From tranquility to turmoil
For Amy’s first few months, sleeping had mostly been a breeze. An easy going and good sleeper, one feed would keep her asleep for up to 8 hours.
However, that all changed when Amy hit five and a half months old. All of a sudden, the great systems Amy’s Mum, Cara, had in place simply stopped working and Amy’s sleep deteriorated quickly. She began to take up to an hour to settle each evening and was waking up multiple times overnight for a feed. Night times rapidly became stressful and exhausting.
According to Cara, a month of these draining evening and overnight routines quickly started to take their toll and things felt like they were reaching a “breaking point”. Tired and unable to see an end in sight, Cara knew she was going to need some help to support Amy to improve her sleeping patterns.
Making a plan
Cara’s friend recommended she talk to baby sleep consultant, Daniela, who had helped her when she experienced something similar. Feeling at the end of her rope, Cara sent Daniela an email and with lots of information about Amy and the sleeping challenges they were having. Because Amy and her family didn’t live centrally, Cara and Daniela decided on a phone consultation and booked a first call a few days later.
“We were on that initial call for over an hour, working through where we were at and developing a new plan to move us forward,” Cara recalls. “I already had a sleep schedule that I had sort of been working to, so we talked through that together and Daniela suggested some adjustments to try based on where Amy was at and what she was doing at that point.”
Together, they decided that the ‘spaced soothing’ technique would be best for Amy’s temperament. Amy was quite an alert baby and would have found an ‘in room’ approach overstimulating, so they went with a method that gave her some space to learn to settle on her own without Mum and Dad’s help. The plan was for Cara to leave the room after putting Amy down, returning at set intervals if Amy was upset to give her a reassuring pat or stroke. To minimise disruptions, they also devised to keep the room completely dark and use white noise throughout the night.
Getting worse before it gets better
The first night of the new programme was a challenge; Amy was overtired from not getting her usual amount of sleep during the day so didn’t settle very easily. “She was really fighting it,” Cara recalls. “I was expecting the experience to be tough, but it was really emotionally tiring that first night. And it was looking like a tough road ahead. I’m thankful for Daniela’s support, as that really helped us to persevere.”
And with that persevering spirit and some reassurance and additional advice from Daniela, the next day went remarkably better; Amy was asleep within 20 minutes and, after a few more days, was falling asleep within just three minutes! Not only that, Amy was waking and needing a feed only twice overnight, which her family were happy with for her age. According to Cara, “it’s been smooth sailing ever since.”
Relaxed and confident
Now, the whole family is relaxed; night times in their household are more peaceful and everyone is getting a lot more sleep! Amy’s parents are also feeling a lot more confident and happy supporting Amy to get to sleep. “We even went away for the weekend recently, which would have been really difficult before we worked with Daniela,” Cara adds.
Cara appreciated Daniela’s understanding of her family’s situation, and willingness to provide personally tailored advice. “Nothing felt generic, and the sleep guides were easily adaptable to suit and work for Amy – and for us!” Cara explains. “Daniela understood that no one approach would work for every baby, and gave us some flexibility to find out what worked for us, as well as how to cope when things didn’t go to schedule every day.”
“The other thing that was hugely valuable throughout this process was Daniela’s direct and clear advice, which gave me confidence and reassurance.” Cara says. “In our follow up calls, we worked through suggestions and discussed any needed tweaks. Daniela’s constant support was really appreciated!”
Cara knows too that Daniela is never far away should they need help in the future – like when they soon plan to drop that second nightly feed!