Sleep, sleep, glorious sleep – why did you leave? Come back, all is forgiven!
After last night’s post about deciding to call in the professionals and get help from a baby sleep consultant, we had one of the worst nights yet! All seemed well when he settled shortly after going down. Hubs and I had a nice evening watching telly before hitting the sack. At 12:30am I was jolted awake by the cries of my little dude and then all hell proceeded to break loose! We tried the usual rocking, bottle, Pamol, we tried walking with him, bringing him in to our bed, chilling out in the lounge – nothing worked. We were seriously at our wits end! Finally he decided he was ready for some sleep at 5am – yes 5am!! Poor Daddy Mac had to get up for work at 6:30am. Luckily I have an awesome employer and thought I’ll let the little guy sleep and grab some shut-eye myself and we can head off a bit late today but no, 7am on the dot, wide awake! Needless to say it’s been a pretty crappy day and I couldn’t wait until our phone consultation with the baby sleep consultant tonight!
The baby sleep consultant called right on time (punctual, I like that) and immediately she made me feel a sense of calm – like we were actually doing something positive to get this sleep thing back on track! We had sent her as much information as possible beforehand and it was obvious she had read it thoroughly. Right from the start it was clear she was taking a holistic approach. The first part of our discussion was understanding what our issues were – the ‘sleep problems’ we wanted to address. She didn’t just assume to know what we were struggling with. For example, the bottle we give him during the night – did we want to stop that or were we happy to continue? She then asked us lots of questions about things like his weight and had we ever had trouble with it, his diet, his personality, our ‘rituals’ and our parenting philosophy.
Next the baby sleep consultant explained various techniques that should help with our problems. The techniques ranged from ‘gentle’ to ‘controlled crying’. The whole way through she stopped to let us ask questions and check that we understood each method. I must be honest – this is not at all what I was expecting. It was more ‘you tell me how you want to tackle this and I’ll give you the tools’ rather than, ‘well, this is the issue and this is how to solve it’. From the outset I was impressed (and honestly, surprised) by her knowledge, thoughtfulness, flexibility and understanding. She really listened and offered both sensible and practical solutions.
The next step is for her to send through a complete action plan summarising what we spoke about and then we get started! We will keep a daily log of his sleep, diet, activities etc. for a week and send this through to her each day. We will have access via phone and email. She is also going to consult with a nutritionist on a couple of aspects of his diet just in case there are any issues there.
I took notes furiously during the 40 minute phone call. Some of the key points I noted:
- Magnesium (from things like spinach, silverbeet, Epsom salts in the bath) may assist with calming the central nervous system. (I’ve since done a little research and found magnesium deficiency has been linked to several insomnia-inducing conditions, including restless leg syndrome (RLS) and night terrors. Read more on the Baby Sleep site.)
- An earlier bedtime may help combat early wake ups (sleep promotes sleep).
- As his age, Baby Mac can understand that daycare and home ‘rituals’ can be different – he is old enough to know ‘home is home’ and ‘daycare is daycare’.
- Have the ‘wind-down ritual’ the same for naps and bedtime (excluding bath, of course).
- Ensure all wake ups are ‘dramatic’. When it’s time to wake up for the day pull back the curtains, big smiles, “we’re so happy to start the day!” Don’t start the day as a result of simply giving in to his crying.
- Role play with a teddy or doll – put teddy in his sleep sack and tuck him in to bed. Let Baby Mac see how happy you are that teddy is having a sleep in his bed.
- Allow a minimum of 20-30 mins between bottle and bed to end the feeding to sleep association.
So all in all I am feeling much more positive. Still exhausted but positive. Sometimes simply having a plan is enough to make me feel like half the battle is already won.
Daddy Mac’s thoughts on the baby sleep consultant’s plan: “sounds good.” He’s a man of few words, my hubby.