I haven’t really posted much… probably because I don’t sleep much. For the most part, this blog is often about fashion. But part of my story is that I’m a mother of two and sometimes I like to blog about that too.
So this post, is about sleep…or lack there of. And how, to my disappointment, the Dock-a-Tot was not the saving grace I hoped it would be. And how, almost one year into this whole “mom of two” thing, I still haven’t quite figured it out. And it’s not all the babies fault.
Our oldest son Oliver (almost 3) was always a great sleeper. As a baby, he self soothed from a a very young age and would easily put himself to sleep. Once he learned his schedule, he would fall asleep at nap time on the dot, no matter where we were. Seriously, anywhere.
Our youngest son Elliot (almost 1) has always had a harder time with sleep. If put down he would scream and cry and sweat and get himself all worked up- fast! We spent a lot of nights co-sleeping. I spent a lot of nights as a human pacifier. I spent a few nights in tears. I couldn’t eat dinner with the family. I would have to go to bed at 7 because he did – and he wouldn’t sleep alone. I would spend weeks waking every 40 mins, or every two hours, when he did.
Fast forward to now.
Just a couple months shy of his first birthday and sleep has improved dramatically for Elliot. On week days, after daycare he sleeps like a dream, as far as I’m concerned. He’s asleep by 6:45 or 7 and sleeps uninterrupted until about 3:30 or 4 at which point he wakes to nurse and then goes back to bed relatively easily until morning. “Morning” varies, but I usually just bring him into our bed if he wakes again anytime before 6am.
Weekends are a different story and we are working on that. (MORE ON THIS LATER)
Oliver, just a few months shy of his third birthday is suddenly fighting sleep like nobodies business. No matter how much routine and structure I have, we have to fight tooth and nail until about 10 PM most nights to get him to sleep. And THEN half the time he will wake us all up at 5 AM!
I’m pretty sure its developmental. He recently upgraded to a big boy bed. He is potty training. His language is exploding. He is more and more autonomous. Its been about a month and a half of this.
Unfortunately, where daycare days are a saving grace for Elliot, I think the opposite is true for Oliver. Both boys attend an in home family daycare, with just one other kid. So schedule is paramount and everyone is on the same schedule. That means Oliver still naps twice a day and I think at his age he would probably benefit from less nap and a normal bedtime. On weekends, we cant seem to get him to nap twice anyway so we typically wear him out and try to get him to bed at a more reasonable hour.
Okay, so…now you know what we are dealing with. I typically spend from about 6 pm to 10 pm putting children to bed. After coming home from my 9-6 job.
So I recently had a nervous breakdown. No joke. Lack of sleep can and will do that to you. I was uncontrollably sobbing, things felt out of control. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t handle it anymore. It was just too much. Everyone has a tipping point for how much sleep is necessary and apparently 10 months of terrible sleep was my tipping point.
Let me go back to explaining Elliot’s weekend sleep.
You see, Elliot has come to know the difference between daycare and home. And so it seems he sleeps one way on week days and another on weekends.
I know babies and sleep are a hot subject. I know there are strong opinions on what you should and should not do. And what methods are “right” and “wrong”. I think I have tried all methods. And so I feel confident in saying that what’s “right” is whatever works for you, your baby and your family and gets everyone sleeping. This seems to be the best method for avoiding mental breakdowns.
I have tried it all, none of it is really working for us. What’s important to me is that he gets good sleep, it’s key for his health and his brain development. It’s also important to me that I get good sleep. It’s key for me to function as a patient mother and a human.
After months of deliberating. Ordering, then canceling, then debating again and again, I bought a Dock-A-Tot. I seriously could not find ONE BAD REVIEW!!! So many parents described what sounded just like my baby. Reviews like: “He used to only nap for 20 minutes at a time. On our first day using the dock a tot, he napped for THREE HOURS!” — Okay. Stop. Take all my money. I was desperate. And it seemed to work for EVERYONE! So I bought it. Unfortunately, on my first day (nor any subsequent day – YET), it did not increase our 20-40 minute nap time. Que nervous breakdown. Wait, you mean, this random pillow bed thing is NOT my saving grace? COME ON MAN! I needed a miracle. I was hoping for a miracle.
Back to hotly debated baby sleep techniques.
Our daycare provider “sleep trains”. When they first start at daycare she lets them cry.
I was never opposed to this method per say. It worked fine with Oliver. He never got too worked up and like I said, he was a great sleeper. However, Elliot is quite stubborn and he would get super worked up super fast. So it didn’t seem like the right approach for him. All babies are different. So like I said, I read and tried many different approaches in addition to whatever my own instincts told me for 10 months. But still, no sleep.
Elliot has been sleeping great on weekdays for a few months now. He goes down easy. He can be laid down drowsy but awake. It’s magical.
I have come to the conclusion that we will have to let him “cry it out” – to some degree.
Last weekend I started trying it. I’m not going to let him cry for hours on end. In fact, I wont let him cry for more than 20 minutes before going in to reassure him and hold him and settle him again. And in fact, last weekend, he only cried for 20 minutes one time. Each time after got shorter.
It’s always hard to hear you baby cry.
As he gets older, its reassuring for me to hear that his cry often sounds like his brothers cry (when he is really tired) and with his brother I know “he’s just tired”. Its also reassuring for me to know that he is capable of doing this and HAS done this at daycare. And that once we get past the hard part, he sleeps better!
I felt prompted to write this post for two reasons.
1. Because seriously, there was not one bad review to be found on the Dock A Tot. And even this is not a “bad” review. But if like me, there is a mama out there searching the internet for answers in the middle of the night. Don’t put all your eggs in the Dock-A-Tot basket or you might be headed for a nervous breakdown haha. I do think in time, in addition to other sleep “training” techniques, the Dock A Tot can help him settle and feel secure and cuddled. And I like to think that it can only help our sleep situation.
2. Because parenting is really really hard. No, really. It’s insanely hard. And sometimes we don’t talk about it. And we see people on social media and think they all have it together. And so I’m writing this to help out that one mama who feels alone and helpless. To reminder her that she is not.
If you do feel like trying the Dock A Tot…I mean, why not, I’m apparently the only one on the internet saying it didn’t work.. here is a discount code for you , because they are pricey.