Are you curious about sleep training? I sat down with sleep training expert, Natalie, to answer all of your questions on the topic. I am so excited to share this with you.
First, I will give you all some background about my sleep training experience. I discovered this when Rian was a toddler. I knew there were books I could read, night nurses and more, but I totally fell into the first baby trap. I would say “I’ll let him co-sleep or I’ll let him do this.” Rian had a really bad dairy allergy and he also had acid reflux, so that escalated all of this. Then, boom, right at about 18 months, he started sleeping through the night! At that point I had a newborn too, so I was definitely less lenient in terms of what structure I needed to tend to both kids. I do not know what clicked, but one time he just started sleeping through the night.
Then we went on a family trip to Hawaii when he was about three and boom, he stopped sleeping through the night. But on the bright side I am so happy that I found Natalie when he was a toddler. It has been three years and he is such an amazing sleeper, and I owe it all to Natalie.
Natalie tells all of her clients that their children need more sleep than the parents. Children do all the same things during a night’s sleep that we do. They repair their bodies, they deal with their emotions, they grow, and they learn.
To be quite honest, when I contacted Natalie, after a google search and finding her. I thought she would come to my house and sleep train my child, but that is not quite how it works. So let me explain how it does work.
We sat down with Natalie via a video conference and discussed our needs, then she lays out a game plan. The biggest takeaway from our first conversation was the importance of being on the same page as your partner. You need their full support through this process. Sleep training goes quickly for toddlers, way more quickly than for infants.
The whole process is life changing, but there were two to three nights where you will question the process, and this is where you will need the support and reassurance from your partner. They will need to remind you of the plan and to stick to it.
So, back to my experience. Rian was coming out of his room multiple times a night. Then we would try to have him sleep with us, but we were all getting terrible sleep.
The first thing Natalie had us do was go to the Dollar Tree and grab a poster board. Rian helped me make his sticker chart. I wrote things like:
Take a Bath
Once he completed each thing, he got to put a sticker next to it on the chart. The reason Natalie had us to do this was for positive reinforcement. She also had us carry the chart with us through the house. The chart helps put the child in a positive mindset.
So, now to the actual sleep part of sleep training. I know this seems a bit crazy, but the first thing we did was get a lock for his bedroom door. At first, I felt like a monster for doing this. But as Natalie explained, we essentially created a crib out of his room.
There is another option, while using a toddler clock we left the door open. We stated that we really hoped he would stay in his room until his timer turned green, and every time he came out we explained he had three chances, then two, then one, before we closed and locked the door. The first night we had to lock the door. Once we locked the door, he cried for about an hour. Luckily, my husband and I were on each other’s team, and I was texting Natalie to have her talk me through this.
That night, he fell asleep and the next morning he put a sticker on the chart. As Natalie pointed out to me, Rian was his normal self the very next morning. As a mom, we worry so much about traumatizing our children, so this was an important takeaway for me.
From there on out each night got better. By the seventh night he slept through the entire night. I was completely blown away!
Head over to https://www.babysleeptrainer.com/ to see all of Natalie’s trainings. Working with her was so great because from the very beginning she checked in on me. If you are interested in sleep training, I highly recommend her services. Check out her Instagram and YouTube!