This is the Way we go to Sleep…

This week we took on and conquered sleep training. Sleep has been an elusive beast in our house and sleep training a controversial subject. We wanted to assist our daughter in sleeping on her own, however, did not want to attempt many methods for various medical and personal reasons. So we picked a method that we hoped would work and although we were faced with a flurry of mixed emotion and high anxiety we were still determined to get this baby to go to sleep on her own.

Her new resistance to rocking was the push we needed to begin the process, a process I had studied endlessly. I should have learned by now that in parenting there is no rule book, no guidelines, no step-by-step tool, you just do it.

Night one we laid on our baby’s floor. The two of us. We listened to our baby cry and reach for us while we reassured her from below. My heart ached to jump up and rip her from her cage. To bring her to my chest and rock her until her eye lids fell, heavy with sleep.
I prayed she would just fall asleep, that she would understand this was the best thing for her. I prayed that God would rock her to sleep, that she would feel His arms around her and drift off. I tried to be tough telling myself that she wouldn’t remember any of this and she needed to learn to be a big girl.

I felt Brian’s hand grasp mine.
It tightened.
Tears were stinging my eyes as I fought to hold back my sobs.

After 20 minutes of hearing my child, my life, cry for me I reached my hand up through her crib bars and placed my hand on her mattress, smoothing it over her animal print crib sheet.
She slowly knelt, exhausted, and placed her tiny head into the palm of my hand.

That is where she stayed.

That night the three of us slept in my daughters room.
One in her crib.
Two on the floor.
My hand reaching into the crib so she could still feel the warmth of the body that she is naturally drawn to.
The body she grew in.
The body she knows as home.


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36 Responses to This is the Way we go to Sleep…
  1. Butterflygirl
    March 10, 2011 | 10:29 am

    I read your blog to Aunty Sharebear on the phone, she loves your writing and says you have great english skills! I agree, I love your blog!

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 10, 2011 | 4:17 pm

      Thank you Butterfly.
      Your support is so appreciated!
      I think my English skills are pretty rad too.

  2. MamaRobinJ
    March 10, 2011 | 10:03 pm

    Oh Leighann, I want to cry with you. I know what that’s like – we did that too and it was awful. And it didn’t work, but I think that’s because I gave up. I was in the midst of my PPD and I couldn’t cope. As hard as it is I encourage you to stick with it if you think you’ve chosen the right approach. I wish I had – I think our sleep problems would have been better, but instead we’re still stuck with a kid who doesn’t sleep well without us.

    Will be thinking of you and hoping all goes well.

  3. Leslie
    March 10, 2011 | 11:10 pm

    Oh, this broke my heart. We tried to do this with our first child too. It worked in the beginning, but then it back fired and everything about going to bed became traumatic for him. He dug in his heels and would begin hitting his head against the wall because he was crying so hard. I understand that you have your own reasons for needing/wanting to do this and if you can make it work for your family, then it’s the right thing for you to do. But if you need any convincing of why co-sleeping benefits children past infancy, you should read this:

    “Our culture emphasizes the desirability of teaching children to self-soothe, and parents are encouraged to introduce security objects to help in this process. But in the dark of the night, why not allow a child to experience the love and comfort of a parent? If we teach our children to rely on things for comfort, what effect will this have on them later in life during times of stress? Shouldn’t we be encouraging them to reach out to people?”

  4. Nic
    March 11, 2011 | 12:22 am

    Beauitful! It breaks my heart! You know my views on the whole sleep issue. I believe you do what feels right and what works. There is no rule book! I hope she is sleeping better now! You are much stronger than I ever was! Your such a wonderful mommy!!!! Xoxo

  5. Tara
    March 11, 2011 | 6:36 am

    Well Leighann, I think you have done a wonderful thing for your child. It is so nice to rock to sleep, but then there is a point in SOME peoples lives where it just doesn’t work anymore, for child and parent. Or you have other children and that 1/2 hour of rocking vs the ability to put themselves asleep are HUGE. We did this with our oldest and it worked like a charm! He goes to sleep SO well, wakes up early, but thats not the issue we are discussing, ha.
    Anyways I am proud of you for sticking it out, it is not easy.

  6. Maegan
    March 11, 2011 | 10:39 pm

    Beautifully written post, so sweet.

    This is so similar to how we sleep trained our son … you know the phrase “it takes 21 days to break a habit” … we did this for 21 days, every day inching closer and closer to the doorway until the last day we just layed him in the crib and left the room. He only cried for the first 3 nights, the rest of the 17 nights he sometimes looked at us but mostly just babbled to himself and fell asleep. And he sleeps 12+ hours a night.

    I hope this method works for you, hang in there Mama, it gets easier. the crying does stop. And when she can put herself to sleep, and stay asleep, you’ll all be getting so much more rest!

    Happy weekend! 🙂

  7. mysoulforsale
    March 11, 2011 | 11:36 pm

    Poor little thing, and poor you! I don’t know anything about the different methods that people refer to, but the fact that you were there for her, albeit in a different way than she’s used to, sounds very compassionate to me. Hang in there!

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 14, 2011 | 8:28 am

      So far so good!
      She’s doing great!!!
      Thank you so much for your support

  8. Frelle
    March 11, 2011 | 11:53 pm

    beautiful and heartbreakingly sad. i understand this. well written and thank you for sharing your heart. here on the fledgling linkup

  9. CJ
    March 13, 2011 | 11:50 pm

    “My hand reaching into the crib so she could still feel the warmth of the body that she is naturally drawn to.
    The body she grew in.
    The body she knows as home.”


  10. kris
    March 21, 2011 | 11:23 pm


    This is so sweet and so touching. Such a difficult time, that moment of withholding the touch and comfort and snuggling you want to give in the interest of a greater good. So very difficult.

