Two-Year-Old Won't Sleep And Expectant Parents Are Anxious

Jenny and Greg have a two-year-old who rarely sleeps through the night and are expecting baby #2. Ingrid helps the anxious couple back off protracted sleep rituals and sleep train their toddler.


My name is Ingrid Proro. And I used to work with the sharks on Wall Street. But now I have much tougher job. [NOISE] They call me the baby sleep whisper. I'm Jenny. This is Craig. We have a two year old son, his name is Charlie. Food time is a challenge and it has been since very early on. You're gonna go to bed with that shirt? [MUSIC] Want me to put a shirt on you? No. No? He's very sensitive at night so he will be up any time he has the slightest physical comfort. [NOISE] We'll turn off the light. He's amazing at being awake. [LAUGH] He's not great at being asleep. Aw, he's over tired. I feel like I've been tired just for two years. So let's start a little bit about Charlie's history. Maybe you'll get a good week or two good weeks. [NOISE] Or he sleeps soundly through the night and then you have another week or two weeks of bad sleep. Yeah. And his bad sleep obviously affects us. It gives us bad sleep. What do you find yourself kind of on a daily basis dealing with because you are sleep deprived? You know, I haven't been able to focus on myself at all. Yes. I haven't wanted to. It's, I, I really think it's perpetuated whatever postpartum that I had. Like. Without a question. I mean I tear up just you know, you ask that question and it's like, it's affected everything. I thought this would go away after six months or after a year. He's almost two now. The best way for me to help you is for me kinda to see what your routine is, and then from there I can go on and help you react to situation. How does that sound? [LAUGH] I mean. Although we're expecting. I know, that's, well, yeah. In February. [CROSSTALK] But second time around, usually, they say you get one of each. So the second one will hopefully be better [UNKNOWN] if not, you'll have the tools. That's what we need, we need the tools. Think you'll be good to go. So, in his room, I have a towel here on the floor because I started covering the crack. Just in case. We have the black out curtains, so I have the two layers. I have them clipped together. And then I have it fun tacked along the sides here. He can't live in a pitch black environment. He has a night light. And so what I do is I adjust this chair to make sure that it's the right distance away so that it shines on this. The ceiling the same way every night. Because when he sits on it to play it pushes up against the night light and then. So I, that's something I think about a lot. Yeah. We have a fan on in the corner. So I angle it in such a way that it blows to here. This is what I go through, the checklist in my head. Okay. I was gonna say, I'm like, cuz I think it's, it's the right temperature in here that you don't even need the fan. Jenny seems like she's been traumatized by. By Charlie's bad sleep. She's reacted by trying to control every detail of his sleep environment. I see this with a lot of parents, and often, it's exactly the wrong approach. You're worried about him eating. You're doing so much for him that he's lucky. He's gonna have great parents, so. But you gotta, for your sake,. Sanity, you gotta, you have to start letting go. Those are not the reasons he's not sleeping well. Okay. That I can accept. So, just do your best. I'm going to give you a hug, and say you don't have to stress out about this so much. Because you're giving yourself I'm sweating right now. [UNKNOWN] Oh, no, no. No, no. Now it's time to get Charlie. Sleep, and that brings us to another problem. His nighttime ritual is way too long. It takes almost an hour, and it's exhausting his parents. And besides, it doesn't work. A what? It's a dog party. Oh, a dog party, that's right! Can we say night-night to the books and to the toys, and night-night to the dog [NOISE] What do you think? I just feel like he's going to be up for the next hour. My concern right now is is he gonna throw up? Charlie has a history of crying until he vomits. In situations like this I recommend that children abstain from food and drink for an hour before bedtime. Everything's weird for him right now like it's, it's a weird night, it's a different routine we usually sit and cuddle a little bit and>>And prolong that time. [NOISE] Sure. Charlie knows that if he keeps crying, his parents will come into his room and spend more time with. It's a bad habit we need to break. If I do what you guys have been doing, we'll still end up in exactly the same place where you are. Yeah. So I have to do this. Do something different. that makes sense. I have to. Or else I wouldn't be doing what I'm here to do. I don't know. I don't know what the answer is right now. I'd like to give a couple more minutes. Then one of us should go in and reassure him. Listening to your children cry and doing nothing is one of the toughest decisions a parent can make. But sometimes it's the right decision. And after a few more minutes Charlie falls asleep. He's moving around a little bit but he laid down. I'm sorry I know it's been a It's okay lot like of change, and it's Yeah, yeah no it's okay though, I see, I see the point of the end goal. One of the suggestions that I am gonna have is try to not engage once lights are off.>> I feel like he'll be sadder if I'm leaving the room and turning the lights off. It's just like shut down. So if he wakes up and it's dark and he's calling out for you, he's gonna expect engagement. But if lights are out and there's no engagement, then him calling for you in the middle of the night, he knows it's gonna produce no engagement. See what I'm saying? Yeah, it makes sense. That's where I'm trying to go with this. So ideally you would not engage him [MUSIC] After lights are out. So, how you guys feel about all that. That sounds like a good plan. Okay. Let's see what we can do. It would be great to have a little bit of a different life. The first few weeks were going to be tough and there will be more tears, but with another baby on the way these parents need to make Charlie's bed time. Time routine shorter and more effective. And I always tell parents sleep training is a lot harder on them then it is on their kids. [MUSIC]

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