Support with sleep through the different stages helps to keep Charlie on track
Harriet, mum of 13 month old Charlie, attests that “we’ve had sleep problems basically from the beginning. Charlie is my first baby and I really had no idea what I was doing!”.
Charlie and Harriet’s journey with breast feeding had also been difficult and it took a while to work out what the challenges were or to get any improvements, which contributed to some of the issues they were having with Charlie’s sleep.
By the time Charlie was six months old, Harriet and her household were struggling!
“Charlie had got to the point where he was waking hourly and not drinking his day-time milk well at all,” Harriet recalls.
“He had basically flipped his days and nights around! We’d been away a bit and we were just doing what we could to cope, so that he wasn’t keeping everyone up. I would give him a bottle when he woke and knew that I had then created a ‘feed to sleep’ association, but I wasn’t sure how to break it.”
Harriet was ready for help and knew that a more personalised approach would be the best option for her.
“I’m not really a person who sits and reads for hours, so having a consultant was the best option for me. Even regardless of the thousands of books out there, I figured a sleep consultant would be able to help me with my specific child and what was happening for us.”
She wasn’t wrong!
Supporting Charlie to self-settle
Harriet reached out to book a phone consult with baby sleep consultant Chelle.
Chelle took the time to understand more about both Charlie and his temperament, as well as Harriet’s parenting style, and was able to tailor a technique that would work for them and support Charlie to settle to sleep on his own.
“Charlie’s day sleeps were pretty good and we had some routines that worked well, but we needed to make some tweaks to these to improve his all-important night sleeping,” Harriet explains.
“Chelle helped us with these tweaks and was always really respectful of how I wanted to do things.
I suffer from chronic back pain, so leaning over the cot to settle Charlie was a challenge. Chelle took this into account in tailoring an approach I could do.”
The first few nights were challenging, but Harriet stuck it out with Chelle’s support. “I kept reading my notes and texts from Chelle and then would check in with her in the morning. I knew I was doing the right thing – sleep is so important for all of us. Charlie would get more upset when I was in there trying to settle him, so we knew he needed space and the opportunity to learn to self-settle. Chelle helped me to still support him in doing this, whereas I had previously been stopping him from developing this skill himself.”
On night four of sleep training Charlie slept through the night. “I couldn’t believe it!” Harriet exclaims. “We’d agreed to try ditching Charlie’s dummy at the same time, and I was sure that this would mean the process took longer, but it all clicked in with him so much more quickly than I thought.”
The second time just needed a short reset
After many great months of sleeping through, Harriet could tell things were starting to go slowly downhill.
“I wasn’t really sure how or why – and I held off for a while on reaching out to Chelle because we were moving house and Charlie was teething. I had it in my head that you shouldn’t sleep train while they’re teething, but we’ve definitely proven that theory wrong!”
When Harriet did reach out to Chelle, Chelle explained that it was natural and normal for babies to hit bumps along the way as they go through different developmental stages and different habits start creeping in.
The good news was that because Harriet and Charlie had all the tools already, all they needed was a little tune up to get back on track.
“Chelle has so much knowledge and talked me through Charlie’s days. She was able to pick up on little things again, and once we changed those, it all made sense and worked again!
She was like a miracle on the end of my phone and being able to flick her a text and reassure myself that I should or shouldn’t be doing something was invaluable.”
The real value in having support
Knowing what supports are helping or hindering your baby takes time, and all babies are different.
“Even the little bits of advice that Chelle gave us – whether they were directly to do with sleeping or not – all made such a huge difference. Consultants do this all day and really do have a great deal of knowledge – they see so many babies, so they have an answer for all the different quirks that come with different babies.”
“I think as mums we have great intuition – even if it takes a while for us to feel as though this kicks in, or until we’re able to trust it!” Harriet laughs.
“To some extent, I knew what I needed to do – but I also needed someone who was still capable of thinking straight to help me work through the options and then to hold me accountable. Chelle did that!”
And the proof is in the pudding.
“Charlie now eats a good breakfast, lunch and dinner, has one bottle at night and sleeps through virtually every night. He’s such a happy baby and life most definitely feels more manageable for all of us now. I couldn’t have done it without Chelle – thank you!”
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.
- 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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