Could sleep get any worse than this?
A few weeks ago I had a phone call from a mum and the first thing she said to me was: “Emma, I have the worst sleeper in the world. The worst! My baby just won’t sleep, no matter what I do. I’ve tried everything. I’m desperate!”
At seven months you might reasonably expect your baby to be getting some pretty good long stretches of sleep at night and some decent naps in the day. But this was not the case at all with baby Ava.
All night long Ava would wake crying every one to two hours. Her poor mum Alison would get out of bed once again and feed her back to sleep. This was happening at least 7 times at night.
Completely exhausted, she would very often bring Ava into her bed during the night just to get some more sleep. Anything to get some more sleep!
Ava’s dad had long ago resorted to sleeping in the spare bedroom. Alison told me that he was feeling extremely tired and resentful towards their current situation. She was also worried about his mental health as he had recently said he was starting to feel depressed.
Exhausted, depleted and ready for change
Alison had tried many things to try and get some decent sleep for herself and her baby. These included trying to follow routines from various books, downloading routines from the internet, following advice from her well-meaning friends and buying many, many baby products that were supposed to help her baby sleep. Nothing was working. Utterly exhausted and frustrated eventually Alison realised it was time for a complete change.
That’s when she called After the Stork. I was so glad that she did! We organised a home consultation where I had time to observe the environment and get a really good understanding of what Ava’s day looked like and how they operated. She had the opportunity to ask as many questions as she needed to, and I was able to show her what kinds of techniques she could use to help Ava to settle and gain more sleep.
She loved the idea of the ‘pickup, put down’ technique as she really valued the idea of being in the room and staying really close to Ava to support her while she learnt to fall asleep more quickly and sleep for longer.
The rest of my visit was spend demonstrating in a very hands on way, how to use her chosen settling technique which Alison would then be using that night.
So, how did that first night go? Not surprisingly, Ava still woke up many times and mum had to use the technique frequently on that first night. But there were little victories to celebrate.
We spoke the next day and Alison said that Ava had stayed in her cot for the whole night. She did start to settle much more quickly later into the night and she was only fed twice over night instead of the usual 7 or so times.
Over the next few days with lots of guidance and support, Alison noticed enormous improvements. Ava was now settling much more quickly and only waking for her feeds overnight. In fact, by the 5thnight she woke for only one feed. And with an improved solids intake in the day and Ava being a really good weight, mum was happy to do just one feed overnight.
Alison started to easily go back to sleep herself and her husband was now back in their bed which was a really important step to improving his wellbeing and sense of inclusion.
A very different Ava!
The effect these improvements had on the whole family was enormous. Mum was finally getting a full night’s sleep. She could function so much better in the day and was finally able to get out of the house a bit to see some of her friends. Ava’s dad had also really caught up on sleep and told me that he felt like he was really properly bonding with his daughter for the first time now that he was able to do much more of the ‘routine’ with Ava.
Crucially, mum reported to me that little Ava was a very different baby now that she was getting the proper amount of sleep. Her mood had improved, she loved her outings, and she was smiling so much more now!
It was an absolute pleasure to work with Ava and her family.
Does your baby wake multiple times a night? If you’re struggling with similar sleep problems, please reach out for a 15-min free consultation. Or share your experience below (in the comment section) and I will respond.