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My 17-month-old has never slept through the night & I can't even

by

Michelle Stein

posted in Parenting

My third child is a difficult sleeper. Actually, no. That’s putting it mildly. It dawned on me the other day that our 17-month-old has NEVER slept through the night. Not once.

And honestly, I’m not quite sure what to do about it.

I know, I know. By the third kid, you’d think I’d have this down pat. My oldest wasn’t the greatest sleeper either. We had to lie down next to him every night until he drifted off — but once he was out, he was out for the night. And we just happened to luck out with an awesome sleeper the second time around. But man, oh man. Kid number three is a challenge.

My non-sleeper and me!

So here’s the situation: Our toddler starts the evening in her own bed — a twin mattress on the floor of a bedroom she shares with her 3-year-old sister — after she grumps herself to sleep on either mommy or daddy’s shoulder. She’ll sleep for a couple of hours there and then wake up crying. Either my husband or I will rock/boob her back to sleep, and then she’ll snooze for another hour or two in her bed.

toddler sleeping on mom

By the time she wakes up again around midnight, we admit defeat and just keep her in bed with us. (Because the thought of continuing this cycle every 2-3 hours all night long with is unbearable.) She’ll wake up a few more times throughout the night. Each time, I groggily shove a boob in her direction, and she’ll drift off again. It’s not a perfect arrangement. But at least I manage to get something resembling an acceptable night’s sleep.

co-sleeping with toddler

I frequently wake up with a foot in my face.

We’ve tried letting her fall asleep in her own bed all by herself. She’ll either a) get up and play with toys, or b) burst into tears and eventually work herself up to the point of vomiting. (Neither of which are sleeping.) This only prolongs the process. Not to mention it keeps her older siblings awake.

And don’t even get me started on nap time; it’s either an hour in the afternoon, 10 minutes in the car on the way to pick up my first-grader from school, or nothing at all.

After fighting a nap all afternoon, she fell asleep on our way to school pick-up.

Frustrating as it may be, my husband and I continue to muddle through our daughter’s non-sleeping habits. I keep telling myself she’ll grow out of it; all kids eventually learn to sleep through the night.

Except here’s the thing: We’ve also been exploring the idea of having a fourth and final baby. So something’s gotta give if that were to become a reality. Because a toddler with all-time record of five consecutive hours, on top of a newborn waking every two hours, sounds like some special form of hell.

Or, I could look at it this way: Our toddler still not sleeping through the night could be a blessing in disguise. I’m already used to surviving on crappy sleep. So it wouldn’t be that much of a shock to my system if we threw another kid into the mix, right? Ha. Hahaha. *Sobs*

toddler holding donut holes

So if you have any suggestions for convincing a hellbent-on-bed-sharing, still-nursing toddler to sleep in her own freaking bed, I’m all ears. (I have a feeling night weaning is in our near future.) I’ll be the one with a glazed-over look, permanent dark circles under my eyes, and a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee clutched in my hands like my life depends on it.

When did your little one start sleeping through the night? How the heck do you STOP bed-sharing, but avoid getting up with your kid all night long?

Images by Michelle Stein

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