Let’s talk about sleep. Baby’s sleep. Toddler’s sleep. Wait a minute, is Edward a toddler still? Or already considered as a preschooler? Anyways…
Ok, let’s talk about how Edward is doing now. Edward has just turned 2 last month. We are currently away from home, visiting grandparents in another country for a month. He naps fine, falls asleep very fast when he had used up a lot of energy during the first half of the day. Does he use any sleep aid? Definitely. The pacifier! We still can’t get him off it, despite one period of trying. We’ll try again when we return home. So how’s bedtime? Bedtime is good too. On good days, he will just doze off right after his milk and water (bad for his teeth, i know, but looking into stopping this tradition soon). On bad days, it can take one hour for him to fall asleep. Oh, I forgot to mention that I have to lie down with him while he tries to fall asleep.
Back at home, the only difference in the sleep routine is that Edward would lie in his toddler bed (which is next to oliver’s cot bed, inside our bedroom) to sleep but will move to our bed in the middle of the night.
Are we happy with what we have achieved in terms of the sleeping routine and arrangements?
Well, we have definitely come to a point whereby we just live with it and we are no longer trying to change the situation. It has been more than half a year now.
How did we reach this step?
A long way! A very very long and painful way.
We initially tried to train him to sleep by letting him cry it out when he was still in his newborn stage. It didn’t work because we couldn’t stand seeing him crying. Looking back, we feel really bad as Edward had a case of reflux (the stomach valve was not yet mature to retain the milk in the stomach while lying down, so it comes back up and causes serious discomfort). I ended up holding him slanted against me (face out) for 30 minutes after bedtime feed before I put him down into his cot bed. This is probably a sleep-association in training. But we had no choice.
And so when we were ready to make him fall asleep on his bed, we introduced the pacifier. He slept well. But we were worried he would be addicted to it, we tried to train him off. Another round of a few days of crying. It didn’t work out.
We moved him into his own room when he was 7 months old. It worked well. But after that we had to keep waking up and walk to his room to replace the pacifier into his mouth. And so after a few torturous months, we moved his cot bed back into our room. The pacifier replacement at night continues. Somehow he learnt to look for it by himself.
We were expecting Oliver. We moved his bed back into his room 2 months before Oliver was born. He could fall asleep by himself, without anyone in the room. The trick was to tell him “mummy/daddy will be back, you just lie down on your pillow and wait, ok?”
When Oliver was born, Edward was badly affected. It didn’t appear as outright unhappiness. But it appears in his inability to sleep well at night, getting more clingy etc… So we moved him back into our room, this time, with Oliver’s cot bed too. It was to save daddy from walking to the other room a few times a night too.. Daddy has work that starts 7am and ends 4pm. And so we got to our current routine as mentioned above.
What would we do the same with Oliver?
Um…. Pretty hard to answer. We would want to move both boys out of our room eventually. But we are going to go easy on it. If they aren’t ready, we won’t rush.
What would we do differently with Oliver?
No cry it out sleep training. Ever. If I could turn back time, I would not do it to Edward too. I still feel very guilty for having done it to Edward. It didn’t work for him, it didn’t work for us. And in the end, Edward is still very dependent on us for sleep.