James - 12 months.
Waking every 30 minutes at night.
Fed and rocked to sleep.
Waking early in the morning.
James had never been a great sleeper, and by 12 months with mum now working and dad trying to settle James things had gone from bad to worse. Little James was waking from 10pm every night and needing a feed to get back to sleep. He would then continue to wake, multiple times at night, often every 30 minutes! By morning time James was understably exhausted and would wake at 5am for the day, then end up taking a long morning nap but very short lunch nap. Mum and dad were at their wits end when they contacted me.
They had tried everything but nothing had worked and although sceptical this would work, they felt a sleep consultant was their last chance for sleep. Mum had tried leaving James to cry a few times but he became very worked up so didn’t want to try that again.
What we did.....
We started by going cold turkey with night feeds and extra dinners. Instead we decided to use parental presence to help James settle, the first couple of nights were tough, James needed lots of reassurance until he settled and still woke multiple times through the night but not as often. Mum and dad would speak to me each morning and I was able to reassure them that what they were doing would see results if they stayed consistent.
We got consistent with the early morning wake, mum and dad did not to engage unless James was hysterical and stuck to a consistent get up time and morning nap time.
Each night got easier and easier and by night 7 James slept through the night. The early wake did take a bit longer and eventually we had to start cutting the morning nap back but sure enough James stopped waking at 4.30am and started to sleep right through until 6.30am.
After 2 weeks James had pretty much consolidated his lunch nap to 2 hours, was consistently falling asleep on his own at bedtime and on the occasion he did wake at night, he put himself back to sleep without a problem. He had started to eat more, was happier in himself and mum and dad were no longer skeptical about working with a sleep consultant. Needless to say they were all delighted and feeling much more rested with the extra sleep.
Pheobe - 8 months old
Cat napping in the day.
Cuddled to sleep.
Waking 2 hourly at night.
Still having night feeds.
Phoebe had been waking at night every 2 hours for months and as a result mum hadn’t slept more than 2 hours each night herself. Mum was cuddling or feeding to sleep and so Phoebe was only consuming limited solids in the daytime. April was napping but never for more than 40 minutes, Phoebe was exhausted and a very grumpy baby.
What we did....
We put Phoebe on a new routine, which she responded really well too. Mum had some anxieties around teaching Phoebe to self settle.. We worked closely on this, I supported her with each nap and bedtime to ensure she felt she wasn’t alone. We agreed to a hands on approach but it became clear this wasn’t working for Phoebe, it was too stimulating for her and she was laughing at mum. We agreed to change to parent presence instead and this worked much better.
Nights improved quickly and within 7 days Phoebe was sleeping right through from bedtime to 4am, when she was waking for a feed. Naps were more tricky, upon analysis of the sleep logs is became obvious that Phoebe wasn’t eating enough lunch before her nap and this was likely due the the extra milk she was having at night and during the day. Once we stopped the extra day feed she started to sleep longer at the lunch nap. Once she started to consume more solids in the day, she quickly cut that last night feed as well.
After a few more days and logs, Phoebe seemed to be taking a while to drop off for her naps, from further discussion we realised the room wasn't as dark as it could be and mum hadn't been winding Phoebe down before naps.
Once these issues were resolved, Phoebe started to sleep the full 2 hours at lunchtime and this then helped her to sleep through the night. Mum was over the moon and simply couldn’t believe how easy it had been after all this time to teach Phoebe to nap longer and sleep through the night as well as self settle. We eliminated a feed to sleep, cuddle to sleep and night feeds in 2 weeks, we also got rid of the dummy and this was all with very minimal tears.
Jack - 5 months old
Frequent night wakes despite good naps.
Jack had no obvious sleep issues, he slept well at his 3 naps which were roughly at the right time. He appeared to be self settling but wasn’t consolidating his lunch nap and waking at night time and staying awake for hours. Mum was using a bottle, breastfeed and dummy to get him back to sleep when he woke.
Mum felt like she was doing something wrong, she felt very frustrated about the wake despite working so hard to get naps on point and teaching him to self settle.
Self settle and re settle are two different skills, I explain to mum that despite the fact that Jack puts himself to sleep he wasn’t being allowed to put himself back to sleep when he wakes from naps and night sleep. He was actually being woken up further with her attempts to put him back to sleep and then coming to rely on those each time he woke.
What we did.....
We decide to give Jack the chance to resettle once he wakes, using timed intervals before mum goes in. This worked very quickly with minimal crying but then he started to roll and get upset, mum was rushing in to put him back. I advise that she doesn't need to keep going in and rolling him back and to try lots of tummy time in the day to help Jack get the hang of rolling.
Things improve but Jack is still waking and staying awake for an hour, now in the early hours. We make the room pitch black and I recommend an earlier bedtime which we implemented with immediate affect and gradually the wake disappeared.