A Sleep Train Wreck

Today on the blog – in conjunction with Touro Infirmary – we are absolutely thrilled to be opening a dialog about sleep through our “Rest Assured: You Are Not Alone” series. As moms we are all often sleep deprived, and we struggle with making decisions around our children’s sleep habits as well. Should we use a crib or a bassinet? Is co-sleeping safe or not? Should we sleep train? And who IS the expert on sleep training anyway? Will the baby ever sleep more than 2 hours at a time? Why does my toddler have night terrors? When do I move the toddler to a “big kid” bed and oh my word why won’t they stay in the darn thing? Our goal through this series is to create a safe place for all of us to open up about the sleep issues that trouble us and to acknowledge that no matter our struggles or choices, we are never ever alone.

A Sleep Train Wreck

A sleep train wreck – the title pretty much sums up our lives over here at the Kelly household. Both of my kids had terrible reflux, and they were never great sleepers through the night until I discovered this wonderful little thing called the nap nanny. Now, it is a recalled product that is no longer produced that all my pregnant friends beg me to borrow because they have heard how good it works for babies suffering from gas, colic and reflux. My babies slept in the nap nanny from the time they were a couple weeks old until they could maneuver their bodies to get out of it around 7 months old. From that point on, transitioning to the baby bed was a bit of a challenge; however, we successfully managed to get everyone to sleep through the night in their own cribs within about a week with lots of tears shed from babies and mom.

When it all went downhill

Here is where the problem developed. I remember this like it was yesterday. Greg and I were sitting in the living room, and I was rocking Camille who was just 2 weeks old. Cooper (12 months old) was taking a nap in his crib, and Greg and I heard him say, “hi.” About a minute later, we heard him say a much closer “hi,” and then he walked around the corner into the living room with a big old smile on his face. Yes, at 12 months old, my little monkey learned how to climb out the bed. This, my friends is where it all went downhill, fast!

Camille slept in the nap nanny, Cooper slept wherever. How do you get a 12 month old to sleep in a toddler bed and stay put? I’m sure there are ways, but when you have a 2 week old, you really don’t have a lot of extra time to dedicate to this process. Besides that, my husband was working at the fire department and a part-time job on top, so I was TIRED, and honestly, I just didn’t care where Cooper slept, as long as he slept. I still had to get up multiple times through the night with Camille to do feedings and diaper changes.

There is nothing sweeter than a sleeping baby, wherever that may be!

Camille transitioned from the nap nappy to her crib around 7 months and has slept perfectly through the night in her bed up until she broke her arm this past September. She was 29 months old when she broke her arm, and I let her sleep in my bed the first night with her broken arm. I couldn’t stand the thought of her being in so much pain on meds and not being able to have her close by my side. Guess what? Yep, she hasn’t slept through the night in her bed since and is now following along in her big brother’s footsteps as a “couch sleeper” that sneaks into my bed in the middle of the night.

We have all become “couch sleepers.” Greg falls asleep on the couch with the kids and sneaks away in the middle of the night. On rare occasions, they sleep through the night on the couch until morning, but most nights those little footsteps come running to my bedroom. What’s worse? The 4 blankets and 13 stuffed animals that join the slumber party. This leads to me leaving the bed and going to sleep on the couch by myself. We play musical beds every night. It’s no wonder AdvoCare spark is my best friend in the morning!

Now I see the error of my ways. Greg and I are sleep deprived. I can’t imagine the kids are getting great quality sleep either (even though they appear unconscious when sleeping sideways or hogging my entire bed). I know it’s not too late to make this situation better, but I am really lost as to what method to utilize now that they are about to turn 3 and 4 years old.

Can any of you relate or offer any recommendations as to how to break the cycle?


  1. Janie, such a great post. A very good friend of mine who happens to be a pediatrician is actually starting a new business here in NOLA assisting parents in getting their children to sleep. She is amazing and she is local . You can contact her directly via email. Dr. Nilong Vyas, [email protected]. She would love to help you to find a solution in getting your Little Pnuts to sleep. Feel free to send her an email. Good Luck on your quest for a good nights sleep!

  2. Here’s what worked for me. First, my younger son didn’t stay in his bed all night until he was 3. I didn’t have the strength to fight it. I just let him sleep next to me. I don’t know what changed when he was 3, but the nights that he wandered into my bedroom became less frequent until he would stay in his bed all night. The problem became getting them into bed. So, after our bedtime routine, which included my reading to them, I told the kids they could stay awake as long as they wanted as long as they stayed in their beds and the only thing they were allowed to do was read. This worked well until roughly the fifth grade when both of my children became avid readers and would stay awake until 1 or 2am reading, but that’s a different problem entirely. I don’t know if that would work for children as young as yours, but maybe it might help parents of slightly older children.


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