Sleeping through the night–what a wonderful idea, right? Actually getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, or, heck, even 5, maybe 4? Sounds like a pipe dream, right? Believe me, I feel your pain. Heck, I’m living it.
Currently, I have a four-month-old little girl, Sprout, who sleeps in a bassinet next to my bed and a 3-year-old who insists on sleeping in my bed. Said 3-year-old tends to sleep upside down, sideways, on top of the covers, with his head burrowed under my pillow (my new pillow, given that he stole my last pillow and claimed it for his own), with his stinky toddler feet in my face (not at all fun while I was pregnant with Super Smell Power, let me tell you), or in some other manner that makes my getting comfortable problematic. He screams and hollers about going to bed each night, and he often cries or otherwise wakes up in the middle of the night. Repeatedly. Sprout, for her part, simply wants to be fed every 2 hours from midnight on. Given that I am a manufacturer and distributer of high-quality dairy products, this means that I get up every 2 hours from midnight on. Safe to say, sleep is a rarity in my household.
It is my dream to get a good night’s sleep, and it’s my goal to get both of my children sleeping in their own little beds in their own room by the end of 2012. The tool I’m using to get us there is Jodi Mindell’s excellent book Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night’s Sleep. Dr. Mindell is a clinical psychologist specializing in pediatric sleep medicine; you can learn all about her at her page at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, http://psychology.sju.edu/people.php?id=mindell
This book was recommended to me by another doctor, and I am absolutely in love with it so far. Although I haven’t finished the book yet, it’s already made a difference in our lives: I’ve developed a definite, set bedtime routine, and a definite, set bedtime, and by God, it works. Don’t get me wrong–they’re not sleeping through the night yet. They’re definitely not in their own little beds in their own little room. They are, however, in bed and falling asleep by 8 p.m. every night, and I can tell that Sprout’s little body has programmed itself to get tired and fall out at that time. Peanut’s little body is being stubborn, but it’s also beginning to fall under the sway of the 8-p.m. bedtime. With this book, I have come to understand sleep much better, and I’m starting to teach my kids healthy sleep habits–and I have hope that I’ll meet my goals of getting my own good night’s sleep by the end of the year.