A little night owl makes the switch

For Waikato-based mum Annette and her husband, day-to-day life was intense with two littlies. Their son, Kaleb, and daughter, Carly, were just 13 months apart, and they were right in the thick of the baby and early toddler stages.

“I had been following Baby Sleep Consultant on Facebook for some time and got lots of handy tips, but after my daughter arrived and we’d got through the newborn fog, it was my toddler’s sleep habits that were giving us problems,” Annette recalls.

Having learnt from her experience with Kaleb (then 20 months), Annette had managed to get six month old Carly used to sleeping in her bassinet next to the bed.

“My son was still in the bed with me and my husband was mostly on a mattress on the floor.” It was cosy, and not the ideal situation for anyone, but that wasn’t all.

“Kaleb wouldn’t settle to sleep in the evening until 11pm or even often midnight! I needed to lie with him and cuddle him to sleep, which could take 30 to 40 minutes – and if I managed to get him down any earlier, he would wake at least a couple of times before midnight. From midnight, however he would sleep through until 9am, so that’s when we’d all start our day.”

To some extent, this was working for them; Annette’s husband worked until late in the evening, so they were all on a similar schedule, however the late nights were beginning to wear Annette down.

“I was so tired that I wasn’t doing anything much during the day and could tell I’d fallen into a rut. I didn’t feel like I was giving anyone my best.”

REACHING OUT FOR HELP

The decision to do something to help change their sleep situation wasn’t made easily.

Annette had tried several things, including the idea of starting the day earlier to try to bring everything back, but nothing had worked yet.

Annette’s parenting style could best be described as ‘going with the flow’ and the thought of a routine scared her. “I didn’t think I could stick to one, as I really liked to just go with the flow, but I had got to the point where I knew that something had to change.

Luckily my husband was supportive too!”

When Annette reached out to Baby Sleep Consultant she was put in touch with Becky.

“I definitely thought I would need an in-home visit, as I had tried putting Kaleb in his cot and it was a nightmare; he would scream and I didn’t want to do that.”

However, an initial phone call with Becky set Annette’s mind at ease that perhaps they could tackle it that way.

“As I was explaining to Becky what was happening, she could pre-empt what else was occurring – she totally got it!” Annette recalls.

“We agreed on a gentle approach, which definitely suited me better and Becky assured me she would create a plan that gave approximate times for things. I asked her lots of questions related to Carly too, and it was definitely worth it to get a plan for how to fit the two – at different ages and stages – together in a way that worked.”

SLEEP STRATEGIES FOR A NOCTURNAL WEE FELLOW

Despite waking at 9am, Kaleb had still been (quite willingly) going down for a two hour lunch nap at midday. Becky’s first suggestion was to delay that until closer to 2pm and stretch his morning awake time to be a bit longer. The pair also agreed on an 8pm bedtime (and 8am ideal wake time) so planned the rest of the routine from there.

“The later lunchtime nap took a while for him to get used to, but he was OK with it,” Annette confides.

“The other daytime change was dropping some bottles. He really loves milk, so was probably having too much by that stage, so we’ve stuck with one only when he’s going down for a nap and at bedtime. He’s eating more as a result; his appetite has emerged!”

Lastly, there was the matter of getting Kaleb to sleep in his cot. Annette started with the cot side down and his cot attached to the side of her bed.

“The idea was that I would gradually each time get a bit further away from him,” Annette explains.

“As he got happier going to bed, we could eventually put the side back up and then we got to the point where I could even leave the room and pop back in to check on him – that was huge!”

EVENINGS RECLAIMED

Soon Kaleb was not only settling earlier, but was sleeping through solidly.

“That 8pm bedtime has made such a big difference!” Annette admits.

“Even for my relationship, because I hadn’t really had any time with my husband. He still sometimes comments that he misses having him up with us in the evening, but it’s nice to spend some time just the two of us. I feel as though I have some sanity back because I get some time to myself. I have more energy during the day too; I’ve even started exercising, which I couldn’t have done when I wasn’t getting enough sleep!”

COMMITMENT AND CONFIDENCE

Once Annette had committed to sleep training, she went all in.

“I pretty much stayed at home for the two weeks of doing the plan, so that I could see it through. I think both consistency and the timings of everything were what made it work.”

For Annette though, the real value came in confidence.

“Having some sort of routine, and appropriate timings, meant that I felt more confident putting the kids down and I knew where they were at. I had a better guess whether they were hungry; I could tell what their cry might be telling me. I also learnt a lot about different children’s temperaments. I can leave my daughter to cry for a few minutes more easily than I can with my son, because they’re so different.”

“We’ve found a good mix of what works for me, and for each of them – and Becky helped me to get there. She was supportive and never judgmental as she tailored something that would work for me. It was definitely money well spent.”

— TESTIMONIAL:

“Thanks for everything you have done. I had sat and watched your page for a year with my son who was a bad sleeper, but with two kids now I finally took the plunge.

My son stayed up till 12pm every night with us and was a nightmare if I tried to put him down early. He feared his cot like crazy and had been co-sleeping with us for a year and a half.

I was tired and getting frustrated at night. I had tried so many options and feared routine, but Becky was able to tailor a sleeping programme that fitted me and my family and the routine – or rather timing options – has allowed me to know what is upsetting my children and what they need. I find my son’s nutrition intake has also increased.

