Sam was 9 months old and slept with a dummy when his mum called us. She had less than 10 days until she was due back at work and her baby boy was still waking frequently at night, and his naps were so unpredictable that daycare was struggling to follow his lead and know when to allow him to nap.
Mum was feeling nervous about leaving Sam full time and returning to work, and she was exhausted. 9 months of a difficult pregnancy and then 9 months of broken sleep was taking its toll.
We spoke about Sam’s sleep associations and found out he loved his dummy, but lay there expecting it to be bough to him when he lost it at night. Mum was sure I would remove his dummy from the equation…but at 9 months I assured mum Sam was more than capable of finding and replacing his own dummy and we didn’t need to take it away.
Since Sam was in daycare 3 days a week getting ready for full time, we made the decision to cut back to two mornings a week for a few days to give mum a chance to work on establishing a good nap routine at home, which daycare could then follow.
Naps had always been challenging for Sam, and this theme continued into the first couple of days of sleep training. Over night Sam was grizzling and even crying at times, but he was successfully finding his own dummy and going back to sleep within 3 days.
We decided together on night 4 to drop Sam’s one last night feed, mum was feeling confident that Sam wasn’t hungry and that he could self settle. I warned her that tonight might be tough, but mum was ready.
Sam didn’t bat an eye lid at being denied a feed, he self settled like a champion and slept all night!
Feeling the working week deadline looming we looked closely at the timing of Sam’s solids and moved it a bit further away from his scheduled naps as I felt this was possibly having an impact on his ability to consolidate his lunch nap.
This worked brilliantly and Sam began to gradually extend his nap from 45 minutes to over 1.5 hours. The naps took another 10 days to really settle down, but mum was well rested for her start at work, and she noted Sam’s temperament completely changed over the course of the week.
“He was a happy baby before sleep training, but now I see he was happy because I carried him a lot and worked hard to entertain him, signs I now know mean he is tired! He is so smiley and happy, and loves to play and explore with me near by. He doesn’t need me to carry him around all morning while I get ready for work, he happily crawls after me, and babbles away. He has begun to surf the furniture and seems to be developing in leaps and bounds, even daycare noticed how much happier and easier he is at daycare. So thank you so much! It is clear everyone needed some more sleep!”
Sam and Megan (Mum).