On Thursday I saved a mum’s sanity. This week I got a desperate message from a mum I know. She was sleep deprived and beyond exhausted.
Every mum and dad worries about sleep training and what it’s going to be like.
Will their baby cry for hours? How will they cope? Will they cave on night one or have the inner strength needed to see it through? And what about cortisol, will it flood their baby’s delicate brain and damage it forever? Will their baby even like them again after doing this to them? This blog post will answer all these things that you all worry about and I think it will change your mind as well as addressing your fears about it.
I’d helped with this mum’s baby when he was 4 months old. He’d derailed with reflux, food intolerance and illness. She felt like life was out of control and I could see she was on the edge. Luckily I’d had a cancellation at the last minute because another baby I was booked to see was sick. I knew I could help her and I couldn’t stand by and let her go under.
So off I went for a night of sleep training and couch surfing and it was one of the coldest nights in a very long time, brrrr!
And night one was tricky.
This six month old, Baby L vented at me and his mum, despite our attention and cuddles. Baby L already had a very loud protest at four months so he didn’t surprise me. Finally at 10:30pm he decided to go to sleep. Anticipating a tricky night, me and mum raced for a snooze. I was so cold I even had my hat and gloves on, as well as a big doona. Me and winter don’t get on at all (I have Reynauds – the cold hand and feet thing!)
The next peep we heard from baby L was 1:30am. We dressed him in another layer as it was cold and did the sleep training method and within 40 minutes and mild protest, baby L was fast asleep. We’d taken 2 night feeds away from him so I was expecting more of a rant than I got!
Again we raced for our beds, grateful for any shut eye that night one can give you.
Next thing I heard Baby L chatting happily away in his cot at 4:30am, no crying just a happy six month old baby chat. Within 10 minutes he was fast asleep. Wow! Mum and I laid there in our respective beds, stunned not believing our ears!
Next thing we knew it was 6:45am! And again Baby L woke happily, chirping away like a bird! He greeted me and his mum with a beaming smile. He guzzled his first feed of the day and ate breakfast followed by an eight minute mild protest before his morning nap and then a six minute mild protest for his afternoon nap!!
Mum was stunned!
Night 2 – Report from mum
“Hi Karen, he went really well! Stirred a bit at midnight but put himself back to sleep within a few minutes and then slept through to 5am. I fed him then, thinking we would start the day but he still seemed tired so I put him back down and he slept until 6:30. Tomorrow if he wakes early I won’t feed and will just resettle. He put up a fight this morning and it took an hour but not such serious crying so it wasn’t too bad.”
Night 3 – Report from mum
“Karen he slept all the way through! From 7:30pm to 6:30am!! What a surprise. And going down for each of his naps has been very easy. He has only protested once or twice. Otherwise he just chats to himself for a few minutes and then is asleep!” We have travelled to X today tho’ so we are a bit out of routine and he will be sleeping in a porta cot so hopefully we don’t have any issues. Fingers crossed!”
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Doesn’t that blow you away?! I find the six month old babies are much easier than the seven to eight month old ones. It’s that pesky wonder week of six to eight months that gives them separation anxiety. If you’re thinking about sleep training try and do it at six months rather than leave till later. I think you’d find it a much easier experience.
Some further reading below