Now when we have setbacks I have the tools to try and get him back on track. I finally have time to myself.

It took at least a week of consistency but has made a huge difference! He responded way better than I imagined to the small changes and the gentle approach made me comfortable too, which allowed me to be consistent and commit.

Thanks for everything.”

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Our Baby Sleep Program helps tired parents TO DEVELOP HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS BY FOCUSING ON NAPS, SETTLING AND NIGHT SLEEP.

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  • Simple effective settling: Gentle, proven self settling, evidence based techniques.
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My baby has reflux can you help?

When your baby has reflux, feeds can be difficult and your baby can be in a lot of pain both during and after feeds. This pain can cause feeding aversions and failure to thrive. This is why true GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) needs to be treated by a doctor. Once your baby’s doctor is satisfied your baby is feeding well, and you have the right medication or formula then we can start a sleep plan and you will be successful.

My baby has colic will this help?

Colic is defined as 3 or more hours of crying per day in infants. Crying subsides in the second second trimester. If you are still experiencing colic symptoms speak to your baby’s doctor about whether this could be reflux, an allergy, or over tiredness. We can help you work on better sleep with this program at the same time as your doctor investigates the pain and crying.

What if the program isn’t working?

We have a dedicated help line to ensure your success. Just email our team via the details in your program and a certified, experienced and friendly sleep consultant is ready to stare you in the right direction to ensure your success!

My baby was born early, can you help?

Sleep is neurological so we always work off your babies neurological age, that is their corrected age. When you look at our sleep programs purchase the program that your babies corrected age fits into.

What if I have questions or need more help?

Our sleep programs come with private email support. You don’t have to post in any public forums or groups, just email the exclusive helpline that our team of certified sleep consultants look after and we’ll answer all your questions and help you on your way.

Can this program help with my babies night sleep?

Yes, all our online sleep programs contain night sleep plans. We will teach you how to move from multiple night feeds to 2 or 1 or none (depending on what is age appropriate and appropriate for your baby.) Don’t worry we will show you to figure this out too. If your baby is unsettled at night but not feeding, our plans will help you with consolidate night sleep and self settling when age appropriate.

My baby is cat napping can you help?

Cat napping is a very normal physiological stage that your baby goes through. At this stage (3-8 months old), cat napping can start to be a long term issue and compound into over tiredness and affect night sleep and your babies happiness. Good news, this is a great age to work on re-settling, self settling and better longer naps!

I have 3 children, can this work with my family?

I totally understand how busy life is with 2, 3 or more children! Even if you need a flexible schedule we can still work on settling regular naps (some on the go!), and better evenings and night. Flick our consultants any specific questions about your family’s schedule of activities and we can help you work out what is possible nap wise.

I don’t want a fixed routine, can you still help?

Yes. A fixed routine is one option, regular naps and regular awake times is another. Both are valid and you are welcome to do what works for your family. We understand you are all different and what works best for one family won’t be best for another.

I’m formula feeding, can you still help?

Yes we have specific advice for formula feeding parents, and we support your decision to feed any way you choose. We even have a special video series on formula feeding and everything you need to know. Just ask our consultants about this extra if you need it.

I’m exclusively breastfeeding, can I follow your plans?

Yes! While breastfeeding babies need to feed frequently they still need quality sleep day and night. We have specific advice for breastfeeding mums and an exclusive discount on Julia Daleys breastfeeding course if you need extra help.

I’m bed sharing, can your program help me stop?

Yes. We often fall into bed sharing, we call this reactive bed sharing. Or we have simply changed our mind, and moving on from bed sharing we need some support. Our programs and consults will guide you through gentle sleep methods, which are more appropriate for most bed sharing babies who are moving towards independent sleep in the cot.

I’m feeding to sleep, can you help me stop?

Yes. Feeding to sleep is a common sleep association and one that works well for lots of newborns. Often we need to move on from feeding to sleep when it starts to cause short naps, or prolonged settling or frequent night wake ups as baby looks for their association to go back to sleep over and over again at night. We can teach you how to teach your baby to self settle and move on from feeding to sleep when the time is right.

I’m rocking to sleep, is their a solution?

Yes. These are common sleep associations, we refer to this as assisting to sleep. Let us show you ways you can develop independent sleep and settling strategies with our online sleep program, or one on one consult.

Is this program based on Cry It Out?

No. Cry it out is the common name for a sleep training method where you put baby down and don’t respond or check until they are fast asleep. There is no CIO involved in this program as we feel this should be only done under proper supervision. Instead we have included all our very gentle approaches and more mainstream techniques for you to choose from.

Is this based on Science or Art?

Both! As a scientist I (Emma) have spent over 8 years researching the science of sleep. I have educated and certified over 500 consultants around the world as sleep consultants, and have worked with thousands of clients. I love the scientific explanations of why we see the sleep patterns we see, and this science helps us to shape plans and solutions that we know will work. But there’s an element of art to getting a baby to sleep, understanding the right combination of things that will work best, and this is where your instinct comes in.

Emma Purdue

Emma is the owner and founder of Baby Sleep Consultant, she is a certified infant and child sleep consultant, Happiest Baby on the block educator, has a Bachelor of Science, and Diploma in Education. Emma is a mother to 3 children, and loves writing when she isn’t working with tired clients and cheering on her team helping thousands of mums just like you.

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Originally published here