Structure + routine brings freedom + flexibility (as well as a much better night’s sleep!)
The first few months of Evie’s life had been a dream!
The first baby in her coffee group to be sleeping through the night, Evie may not have been managing much in the way of day sleeps, but she was getting 12 hours of zzzzs overnight – “and I know which one I would rather!” her mum Amy laughs.
However, come the four month mark, it was as though a switch flicked.
“Evie started waking up first every four hours overnight, then three hourly, every couple of hours – and eventually each hour. We were up for close to an hour, every hour, and we had to rock her back to sleep!”
Needless to say, Amy and her husband Rick were shattered.
Not only were they not getting enough sleep, but they felt they were no longer doing Evie justice during the daytime either.
They were just too tired. Rick would sometimes have to take the day off as he was too sleep-deprived to safely drive the 40km trip into Christchurch for work. And it wasn’t just her parents who were struggling… Evie became fussy and much more needy, where she had originally been relatively content.
“I think she was just so tired that she didn’t have the patience for anything,” Amy describes.
A call for help
After more than six weeks of trying to ride it out, with the sleep situation continuing to worsen instead of get better, Amy and Rick were at their wits’ end. They were not only tired, but they felt stuck at home and alone, as Evie wasn’t happy to be cared for by other relatives.
They made a decision – and reached out to sleep consultant, Emma.
“Rick talked to Emma on the phone initially and, within a week, she came to stay for an overnight consult,” Amy explains. “I was pretty nervous in the lead up, but Emma put us at ease as soon as she walked in. She really listened and explored what would work for us – and then she made it all seem really simple.”
Emma could quickly identify where the main challenge was coming from; Evie was falling asleep in her parent’s arms and then expecting (and wanting!) to be there when she woke up again.
Because Amy and Rick had already tried a ‘pick up, put down’ method, they quickly agreed – in consultation with Emma – to try something less hands on.
The night it all changed
That first night, Emma helped Amy and Rick put Evie down without the rocking – a process which took 30 minutes to begin with.
“It was hard to sit there and listen to her cry,” Amy admits.
“But we went in at intervals and patted her, and whispered encouraging things. After she fell asleep that night, Evie only woke twice during the night – which was already a huge improvement. It was like Emma came into our house and waved a magic wand!”
However, it wasn’t all Emma’s work. Amy committed to strictly following the schedule of feed and sleep times Emma had provided for that first week – a move that gave Evie the consistency she craved and the follow through she needed. Although Amy admits that it was also much easier to maintain when the results were so positive…
“That first week, Evie slept like she never has before!
We were getting day sleeps from her finally and we had to wake her from every nap and in the morning. She was stirring no more than twice during the night and when she did, we had a technique to help her settle again quickly – no more standing in her room and rocking for an hour, hooray!”
Freedom and flexibility don’t usually come from strict routines
One of the things that Amy was most surprised by was how much more flexibility her days have now that there is a framework in place.
“I thought that adopting a routine would mean we never got to leave the house, but actually the opposite has been true,” Amy explains. “Now that Evie is better rested overall, we have a bit more freedom and it’s much easier to plan things and commit to activities with relatively set sleep times.”
It’s certainly true that things are very different now in this South Island household. Evie now wakes once – at most – in the night.
Otherwise, she sleeps through. And when she does wake, it’s for a quick feed in the dark before going easily back to sleep in her cot. Add to that the fact that Evie’s also having 3.5 hours of sleep during the day, which never happened before.
“We’ve got some normalcy back,” Amy enthuses. “Evie goes to bed at 6pm, so we can make dinner and actually talk to each other. And Evie’s so much more receptive and patient. She smiles and laughs with us and her development is amazing – it’s as though she now sees life as a curiosity.”
“The training was for us really, not for Evie,” Amy explains.
“She hasn’t really done anything differently and, honestly, I think she was so ready and waiting for us to help her figure out how to sleep on her own. That period of terrible sleep was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, and consulting with Emma truly did change our life! So many people reassured me and kept telling me that it would come right, but where we were just wasn’t sustainable – mentally or physically. Emma helped us see that it was OK to let Evie have a try of falling asleep herself, especially as we were there to reassure her along the way. We needed that – and so did Evie!”
Our Baby Sleep Program helps tired parents TO DEVELOP HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS BY FOCUSING ON NAPS, SETTLING AND NIGHT SLEEP.
- Empowered: Feel empowered as a Mum as you learn to understand your growing baby's needs and cues.
- Simple effective settling: Gentle, proven self settling, evidence based techniques.
- Content happy baby and parents: Better sleep creates content babies & happy parents.
- Freedom: Predictable routines and longer nights creates freedom. Solve your sleep problems for more freedom.
- Work with your babies circadian rhythm: Work with your babies biological clock for faster easier results.
- Awesome naps & nights: You'll create consistent naps and nights with our support.
Try our online sleep program, complete with FREE email support.
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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