Sleep Success with my son Brendan 16mths – 2.5 yrs old.
My son Brendan has always been a terrible sleeper. From the day we brought him home from the hospital we did what many new mums do with a first born baby, we rocked him to sleep, feed him to sleep, sang songs whilst rocking and swaying him to sleep, co-sleeping with him many nights cos we were too tired. This led to him being a terrible sleeper. He woke so many times a night for the first few months (4+ times) and each time I breastfed him back to sleep. We tried to get into Tresillian but the wait list was 4 months away. The sleepless nights went on for a long time…
At 12 months of age, we had enough of the sleepless nights as my husband and I were both working now so found a sleep consultant for some advise. She was highly trained, worked at Tresillian and Karitane. She told us we needed to put him in his own room because up till now he was in our bedroom, and no milk bottle at night. She advised we pat him on the bum and sing loudly over his cries till he fell asleep. We tried this for several weeks but not much changed.
The sleepless nights continued
… now he was about 15 months and the separation anxiety had kicked in. We needed to rock him to sleep each night, or he would jump and down in his cot. He was still waking up between 2-3 times each night and many nights we gave him water now instead of milk.
Now I was several months pregnant with my second child and the first trimester I already caught 2 colds and 2 rounds of gastritis probably due to my lack of sleep. and I could no long rock my toddler to sleep or hold him till he fell asleep, so I was desperate to get help again. We sought out another sleep consultant over the phone and she advised we walk in and out of the room every few minutes till he learnt to fall asleep on is own and it could take up to 2 weeks. We tried this method also and he was still waking at night. We just about gave up and thought we have a lost cause.
Then we heard about Karen from Nurture Parenting. We were referred by many mothers on Facebook and several of my clients had used her as they heard me complain about no sleep and saw how tired I was. Being pregnant, no sleep and working I was losing my mind.
We were sceptical of yet another sleep consultant
…especially my husband as he thought none of these methods work. But I knew Karen was different, she was holistic in her approach and I’m a holistic health practitioner myself. She looks at all different issues together regarding sleep; diet, clothing, room environment, behaviour. We were advised to give my now 16-month-old foods high in fat and tryptophan to help sleep, make sure he was dressed warmly at night, dark room and most importantly be consistent in the sleep training and she promised he would be sleeping through the night by end of the week. By now he had probably slept through the night maybe a few times since birth!
She taught us the Magic Presence method where we sat by his cot and ignored him till he fell asleep and repeat it if he woke up at night. The first night we did this he took just under an hour of crying before he fell asleep and woke several times but he managed to self-settle himself and slept through the night, the second night was much less crying maybe around 20 minutes, he woke few times but we also managed to resettle himself. One week later he was sleeping through without us needing to go into his room at night. We felt human again and I was finally getting some much-needed sleep before baby no 2 arrived.
Brendan was the perfect sleeper
…until the night his baby sister came home from the hospital! He was now 22 months old and had slept perfectly for the last 6 months after Karen’s sleep training. By now he was also scaling the cot and could jump out, so we decided to move him from the cot to a bed. We decided to put a mattress on his floor. Now Brendan’s sleep was starting to become undone again. He was getting fussy to put down due to his new found freedom in the room, he was dealing with a new sibling, mummy didn’t have time for him as much and he was starting to act out. We sat in his room until he fell asleep but he would muck around for up to 1 hour before bedtime and started waking up several times a night again sometimes awake for up to 2.5hrs. After calling Karen again, she told us we needed to put a security gate on his room door so he couldn’t open his door. This led to much banging in the middle of the night and waking up his poor sister many times and many nights. Each time he woke at night we rushed into his room straight away and daddy would pick him up, give him a cuddle, give him a sip of water and put him back to sleep on the mattress. Sometimes he would go back to sleep easily sometimes he would throw tantrums that lasted 1-2 hours. Most nights he woke between 2-4 times. This went on for many months, we thought that it was just a phase and he would eventually go back to the great sleeper we knew he was.
Now I was getting desperate again, with a newborn and feeding and my toddler waking up 2-5 times I barely got any sleep at night. So now we had to enlist Karen’s help again. She advised we needed to show Brendan some tough love to get him sleeping through the night again. She recommended another approach. By night 5 he was sleeping through again. He slept through for the next 5 nights and we also didn’t need to sit inside his room for up to an hour each night.
We can’t thank Karen enough for her help both times with Brendan’s sleep. Her techniques worked successfully both times and we feel human again. My husband and I are her biggest fans and we have our sleeping toddler back again! May the good sleep continue…