Mom Monday-How Sleep Training Saved Me

26 Nov

Since sleep seems to be one of the most talked about (and agonized about) topics in baby’s first couple of years, I thought I’d share how we’re doing a year after sleep training and how a sleep trainer saved me.

How a Sleep Trainer Saved Me and my son. Guest post by Lauren Stevens

Photo courtesy of Neil Coleman/Foter/CC BY-NC-SA


One year ago, I was a frazzled mom, prone to tears, constantly overwhelmed, forgetful and fatigued.  My 8 month old son was not a napper and was up multiple times during the night.  Thankfully, I was at home with my son, but after eight months, I was completely drained and in desperate need of some help.


My son, Declan, was not a napper.  This kiddo would stay up all day if you let him (and is still the same way).  At the point when we finally sought help from Jennifer of Gift of Sleep Consulting, D was napping in 20-30 minute clips, three times a day.  I was unable to get anything done, and I constantly felt stressed and under great strain to get even the smallest of tasks done.


No naps during the day, and waking every two hours at night, meant that if I actually remembered to bring my grocery list when I went to the store, I would still forget items due to my inability to concentrate.


Enter Jennifer.  After posting about our sleep troubles on my blog’s Facebook page, Jennifer reached out to me.  Admittedly, I was wary at first.  Pay someone to teach us good sleep habits?  It seemed so…strange.  Who does that?  We did, that’s who.


Money was tight for us at that time, but my husband and me (most especially me) were prepared to do whatever it took to get D into healthy sleep habits.  Apart from buying our ERGObaby, hiring Jennifer’s expertise was the best investment we made in our son’s first year.

How a Sleep Trainer Saved Me and My son by Lauren Stevens

Courtesy of


We immediately began adopting healthy sleep practices and routines, I became better at reading D’s cues, and I transformed into a bonafide Sleep Nazi.  For us, healthy sleep habits for D were an investment and a commitment.


We kept a rigid schedule around D’s naps and bedtime, which meant sacrificing some of our own needs and wants to ensure that we were home in time to follow sleep routines.  In fact, D didn’t attend his first story time until he was over a year old, because story times, both bookstore and library, were all held during D’s morning nap time.


Admittedly, having such a rigid schedule made scheduling social time difficult.  D’s tight nap schedule only gave me a very small window to run household errands or meet up with other moms.  But, the trade-off, well, wasn’t a trade-off at all; Declan’s need for proper sleep trumped any and all things.


Today, we have an 19 month-old who knows what to do when we begin his nap or bedtime routine.  He will even say ‘nap’ or ‘sleep’ if he’s feeling tired, in which case, we snatch him up and make his wish our command!  We’ve traveled for weekend and week-long trips, and the only bumps we’ve encountered were due to us having blown off naps (MommyCon was one particular instance of that).


I’ve had a year of good sleep, and now groan inwardly on those rare occasions that D wakes in the night (usually during teething episodes).  While we want to add to our family, I find myself wondering how I will function without getting a good night’s sleep!


Nineteen months in, I’m proud to have a toddler that sleeps when he’s supposed to!  I wish I could say that we’re lucky, but the truth is (and Jennifer would tell you) that it’s not about luck, it’s about adopting healthy sleep practices and routines.  Sleep is one of the most discussed topics in my parenting circles, yet many of the parents I see don’t want to change their routines(?!).


It blows my mind to hear people continually complain about their, and their little one’s, lack of sleep, but are reluctant to make changes to what they’re doing (I see this a lot with those that co-sleep).


If you find that you’re struggling to get your little one to sleep well, you should consider hiring a sleep consultant to guide you.  As I said, it was the best investment we made that first year.  Sleep is incredibly important to your little one’s overall health, and I wish that we hadn’t waited so long to ask for help.


OK, my dear readers, now it’s your turn! Leave a comment and tell us about your sleep-learning tips for babies! (Please be respectful with your comments, as what works for one doesn’t always work for others, and sleep training methods tend to be a sensitive topic… Everyone takes different approaches to their little one’s sleep needs.)  

 Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness

Want to read more stories by sleep-challenged moms, stories that will make you laugh, shed a tear or two, inspire you, and make you feel like you are NOT alone in your sleep-deprived, post-baby world? Be sure to check out Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness: Mom Stories from the Trenches!


“From start to finish, this book is a gem. I can’t think of a mother who shouldn’t read it, whether you have a newborn or grown children, you will totally relate to these funny and heartwarming stories. This second edition includes 18 new essays from some amazing authors. Having bought the first Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness, I was delighted to read this new edition. One of my favorite quotes from the book: ‘Organic homemade cakes made out of kale and promises.’ This book is funny and then funnier.”—Stephanie Marsh of We Don’t Chew Glass.


Bio: Lauren B. Stevens is a former publishing rep-turned-freelance writer, whose work can be found on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and When she’s not chasing her rambunctious toddler, Lauren pens hilarious and heartwarming stories about her life as a mother including on her blog, Facebook page, and Twitter!Author Lauren B Stevens

54 Responses to “Mom Monday-How Sleep Training Saved Me”

  1. Carolyn Wilhelm June 26, 2015 at 4:36 PM #

    I had one child who didn’t sleep and one who didn’t eat much. We hired a nurse to help with feeding and it was money well spent. Get help if you need to, and do what your child needs. Thanks! Pinned!

  2. Alison June 23, 2015 at 1:21 AM #

    I never really had issues with getting my kiddos on a pretty regular sleep schedule, but I can totally see how this would be super helpful for new parents. I was fortunate, but had that not been the case, I think I would’ve gone nutso!

  3. the wheelchair mommy June 15, 2015 at 12:08 PM #

    We did our version of sleep training and have FABULOUS sleepers (4, 7 and 10)
    I have a friend that is a sleep trainer but I have never used her.

  4. Laura funk June 12, 2015 at 2:20 AM #

    My first was not a sleeper and as I am writing this at 12:20am he is STILL not sleeping. My youngest is a great sleeper though so there is some sweet redemption.

  5. Janeane Davis June 12, 2015 at 12:40 AM #

    I had not heard of sleep consultants before reading your post. It makes sense to hire someone to teach you and your baby to sleep. There are professioals for a reason!

  6. Censie June 11, 2015 at 11:37 PM #

    We never hired a consultant but we certainly had some very rough periods. Thankfully both kids are now sleeping through the night!

  7. Courtney June 11, 2015 at 10:28 PM #

    Sleep consultants? I had no idea! That’s awesome. New moms need all the helping hands they can get!

  8. M Lilly June 11, 2015 at 10:17 PM #

    We\’ve been pretty lucky with being able to get our kids to sleep.

  9. Rebecca Swenor June 11, 2015 at 7:52 PM #

    This is an awesome post for my sister and nieces. I never had a problem with my kids sleeping when they were little. My sisters little one has been have trouble sleeping more since he was illegibly abuse by the day care provider. I wonder if the therapy can help him? Thanks for sharing,

  10. Rebecca Swenor June 11, 2015 at 7:08 PM #

    This is an awesome post for my sister and nieces. I never had a problem with my kids sleeping when they were little. My sisters little one has been have trouble sleeping more since he was illegibly abuse by the day care provider. I wonder if the therapy can help him? Thanks for sharing,

  11. Onica (MommyFactor) June 11, 2015 at 3:48 PM #

    I remember those days of little to no sleep. It really can be overwhelming, So glad you found a solution and got some sleep.

  12. Amanda Love June 11, 2015 at 12:29 PM #

    I was lucky that I’ve never really had a problem with my kids sleeping. I however have a problem with myself.

  13. Elizabeth O. June 11, 2015 at 4:33 AM #

    Thank you for sharing this. I had no idea that you can actually hire a sleep consultant to help your little get enough sleep. This will be a great resource for moms struggling to get their babies to sleep well.

  14. Ourfamilyworld June 11, 2015 at 4:28 AM #

    This is the first time I heard about a sleep consultant. I wish they existed when my kids were babies.

