Our lovely bub was initially a good sleeper, only waking to feed once or twice over night. However, at 4 weeks, she developed colic which persisted until about 12 weeks. This made 6pm-10pm a very distressing time in our household! Things then settled down until the dreaded 4 month regression hit. Our bub just stopped sleeping! At this point, I started researching baby sleep and downloaded and began using what I thought was an appropriate routine. I also started using the shhhh/pat method to help transition our bub to sleep. When I transitioned our bub our of the swaddle and also into her cot at 6.5 months we had 6 nights of hell! After this, without the comfort of the swaddle, both bub’s day and night sleeping unravelled. She was down to two naps and would generally only nap for 40-50 minutes at a time. She would then often be grisly or clingy in the afternoon. By bedtime, she was so overtired tired that she would fight to go to sleep and would then often wake up every hour until 10pm. After finally falling asleep (the both of us exhausted by this stage!), she would also wake twice a night to feed, around midnight and again around 4am.
I started dreading nap time and bedtime. I never knew how long it would take me to settle her or how long she was going to sleep for. While usually shhhh/pating her would get her back to sleep, some nights, no matter what I did – pat her, shush her, sing, feed her, nothing would work. I would eventually just walk around the nursery with her in my arms until she was asleep. Which wouldn’t have been so terrible, if she wasn’t still waking up 2 or more times a night, like she did most nights.
Before reaching out to Emma for help, I tried to sleep train our bub on my own using a mix of methods. I was not willing to leave her to cry, so I tried more gentle methods. However, our bub was still almost totally reliant on me to get back to sleep when she would wake. I didn’t have a consistent approach, so I might try her teething gel or feeding or just give up and go back to walking and patting her till she was fast asleep. Then I would tiptoe out of the room and curse any floorboard that dared creak in case it woke her and I had to start the whole process again!
I am by nature a lover of learning. I read books, articles, blogs, anything about baby sleep. I educated myself about routines, sleep training methods, wake times, sleep associations (which I thought I had broken!), naps, recommended daily sleep requirements etc. I was in ‘information overload’ mode. So, I tried a little bit of everything in the hope that something would stick. It was overwhelming and produced inconsistent results. Despite having our bub on a routine, I never really knew what kind of day we would have!
After first making contact with Emma, I remember feeling like I had won the lottery! I felt comfortable with her and liked her style. She really listened and wanted to work with my parenting philosophies, which were to use gentler methods. She reviewed the routine I had been using and identified some changes I could make immediately that really helped our bub’s sleep improve. She then created a customised routine for our bub. She also kindly, but firmly, got me to give our bub the space to learn the important new skill of sleeping independently, without so much intervention. I’m pretty sure this part of the training was harder on me than bub! But Emma was always there, patiently encouraging me to continue.
My main goals in sleep coaching with Emma were to have our bub take longer, more consistent naps during the day and to settle easier at night so that I could get a rest and some structure and back into my day. I do not have any available day to day family support, so I have done every settle, wake up and resettle since bringing bub home from the hospital. I was exhausted and often frustrated at having to fight my bub at most naps and night settles. Even though she was only waking several times during the night, the 8 months of broken sleep was taking its toll. I would then have to drag my tired self out of bed to do it all again the next day!
Since working with Emma, our bub’s sleep has improved tremendously. She now takes longer, regular naps and weaned off night feeds within the first week! I still remember how amazed I was the first time our bub slept through the night without needing a feed to get back to sleep. I had thought I would still be feeding overnight for several more months! The longer naps during the day meant I could actually sit peacefully and eat my lunch while reading a magazine – it may seem trivial but this lovely, normal experience was a huge change for me. Bub is also a lot less clingy or cranky in the afternoon, so it means we can now get out of the house if we need to. Hallelujah!
Simply, working with Emma has been life changing for our family. We are all getting more sleep and bub is happier than ever. I’m now enjoying the benefits of parenting as I am getting more sleep myself. While I have certainly had some challenging moments, and yes, there have been some tears (mostly mine!) and our bub is still developing her sleeping skills, we are miles from where we started when Emma first came to help us. I could not be more grateful. I no longer dread nap times and in fact enjoy being snuggled up with bub while going through our pre-nap routine. Emma is knowledgeable, kind, patient and available. She will be your cheerleader, which is so important as you make this transition with bub.
If you are seriously ready to help your bub and your family get longer, better quality sleep; or if you are simply exhausted; or find all the advice and information on baby sleep confusing, then I would not hesitate to recommend Emma to assist you in this journey.