I finally had my call with a sleep expert to see if she could help me with our toddler’s no sleep situation. As you recall, he wakes up every hour after 3am calling for me. The brown bags under my eyes look like permanent tattoos. But I don’t want to complain, though I do it so well.

I’ve been weary about calling a sleep expert for two years, because I thought their only solution was to let them cry. I can’t even let a lobster cry in a hot steamer, let alone my baby.

But I’m desperate and did I mention those eyes? Most sleep experts cost from $500-$650 to work with them over a week or two, which is a bit steep for me. Then again, some might pay anything to be able to sleep through the night again.

On a local Facebook mom’s group, Lauren Lauppen was recommended so I gave her call and told her about my situation. I also asked her if she could work with me on her price. Doesn’t hurt to ask right? She offered to get on the phone with me and share advice for $50 for 30 minutes. Sounded like a great idea to me.

We spoke this morning and at first I was skeptical. “Is she really going to be able to give me good advice that’s right for me in 30 minutes?” I wondered. But it was actually nice to speak with her and get some support. She’s also a mom and had real experience helping families find their sleep. In 30 minutes I felt pretty satisfied with her help and have a plan, though um, yes, it might involve letting my sweet boy cry. Help us all!

Here are some of the tips she shared:

Shift Bedtime
Toddlers need to go to bed four hours from when they wake up from their nap. We were putting our boy to bed at 8:30pm recently, which might explain the many wakes up during the night. She recommended that we move it earlier to 7:30pm and 8:00pm the latest. If kids go to bed at all overtired they experience restless sleep.

Use that Monitor 
Instead of going into your little ones room to soothe them down, try talking into a monitor and telling them to go back to sleep. This way, at least you won’t have to get out of bed. Sounds like a stretch but it might work. You never know till you try?

Photo Pillow or Shirt
Lauren said some of her clients have tried creating a pillow with a photo of their family on it and putting it in the crib so their kids feel reassured at night. It’s easy to get a pillow like this made on Wallmart.com. You can also put a photo in a soft picture frame in their crib too. Also, try giving your child one of your used shirts to cuddle with at night. Just ask them if they would like to hold onto mommy’s shirt at night if they need you.

Wait a Minute or Two
Before you run to their room as soon as your child cries. Wait a minute or two. You would be surprised how many times your child is just making noises in his or her sleep. Give it a good couple minutes before jumping out of bed and see if your child might settle down.

Cry it Out
If all else fails, Lauren suggests that we don’t go into our boy’s room at all till 6am. She did say that this phase might work itself out, but that can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 months. She thinks if we give it 2-3 nights of letting him cry, he will learn to sleep through the night.

Of course, I will not be able to complete the Cry it Out method on my own. In fact, I will have to let my husband do it. He’s much emotionally stronger and can handle the crying. I will spend a night or two at a friend’s drinking wine while it all goes down. I know, I’m wimp!

First, we will try the earlier bedtime and photo in his crib and hope for the best. A friend reminds me that if we let him cry, we are giving him the gift of sleep, which he needs to grow and be happy. I reminded her, my husband will give him the gift and we will drink wine. Wish us luck!