From chronic cat napping and broken nights to sleeping through. How did we do it?
Chronic cat napping, and 2 hourly wake ups at night.
8 month old Tom is a healthy, physically advanced little dude, but he was having some challenges with sleeping, which were starting to drive his Mum up the wall.
While Tom was often able to settle himself to sleep for naps, he was also a chronic catnapper – often only sleeping for 30 minutes at a time during the day – and he was waking every couple of hours overnight, and needing to be fed back to sleep.
Tom had a dummy and, with his advanced dexterity, was usually able to replace this himself. However, with sometimes five wake ups and breastfeeds overnight, Tom’s Mum was worn down; she knew that Tom was overtired and not getting the sleep that he needed.
Calling in the cavalry
Tom’s cot shared a room with his Mum, and she had already tried some ‘spaced soothing’, as well as a few other ‘in the room’ methods, however she admitted that while she knew the theory, she didn’t feel overly confident to follow through and be consistent with resettling at night.
Tom’s Mum booked Christchurch-based consultant Holly for a 12 hour overnight consult and, while she was nervous initially, the duo got on really well and had a great rapport – making an awesome team to start tackling Tom’s sleep challenges.
After talking through the various methods for settling and sleep coaching, Tom’s Mum decided that the ‘spaced soothing’ approach was still the best one for them. Because Tom was a fairly spirited little fellow, an ‘out of the room’ method was preferred as he had a higher need than some for clear boundaries. It was also important to break his strong (especially at night-time) ‘feed to sleep’ association, and Tom’s Mum knew that it would be easier for her to cope with changing their habits if she wasn’t in the room with him.
Sometimes referred to as controlled crying, spaced soothing consists of set intervals with the parent out of the room, before they go in to check and console (often with a cuddle). While it’s not stressful for the child, it can be for the parent, so Tom’s Mum appreciated having Holly there for physical and emotional support. Every time Tom woke through the night she would leave the room and sit out in the lounge with Holly, before going together to let Tom know they were there.
Turning the corner
While that first night followed many of Tom’s normal patterns, his Mum and Holly were able to implement the sleep methods they had agreed were best for Tom and the next day he had his first 1.5 hour nap; a great start! Over the next week, Tom’s Mum worked hard to stick to her guns and follow the agreed plan. Even while sleeping in the same room as Tom, she managed to get him down to only one feed during the night. Applying the same principles during the day – as well as working more to what she’d learnt about baby’s natural biological nap windows – meant that his day-time sleeps improved immeasurably.
Tom’s Mum’s success very much reflects her understanding that you get out of sleep coaching what you’re prepared to put in. She really wanted a change and was willing to commit to the effort that took in the short-term. The results paid off!
Tom’s Mum said: “We had Holly come for a 12 hour overnight consult and can’t believe we didn’t do it sooner! Our 8 month old was having short cat naps (that he fought and screamed to try and avoid) and was waking every 1-2 hours. Thanks to Holly he now goes straight to sleep almost every time he’s put down, naps for much longer, and only wakes one time to feed at night. He even slept through (12.5 hours) for the first time last night! The follow up support has been incredible, and it has been so obvious that Holly genuinely loves her job and cares about her clients! Thank you so much Holly, you’ve been an absolute life saver.”
We offer in home day and night consults across NZ and Australia. Our phone consults are comprehensive and popular, especially at busy times of the year.
We have smaller packages such as email consultations, and gentle no cry sleep guides, as well as our newborn and 3-6 month sleep and settling guides all of which can be purchased immediately.
We are NZ’s biggest team of certified infant and child sleep consultants. I developed Baby Sleep Consultant in response to a demand for reliable and evidence based baby and toddler sleep help. As a team we have helped over 20,000 families around the world achieve the sleep they need.
Sleep is a biological necessity, not a luxury!
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