April 18, 2016
Our first baby was an excellent sleeper. By 12 weeks old, she was sleeping 12 hours straight through the night. She was that rare type of baby who didn’t want to be rocked to sleep; she would just want to be put to bed and we wouldn’t hear from her until the next morning. She was an excellent napper too.
I met Deborah at a mother’s group when our first babies were newborns and we instantly became friends. Fast forward, 5 ½ years later to when my son was born and he couldn’t have been a more opposite baby than our daughter was. Once we got past the newborn stage, we couldn’t get him to nap longer than 30 minutes at a time and he was pretty much up most nights 6-8 times a night. He had to be rocked or nursed to sleep. He looked so tired all the time and we for sure were exhausted!
Around when our son was 4 months old, Deborah offered to help us sleep train our son. As an attachment parent who breastfeeds, wears my baby, co-slept with him as a newborn, I was very reluctant to sleep train him because I thought that meant letting him cry it out, which my husband and I were very against. So we continued on in a hopeless state of exhaustion. The day before our son turned 6 months, Deborah was visiting and she just saw how weary and exhausted I was, physically and mentally, and again offered her help, assuring me that her method was gentle and our son would not be crying it out. This time, I took her up on the offer. She sent us a very detailed plan, walking us through every step.
The biggest goal was to have him lose his sleep associations of nursing or rocking to sleep and be able to put himself to sleep. This would reduce his night awakenings because he would be able to put himself back to sleep and also get him to nap longer than 30 minutes. Deborah also helped us put him on a feeding schedule. Deborah assured us all along that everything was at our pace and comfort level.
We started the process and saw results the same day! By his 3rd nap, he put himself to sleep with no crying! We were truly amazed. It took a few nights, but he was also putting himself to sleep at bedtime too. His night awakenings reduced to 1-2 times a night and it was just to eat and he would go right back to sleep. The length of his naps got longer too to where they were considered a real nap and not just a catnap.
We were truly amazed by the whole process and so grateful to Deborah for all her help and support. The first week she was constantly communicating with us, answering questions and just cheering us on. It has been 6 weeks and there have been occasional setbacks because of teething, travel etc but we have the tools now to get right back on track. This was the best thing we did for our entire family!