Tuesday, 17 February 2015

An update on sleep training (or When your 17 month old throws his lovey out of the crib constantly)

Only someone with a 17 month old baby who is not sleeping well is going to want to read about this. But when this happened to us a few months ago, I didn't know what to do, and just like everyone, I googled after I checked all my usual sleep books. And it is really really hard to find advice about a baby who is throwing their lovey (aka transitional object) out of the crib every single time you try to put them down for a nap.  Cohen would throw his precious teddy out of the crib, then hysterically cry because he didn't have his teddy. So I have to write about it in the small chance it helps someone someday. 

 (sleeping angel baby)

To read more than you ever wanted to know about Cohen's sleeping habits, read on.

I have written about Cohen's sleeping and the book we used to sleep teach in the past (here and here). So at 17 months the normally amazing sleeper suddenly was throwing teddy out of the crib, only to completely regret it two seconds later. I read and read and read all the books and websites I could find to try to figure out the best way to deal with it.

Some ideas I read:
- Get rid of the lovey, but do it fast, because you should never ever remove a lovey from age 18 months to 3 years old. We toyed with the idea, but we really love the relationship Cohen has with his teddy. It soothes hims so much. So that was really not an option for us.
- Put a roof on the crib. I'm not kidding. This is a real thing. It's like a mesh cover for the crib. So you are basically putting your baby into a cage. Ummm, no.
- Get rid of the crib, and just let your baby sleep on a mattress on the floor. This is kind of the Montessory bed idea, and actually seemed like a decent idea to me. Except that my sleep book that I completely trust and love recommends you keep your kid in a crib as long as possible.
- Get some strong velcro and velcro the lovey to your little one. You can actually buy loveys that have the velcro already. This just felt really over-the-top to me. But I almost considered it.
- Tell your little guy that you are going to take the lovey away if they throw it out, then actually do it. Give them one chance, and then take it for some amount of time. We decided to do this.

How we solved the lovey on the floor problem: We told Cohen repeatedly all day that the next time he napped or went to bed, he was going to have to keep teddy safe in his crib, or we were going to have to take him away. That first nap, he threw teddy on the floor as soon as we had closed the door. We went in and told him he we were taking teddy if he threw it on the floor again. He did, of course, so we kept the lovey for 20 minutes. The longest 20 minutes ever. He was absolutely flipping out, screaming. At the end of the 20 minutes, I threw teddy back in the crib. At that point Cohen was so thrilled to have his teddy back, he went right to sleep. This happened once per nap/night maybe four times. It honestly was terrible. For me, it was way worst than our original sleep training. But I really didn't know what else to do.

Right now Cohen is almost 19 months old, and that whole episode is like a distant memory. Cohen goes to sleep so easily and sleeps straight through the night. Things really happen in phases. As soon as you get used to something, they are doing something else. I love that sweet little guy so much.

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