  15. Stephanie June 11, 2015 at 2:31 AM #

    I have a great routine for two of mine, but the third is crazy right now. We had a great sleep schedule going and then I got off track. I definitely need to make it a priority again.

  16. Michelle Hwee June 11, 2015 at 12:59 AM #

    Sleep training can definitely be so much work but SO worth it in the end. From experience, I definitely agree with this! Great guest post!

  17. Emily June 11, 2015 at 12:50 AM #

    Sleep is such a rough issue especially when the kids aren’t getting enough. They need it. We need it. But I could never “sleep train.”

    I did “crying in arms” at some point with both of my kids… it’s kind of like letting them “cry it out” but while holding them gently and reassuring them verbally and with your presence the whole time. It was rough, but my heart wasn’t breaking as I listened to them through a closed door, and I knew they were safe and cared for the entire time… and it did help a lot.

    Realizing that we can’t always “fix” what’s wrong is huge. Sometimes we just need to listen and be there.

  18. rocky June 11, 2015 at 12:47 AM #

    Thanks for sharing such a great article…

  19. Carol Bryant June 11, 2015 at 12:21 AM #

    Sleep issues can really wreak havoc – good to establish a routine early on to set the tone for a bright future and good night’s sleep.

  20. Tiaras & Tantrums June 11, 2015 at 12:17 AM #

    I tried to sleep train my son when he was a newborn up to about 6 months. He wanted no part of it at all – so I threw the Drs advise out the window and trusted my mommy instinct. All my kids have co-slept with me and they are the better for it.

  21. Timber June 10, 2015 at 10:59 PM #

    I started off day 1 being noisy around my daughter when she slept. I always used to run the vacuum while she napped. It got to the point she wanted the vacuum on when she went to bed, lol, so I had to put it in her room to soothe her or she would scream!

  22. Uplifting Families June 10, 2015 at 10:44 PM #

    It’s tough getting baby’s to sleep sometimes. My older son was just like your son, he never wanted to sleep and it was a huge fight to get him there. I had to cry out to doctors to help me at the time because I was at my wits end. I was a single mom and he was making life impossible. He would wake up at 6 to 7 am and if I was lucky he would nap. Then at night it was a constant struggle unless he was sleeping with me. He was around 2 and they finally diagnosed him with ADHD and several other things. We tried several different meds until we found the right combo.

  23. Shanna June 10, 2015 at 10:11 PM #

    Our little one never had too much trouble sleeping. She used to nap, but not any more. I really do miss those days!

  24. Shanna June 10, 2015 at 10:07 PM #

    Our little one slept okay when she was younger (just okay, though). She gave up napping between her second and third birthday too. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have those days back!

  25. Shann June 10, 2015 at 9:46 PM #

    Luckily, we have a good routine for our twins. My 5 year old is another story.

  26. Mykidsguide June 10, 2015 at 9:28 PM #

    I have never heard of a sleep trainer. I wish I did when my babies were young and did not want to sleep

  27. Chelley June 10, 2015 at 9:24 PM #

    Sleep issues are the worst! I am thankful that we haven’t had any unless it was a medical issue… but we bedshare with the youngest now, and I know we are in for it!

  28. Lalia June 10, 2015 at 7:35 PM #

    No naps at only 8-months-old! I can’t imagine. My son is nearly three and still naps.

    • Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad June 10, 2015 at 8:55 PM #

      Can you imagine? My hubby is 40ish and still naps!

      • Jessica Harlow June 11, 2015 at 7:08 AM #

        My husband would too if he was home for it! I’m not a big napper as an adult, but love that mykids still are!

    • Lauren B. Stevens June 11, 2015 at 6:38 AM #

      It was absolutely hellacious, but thankfully, he’s been napping for 2-3 hours since we brought in a sleep consultant (aka: Sleep Goddess). At almost 3 years old, my little guy would still try to stay up all day/night if we let him — he doesn’t want to miss out on anything!

  29. Mama to 5 BLessings June 10, 2015 at 7:24 PM #

    I think everyone is different. My baby is 25 months and she still sleeps in bed with us. She maybe my last so I am enjoying it while I can. She still gets up during the night to nurse.

    • Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad June 10, 2015 at 8:57 PM #

      That’s how I was with our daughter. I didn’t mind her being in our room, the bed and eventually the floor as she got older. I only had one kiddo and I enjoyed it.

    • Lauren B. Stevens June 11, 2015 at 6:42 AM #

      Absolutely! Our pediatrician (and LC) recommended that we move our son to his crib at two weeks. We room shared but had no plans on bed sharing. At the time I called in a sleep consultant, my son wasn’t actually feeding during night wakings (just suckling), so it was perfect timing to transition — he continued to nurse until 21 months. I say, whatever works for you! 🙂

  30. Liz Mays June 10, 2015 at 7:18 PM #

    I’m a selfish sleeper, so it was important to me to make sure the kids slept well and on their own. I’m all for it!

    • Lauren B. Stevens June 11, 2015 at 6:43 AM #

      Haha! I became a selfish sleeper once my son began sleeping through the night, Liz! The reality is that I was delirious ; )

  31. Lorane June 10, 2015 at 5:18 PM #

    This is a great post .. very informative. I say anywhere between 5 months is a good time to start

  32. Tonya C June 10, 2015 at 4:27 PM #

    This is really a great post. Nursing really helped with me and my son with sleeping. He woke up pretty consistently at night but fell right back asleep while nursing.

  33. Chastity June 10, 2015 at 4:02 PM #

    I wish this would have worked with my son…but he wasn’t having it:)

  34. Jeanine June 10, 2015 at 3:57 PM #

    Glad it worked for you! I’ve never been one to do sleep training but I’m glad it works. I’ve heard lots about it but usually stay far away from the arguments!

  35. Jessica June 10, 2015 at 1:54 PM #

    Great post on the pros of using a sleep trainer. Glad it worked for you!

  36. Tianna June 10, 2015 at 1:07 PM #

    not a mom yet, but this sounds interesting!

  37. Tamara June 10, 2015 at 12:26 PM #

    I’ve never even heard of a sleep consultant but I love the idea. Sometimes you just have to call in the experts!

  38. AJ June 10, 2015 at 11:42 AM #

    We co-slept, and my kids were all amazing sleepers (whether or not we were in the room). Different things work for different people- we actually never adjusted our schedules once we got past baby #2- they kind of had no choice but to go with the flow!

  39. Heather Swarthout June 10, 2015 at 9:59 AM #

    The only way I have sleep-trained my children was to put them on a schedule. My four year old takes a three hour nap during the day and goes to bed a few hours before us at night. I have a four month old that sleeps on her own and usually puts herself to sleep for the most part. She naps during the day and then at night she sleeps in bed with me as we are breastfeeding. Whatever works for the parent, as long as the child is safe!

  40. Christy Maurer June 10, 2015 at 9:52 AM #

    It is definitely a sensitive topic! We just need to respect each other’s parenting choices. It is great to share tips because who knows how it might help someone. As long as we realize our way is not the only way 🙂

  41. Debbie Denny June 10, 2015 at 9:16 AM #

    A schedule is the key. They will grow accustomed to it.

  42. Jessica Harlow June 10, 2015 at 9:12 AM #

    I think it’s great that you were able to turn it around (after becoming a self-proclaimed Sleep Nazi). lol I was super luck with all three of my girls…they were all amazing nappers and slept through the night quickly. I can’t imagine if not…I would never have survived it!

  43. Karen Dawkins June 10, 2015 at 9:01 AM #

    Good for you! My kids are approaching adulthood now, but when they were little, I was adamant that they figure the sleep thing out. I’m not sure exactly what made it easy for me, but being an avid linguist (loving the nature and nuance of language), I was able to filter the minor differences in their cries very early. During the night, I could tell the difference between a “HELP ME” cry and a “fussing, but I’ll figure it out” cry. That’s a huge key.

    We also stuck to their routine those early years. So worth it not to have tired, crabby kids all day.

    YAY to you!

  44. Robin Masshole mommy June 10, 2015 at 8:13 AM #

    My boys were both sleeping through the night before they were two months old. I was very lucky 🙂

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