Sleep. It’s a perpetual challenge for parents of young children. We’ve had our own share of challenges, though as my daughter ages it’s been getting much better. And yet there’s still room for improvement.
I reached out to SleepBuddy for several reasons. Partly because I was interested in giving my almost 3-year-old a tool to help her regulate her own internal clock, as I can see her itching to become more self sufficient in so many ways.
My top goal in using a “toddler alarm clock” – of which SleepBuddy was the most visually appealing I’d found – was to gently help my toddler learn to delay her morning nursing session.
Newly 3, my girl is nursing an average of twice per day, going down to sleep at night and waking in the morning. She’s deeply attached to these sessions, so any attempts to cease them altogether have been fervently denied. Encouraging her to wait to nurse until sunrise worked well in the winter, but with the spring came earlier and earlier wake-ups.
Enter the SleepBuddy. We set it to be active (meaning that its blue light, which has replaced her nightlight, is on) from 7:30pm to 7:30am, which approximately matches her sleep schedule on a good day. Her early morning nursing schedule, on the other hand, typically began at 5:30 or 6. Could the clock help her learn to delay nursing by 2 hours each morning, bringing more restful sleep to her and her co-sleeping mama?
I have to say, I believe it really could have, had I not made a critical error in judgement. I began using the SleepBuddy two days before a trip away for a long weekend. For those first two nights, I witnessed an eagerness to integrate and master the new information provided by the SleepBuddy. By the second night, she was willingly waiting to nurse until the clock hit 7:30am, and I thought I was home free.
As any parent of young children knows, vacations and schedule interruptions can wreak havoc even on deep-seated routines. So it would have served me well to anticipate and delay use of the SleepBuddy until after our trip. I brought it along for the ride, then back home, and in the month since we began using it, it’s become a focal point in her room. The challenge is, it didn’t solve the problem I intended.
Here’s what the SleepBuddy has done for us. It’s given our girl a concrete sign that she (and we) can point to in order to validate our claims that it really is time for bed. This makes it easier to get upstairs and into our nighttime routine. It gives her some sense of ownership over her sleep schedule, knowing that she goes to sleep when the light goes on and gets up when it goes off, approximately.
Here’s what it could do, if I felt like it was worth the tears. It could be a marker of what time it is appropriate to nurse in the morning. Yet now that the SleepBuddy is helping motivate her to get into bed earlier, and with age her nighttime wakings are becoming fewer and fewer, I’m less motivated to initiate a struggle over an extra 1.5 hours of sleep. Also, she’s developed such fond feelings for her clock that I’m not eager to break her trust in it.
Do I appreciate the benefits the SleepBuddy has brought to our household and to my little girl? Absolutely.
Do I regret how I initiated its entry into our nighttime routine? Yes. I feel that I could have had a gentle, empowering sleep tool that would have maximized sleep by minimizing tears. But I know these years are short and the days of nursing will soon be behind us. I know that others can learn from our experience and reap benefits unique to their own families.
Altogether, I’ve found the SleepBuddy to be a positive experience and an empowering tool for my eager, independence-seeking child. I’m excited that we’re able to give one away to one lucky family out there. Interested? Read on for details.
The Other Baby Book fans: Want to win a SleepBuddy?
To enter, leave a comment below with the reason you’d like a SleepBuddy, and your email address, by June 16th at 11:59pm.
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5. Post a link to this giveaway on your FB or Twitter.
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