My daughter simply just didn’t want to be by herself, so she would cry. I checked on her every 15 minutes in her crib, told her that it was night-night time, time to go to sleep, and that I was not going to take her out of the crib. She wasn’t distraught or visible wailing – this was more “hey, I can’t see what everybody’s doing!”. After about 6 weeks, she figured it out, and started laying down on her own and going to sleep. This was at about age 1. She has consistently slept through the night since then without a single problem.

Different things for different kids. You have to be willing to figure out what works and stick with it consistently. It’s WORK. And it’s hard work, especially when you’re already tired. But aren’t you willing to teach your children other things to help them through life, like how to tie their shoes, write an essay or how to wash their hands? How is this any different?

I can tell you this – every morning, everyone in my house is rested and ready to face the day. It was worth the trade off of a few months of hard work to make it happen.

Reading (and chickens) 4 years ago

My husband has a theory that good sleepers only come from bad sleepers. The parents go out of their minds with sleep-deprivation and then set some sort of plan in motion, but all those “good from the start” babies seem to slowly, ever so slowly, add some bad habits until they’re 18 and still co-sleeping with you with a pacifier and a lovely.

Momma Sunshine 4 years ago

Y’know what? I think you should cut yourself some slack. Sure, you’re not getting good quality sleep, but I think it’s more important to foster a sense of security in your children (i.e. knowing that their parents will be there to respond to their needs).

My oldest was a rotten sleeper; partly my fault, and partly because that’s just the way she’s wired. But she’s 8 years old now, and she never comes into my bed unless she’s sick or has had a terrible nightmare (both of which are rare). Your kids are only small once; and I can promise you that they won’t be coming home from parties in high school to snuggle up with mom. 😉

Kimberly 4 years ago

So glad I’m not the only one! My toddlers are also extremely “flexible” with nap and bedtimes. The only time they’re ever not cooperative is when I try to put them to bed before 10 p.m. Sigh. On the upside, they sleep in until 9, which is great for my husband (a stay-at-home-dad). Not quite as great for me, since I have to get up at 6 for work.

Paula @ thewilyweez 4 years ago

My boys are good sleepers, I think they were just born that way because I’m a fly by the seat of my pants parent as well…and we’re stopping with these 2 good ones….why press our luck right?!