Friday, October 18, 2013

Helping the bedsharing toddler transition to independent sleep with SleepBuddy

From day 1 to day 558 Penny slept in our bed with us. I loved bed sharing; it helped us maintain a solid nursing schedule, gave us a little extra family snuggle time during the period where Adam was commuting over 4 hours a day, and most of all.. I had such peace of mind. I knew my little one was close, safe and I could be there for her immediately should anything go wrong.

But right after her 15 month birthday we learned that little Miss Penny was not going to be the one and only for that much longer. We learned that after literally a month of TTC, we had a Pierogie #2 on the way. By the way, we revealed this little one's gender this past week!

That meant there needed to be some changes in our household before little girl #2 gets here. The biggest change of all... mama and daddy needed their bed space back. I also felt that Penny was ready to begin to night wean - and let's be serious here - nursing through the first trimester was tough work, and the night time nursings were the first that I had to cut out in order to get the rest I needed.

So between her 15th and 18th month we began the process of fully night weaning and transitioning her to more independent sleep by having her spend as much of the night as possible in a pack n play in our bed room. Each one of those steps was met with a little bit of push back, but ultimately she adjusted within a few nights and we all started to sleep better.

The final change was when we moved into our new home. Penny got a big girl bed and I cautiously laid her down in it on our second night. She fell asleep without any worry - but I slept with baited breath. Was she going to wake up screaming, terrified, that she's in a new house, not in her pack n play and her parents are no where around? Truth be told, she woke up several times, but never once with an ounce of fear in her voice as she called for me.

As the weeks passed by, she continued to stay in her room for most of the night but the wake ups for back rubs and rocking increased. There was a 2 week stint where I think I would have gotten more sleep if I had a newborn instead of a toddler. It was rough. I had to look into options on what we can do to gently show Penny that it's time for sleep.

This photo wasn't edited - the brightness and color you see is representative of SleepBuddy at its brightest setting
When I found the SleepBuddy, I had a feeling this would be it. I had looked into other night-light timing systems / clocks, but they all had almost scary looking faces of celestial bodies and most featured a clock face. Penny is too young for a clock face and I wanted something simple, well designed and easy to understand. So the SleepBuddy arrived at our home and we put her to use!

SleepBuddy is a complete sleep system designed to help teach your children when they should be staying in bed, and when they can get up. The process is simple for you and fun for your children.

Penny's night time routine adapted to the flow of our new home. Around 7pm we start a bath, which she plays in for about 15-20 minutes. Around 7:15p her SleepBuddy light turns on, casting a gentle blue glow throughout her room. "Penny, do you see that? It's time for nigh-night!" We tell her. So we read a few books in her somewhat dim room, give some last minute kisses and hugs to Daddy. Then Penny and mama have our last few minutes of time together for the evening - usually a 20-30 minute nursing session and she usually lays down somewhat awake. Sometimes it takes a little bit of patting, singing or additional rocking.

Since establishing the presence of the SleepBuddy, Penny's night time wakings have been less frequent and much shorter. Sometimes when she wakes up she just points to the SleepBuddy and sleepily reminds me that it's 'nigh-night!' Most nights she just needs to be laid back down in her bed and given a rub for a few minutes and I can quietly exit. Our next step will be to helping her stay in bed until the SleepBuddy shuts off in the morning. I'm not sure that she is developmentally ready for it yet, but until then the 6am wake up call and snuggles in the big bed for another hour suit us just fine.

SleepBuddy was developed by fellow mom, Laura, a certified child sleep consultant. Like so many other parents, she struggled with her son refusing to stay in bed during naps and night time. She developed this very simple and easy to use light to help him and other children grow towards independent sleep. As your child grows older, you can also use the included rewards chart for positive reinforcement.

Connect with SleepBuddy via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Interested in trying one out? 

Disclosure: Thank you, SleepBuddy for helping Penny bravely transition into her own room.
Product was provided for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.


  1. We're actually going through the same transition with out little toddler. I wonder if this would actually work on him? He usually puts himself back to sleep if we don't wake up at first when he does, but he also just wakes up early whenever he wants to too haha! Definitely a neat gadget though!

    1. I was kind of afraid that this was going to be 'gimmicky' and only work for a little while, but in all honesty it has helped a lot! She transitioned pretty seamlessly and now (at 21 months) she asks for her own bed and honestly doesn't enjoy sleeping in our bed anymore. Good thing I have another one on the way to share snuggles with :)



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