|Posted on 22 September, 2015 at 0:15|
When our daughter, T, was around 4 months old, she started waking multiple times per night - 8 wakes was classed as a 'good' night, but she would sometimes wake up to 18 times. I would breastfeed T back to sleep every time, as it was the only way I knew, but it had become impossible to transfer her back into the cosleeper cot without waking. This meant I was in our bedroom cosleeping with T in our bed from 7pm onwards, as she was rolling and we didn't dare leave her alone on the bed. I felt as though she was holding me hostage in the bedroom! On nights when my husband was working away I often didn't get any supper, and had to take T to the bathroom with me whenever I needed the loo through the night. When he was at home, I would stand in the kitchen and wolf down my meal as quickly as possible, usually having to return to the bedroom halfway through to feed T back to sleep, or listen to her cry in my husbands arms. I was absolutely shattered with tiredness and although T had always been a happy, easygoing baby, I started to struggle with the daytimes and was often in tears.
Daytime sleep was no better. At around the same age T started fighting naps. She would become overtired and although it still worked at night, for some reason I was unable to breastfeed her to sleep anymore during the day. After a lot of walking/driving she would eventually fall asleep in the sling, car or pushchair, only to wake again after 30 minutes.
We were exhausted and although I loved the closeness of cosleeping and carrying T in the sling I had become resentful of the situation. I had no time to myself, was snapping at my ever-patient husband and was confused by all the conflicting sleep advice on the Internet. We started a bedtime routine, attempted rocking to sleep, implemented ideas from a well known gentle sleep solution book, but nothing seemed to make a difference. My husband and I were adamant that we would never do controlled crying or cry it out, no matter how bad things got, so after four months of serious sleep deprivation we contacted Ann at Nurturing Sleep. We chose Ann as her unique approach really resonated with our parenting style and the fact that we wanted T's emotional wellbeing to take priority.
Before starting sleep work we thought it would be hard work and even more tiring than what we had already experienced but we were so wrong! It was surprisingly easy, enjoyable and not at all tiring (in fact we saw brilliant results really quickly, resulting in more sleep for us all!). Ann was so supportive, patient and understanding. She encouraged us to go at our own pace and gave us so much confidence. Before we started I was also worried that we'd be wasting our time as I thought T had some teeth on the way; but during the six weeks of sleep work T cut four teeth and went through a developmental leap, and she still managed to sleep well - we couldn't believe it!
After six weeks we have achieved all of our aims, which we never thought possible...T is now sleeping through the night for 11-12 hours in her own cot, in her nursery. She falls asleep happily, after being put to bed by me or my husband, and wakes up in the morning giggling and babbling. We have our evenings back and more importantly we have the energy to be the parents we want to be. T also naps in her cot, which gives me a wonderful free hour in the morning and 1.5-2 hours in the afternoon. The most important thing is that we feel totally comfortable with how we helped T learn to sleep. We were there for her every step of the way and continue to be there for her whenever she needs us. Working with Ann has had a huge impact on our family life and we will be forever grateful to her!