    So very emotional.

    I wish you speedy success and many peaceful nights.

    Take care, you.

    It will get better.

  11. […] read, “This is the way we go to sleep” by Leighann from The Endless Rant of a Multitasking […]

  12. Nichole
    April 2, 2011 | 1:16 am

    This post is magic.
    You are giving her a gift.
    We went through the same thing with both Katie and Matthew and they are beautiful sleepers now. So happy to go to bed and peaceful once there.

    It isn’t easy…but it’s so worth it.
    Sending you hugs…

    • multitaskingmumma
      April 3, 2011 | 8:10 pm

      When I first read this comment I was so honoured that you read my post and liked it.
      I saw the pingback but being new to WordPress had no idea what it meant.
      I started getting comments.
      My mind was blown!
      My heart exploded.
      Thank you for featuring me! I never could have imagined being featured on Small Moments Spotlight and there I was!
      I danced through the day on a cloud of happiness.

  13. Galit Breen
    April 2, 2011 | 7:48 am

    Oh Leighann! I have chills- literal chills here! That was so beautiful and sweet and perfect. I can imagine my own little ones sleeping that way and wanting to hold onto that moment in my pocket forever! And look at you- you’ve captured it and *can* hold onto it! Beautiful, Mama! Just beautiful!

    • multitaskingmumma
      April 3, 2011 | 8:08 pm

      THANK YOU Galit!
      I wish I could capture every single moment and freeze it.
      This has been one of my struggles with parenting.
      I can’t freeze time.

  14. CDG
    April 2, 2011 | 8:10 am

    Having sleep trained six infants over the years (using six different approaches), and not so long ago my own son, let me tell you that the anguish is universal, no matter your position on how to do it.

    This was a sweet song to your little one. I hope she will be able to read this when she’s old enough to understand the love and heartbreak in it.

    • multitaskingmumma
      April 3, 2011 | 8:07 pm

      I had no idea until I had my own, the love that goes into every single thing a parent does for their child.
      Even sleeping.
      Parenting is overwhelming.
      Its also eye opening.

  15. Heidi Smith Luedtke
    April 2, 2011 | 8:22 am

    I’ve recently spent some nights on the floor, too. What a beautiful post. Thanks for putting into warm, fat round words the love we feel for our babies. Delicious description.

    • multitaskingmumma
      April 3, 2011 | 8:05 pm

      At first I thought I was being foolish for sleeping on her floor but then I shook my head. She’s mine and I would do anything for her. Suddenly I didn’t feel foolish anymore.
      I love that you said “warm, fat round words.”
      love that.

  16. I Thought I Knew Mama
    April 2, 2011 | 9:04 am

    Beautiful and heartbreaking!

  17. julie
    April 2, 2011 | 12:34 pm

    Yes. This was beautiful and I’m glad to see in the replies to your comments that the process is going well.

    Peaceful sleeping is such a blessing.

    Wishing you all peace.

    • multitaskingmumma
      April 3, 2011 | 8:03 pm

      thank you.
      I wish for peaceful sleep to but… her top teeth are after me…or after her.
      Just when we think we might have it figured out we realize we don’t.

  18. angela
    April 2, 2011 | 1:58 pm

    So very beautiful, though I know it is heartbreaking to work on sleep issues. I have two munchkins that fight sleep terribly. They’re three and one, and I rarely have a night where they both sleep through the night.

    I love that she was comforted just by your hand in her crib.

    • multitaskingmumma
      April 3, 2011 | 8:02 pm

      She responds very well to touch, she doesn’t like to be alone at all and even after the sleep training does not sleep through the night!

  19. D
    April 2, 2011 | 4:48 pm

    So beautifully written.. 🙂

    Stopping by from Small Moments! 🙂

  20. Sherri
    April 2, 2011 | 10:47 pm

    Oh Leighann, this is so beautiful and sad….and such a hard thing to get through as a parent. So glad that Nichole featured you on her Spotlight today! This is a great post…

    • multitaskingmumma
      April 3, 2011 | 8:01 pm

      I couldn’t even believe I was featured!
      Thank you for your compliments! I’m all giggly you stopped by my blog! YIPPEE

  21. Ally
    April 3, 2011 | 4:33 pm

    Isn’t it ironic that some of the gifts we give our children are sometimes masked in pain and emotion? Truthfully? I wish I’d thought of laying on the floor and just offering my hand. That one didn’t come across my brain in my research. My solace now is that looking back at it from years that have passed, it represents such a small block of time. That of course made it NO easier when it happened! I love that you addressed the fact that there is no rule book. And this post was beautifully written – brought a tear to my eye and a tightening to my throat. (I’m visiting from In These Small Moments)

    • multitaskingmumma
      April 3, 2011 | 7:57 pm

      Thank you so much for your lovely words. I didn’t realize how hard getting a baby to just sleep would be.
      Its a struggle even after the training is completed because of sickness or changes in routine but I remember that she isn’t a baby for long and to love every second of it.

  22. Mom Went Crazy
    April 3, 2011 | 9:27 pm

    Oh my! What a beautifully written post. You’re so much tougher than me. I could only stand about 5-10 minutes and I caved!
    I know it’s hard but once it’s done everyone will be happier!

  23. Mad Woman behind the Blog
    April 5, 2011 | 8:54 am

    I’m crying because, one, your words are so beautiful, the sentiment, the love, the moment and two, because this time with my daughter is slipping from my memory.
    Baby number two will surely refresh my mommy brain.
    And congrats. Doesn’t Nichole’s love feel like a warm blanket, a bear hug and a big fat smile?

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