HOW I SLEEP TRAINED MY BABY WITHOUT ALLOWING HIM TO “CRY-IT-OUT”
Sumari, as the co-owner of a Production Company that does lullaby’s for baby’s (zzzz Lullabyes), expected some kind of success in getting her baby to sleep! What is more, with the help of her Father in law – a Paediatric Neurologist – she never expected that a sleepless 5 month old would steel her joy as a parent. However, he and she was at a loss of advice. The only thing he reiterated over and over how important sleep is for his grandson development.
But after 4 months of sleepless nights Sumari was at her wits end. She tried every possible product on the market that promise sleep and the sleep deprivation was taking its toll; not only on her health but also her marriage. One morning after her beautiful boy was waking up every 10 minutes screaming she walked out of his room in the morning. Her husband took one look at her face and decided that they could not continue like this.
What’s more, is that Sumari needed to go back to work in 8 days and no one could get her son down to sleep.
Where to go for help
The problem was; what was there to do? She’s heard the most horrible stories of what sleep training can do to a baby… And after the trauma of hearing him cry so often at night because of his own overtiredness (and having colic as a baby) she could not bear the thought of any type of behavioural intervention. She read every book she could think off about baby sleep but they all contradict each other. “Desperation is a funny thing,” Sumari Says “I remember thinking that morning that this was stealing my joy as a parent. I felt unequipped and SO guilty. Every time I looked at my son I started crying myself. Surely my son is thinking I’m crying because I don’t love him!”
“I thought about my options and could really find only a handful of people online that call themselves baby sleep consultants. I started asking around, I did some research online and found a company that I felt comfortable with an excellent track record. The funny thing is I’ve heard about Good Night multiple times but wasn’t exactly sure what they did until I needed to find out! So one night, with a screaming baby in one hand and my cell phone in the other I e-mailed them” Sumari couldn’t believe her luck. “Good Night’s services was in high demand. When I phoned I wasn’t expecting someone to be able to help me that day! But I thought it was a sign when the consultant had a cancellation on the same day. What is more, both my husband and my nanny could attend the session which was very valuable to me.”
She had to complete a questionnaire for the consultant to come to the meeting prepared as a starting point. “I really appreciated the fact that the consultant asked me about my son. She never made me feel like he was ‘just another baby’. The questions related to our routine, his temperament, what I feel comfortable doing and what not. In the consultation itself she also spent a lot of time getting to know our family dynamics and set up. She even took time to explain to our nanny why we are changing a few things in our approach. This really helped because she needed to look after him when I went back to work”
There was a lot that Sumari learned from the consultation. Walking away from there she did feel a bit overwhelmed with all the changes that the consultant required – from changing the position her baby slept in, to swopping around a few steps in her bedtime routine. However as Sumari explains: “I was encouraged by the fact that I wasn’t doing this on my own. The consultant ensured me that I could talk to her at any point – day and night and she kept true to her word. She texted me in the morning asking how the night went, and sometimes we sent 20 plus messages back and forth as she wanted to make sure that I was comfortable. The truth is, without this support, I would never have been able to follow through”.
The journey begins
“I was very adamant about the fact that I did not want my child to cry for endless periods of time as I really needed him to know how much I love him. I also tried conventional sleep training before without much success as I could not stand the crying and was too uncertain of myself. I never knew how small changes as part of the bigger puzzle towards good quality sleep can make such a big difference in my son’s life.” After the consultation, Sumari was left with a personalized sleep plan and a sleeplog to keep track of his progress and routine. She had to make changes to his feeding schedule, his routine and the environment in which he slept. “My little boy was relying heavily on dummy to fall asleep and it caused me to be on dummy drill the entire night! I learned how to sooth him in other ways (and also how to help him sooth himself) and consequently could remove the dummy as a sleep prop. He protested a little when I did this, crying for about 30 minutes but I was able to settle him in other ways and it is much less crying than we cried so inconsolably at night before I embarked on this journey!” Fundamentally Sumari suddenly understood that it was not that she wasn’t doing enough to make her boy sleep, but that she was actually doing too much.
Sumari says that her biggest fear was that it was going to be a very long tedious process and that it wasn’t going to work as this was her last resort. However, with the support of her husband and the consultant, her fears was unnecessary.
Sleeping like a baby… at last!
“At the consultation we were given a certificate for my boy to fill out on his first night of sleeping 11-12 hours at night. I will never forget that night! Two days after seeing the consultant, at exactly four months and eighteen days of age, he slept for 11 hours and 11 minutes! I could not believe it! I kept on getting up to check if he was breathing!” Sumari says that it was the best money she has even spent on her boy and that it was the best gift she could ever give him, her husband and their family as a whole.
“I did not want to resist the first two years of my son’s life because he did not sleep. I wanted to enjoy it with him and it goes so quickly how would you want to not enjoy every single moment. Sleep is the best gift that I could ever give our family and the best thing is that anybody can babysit my little superstar now!”