Giving baby Bradley, the gift of consistent, solid sleep
For some babies, good sleep at any time seems to be elusive. For 10 month old Bradley, it was just night-time that was the challenge.
While Bradley’s day naps were a dream, he was waking between four and six times overnight. “He would go to sleep well at bedtime, but woke lots – after only one or two sleep cycles,” his mum Anna explains.
Anna was feeding him on some of his wake ups, and using resettling techniques on others, but it was all starting to wear a little thing.
Crunch time came when Anna started back at work. “I was back part-time for six weeks before transitioning to full-time, and I was struggling,” Anna shares.
The action came when Anna heard from one of her friends who had enlisted support from Baby Sleep Consultant. “I had been trying to improve things myself, and cutting down to one feed overnight, from two.
However, my friend told me about things improving dramatically in just one week,” Anna recalls. “I felt like this was my window of opportunity to get it sorted and truly I don’t think I could have gone back to work full-time if I hadn’t.”
A leap of faith
Anna started with an initial chat with Waikato-based sleep consultant Becky before booking in for a full phone consultation. “Becky asked lots of questions about what we were doing now and the kinds of issues we were having,” Anna explains.
“There were lots of things that felt like big changes suggested during that phone call, which felt fairly confronting, but after she gave her recommendations, she said it was up to us to decide what we wanted to try.”
Becky’s approach consisted of dropping that remaining night feed, and trying a spaced soothing settling technique, with timed intervals in between attempts to soothe Bradley.
She also suggested removing the Safe T Sleep they had been using, so that Bradley was free to roll over onto his tummy to settle himself (as Anna believed that he was trying to do).
The final recommendation was going one way or the other completely with a cuddly.
Following some research surrounding loose items left in the cots of young babies, Anna had been letting Bradley fall asleep with his cuddly, and then removing it from his sleep area later. “The suggestion of leaving it there, or not letting him have it at all was probably the most challenging one for me to get my head around,” Anna admits. “However, Becky took my concerns on board and went to do some extra research – attaching some of the US articles she came across when she sent through our plan, in order to set my mind more at ease.”
Going all in
Trusting the professional, Anna and her husband decided to go all in.
They set about implementing all of the changes that Becky had suggested, as well as changing Bradley to the other spare room in their house, which would hopefully allow him a quieter sleep with less household disturbances. “It really was a lot of disruption for him to take on all at once,” Anna asserts.
Bradley, however, loved some of the changes. “He loved taking off the Safe T Sleep and being allowed to sleep on his tummy and he loved having the cuddly there when he woke through the night – I think those things alone helped him link his sleep cycles more from day one.”
And in fact, those first two nights were amazing.
Despite Anna’s anxious extra time spent watching the monitor, Bradley slept through the night for the first time ever.
The novelty soon wore off though as Bradley realised he was missing a night feed, and started expressing his displeasure in the spaced soothing approach. “On the third night, he spent at least two – maybe even closer to three – full hours protesting; that was pretty tough!” Anna recalls.
“Night four wasn’t so bad, with under an hour before he went back to sleep and by night five, he started really getting better. I think he could tell that something had changed. It was a lot for him to process though; sometimes it was his Dad going in to resettle him. We took turns more and Bradley wasn’t always having me there to feed him.”
From night six, Bradley slept right through again and has been doing 11+ hours fairly consistently for the four months since. Having a plan that works has made a big difference, as even when Bradley was sick and wanted more comfort one night, he went straight back to a solid sleep the following night.
A “game-changer” all round
For Anna and her husband, the improvement to their sleep has been huge; “An absolute game-changer. We’ve tried to recommend sleep training to some other friends who aren’t able to get much consistency around sleep, and they haven’t gone for it.
Having done this now, I don’t know how you could not…”
It’s not only from the point of view of her own wellbeing that Anna says that either.
She’s also noticed changes in Bradley, which she credits to the fact that he is now receiving the gift of solid, consistent sleep.
“Bradley was always a pretty happy wee boy, but he’s even happier now. When he was overtired, he was almost a bit wired, or edgy. Now he’s so much more consistent.” Anna shares.
“I’ve done some research around how children’s brain synapses form while they are having sustained, quality sleep and I’m so glad he’s getting the full benefit of that now.”
As well as improved sleep and all the great brain benefits, Anna also appreciated the other tools and handouts that Becky was able to provide.
“At the end of our couple of weeks, Becky gave us a solids guide for his age and stage. I’m still breastfeeding, so this has been really helpful for us to work out how I fit this around food too.” Another happy parent!
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.
Our Baby Sleep Program helps tired parents TO DEVELOP HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS BY FOCUSING ON NAPS, SETTLING AND NIGHT SLEEP.
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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.
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