As first time parents, we were unsure about almost everything…we are still navigating that reality. The good thing is we know when to ask for help. We hired a doula to help guide us through pregnancy and delivery, we hired a lactation consultant to help with the breastfeeding journey, but a sleep consultant?! People do that for a living??
From very early on Marvin/Dad wanted to put Blake/Baby on a schedule, but Jodie/Mom thought it was too soon. Since Blake was born we pretty much relied on him to let us know when he was tired. The older folks would tell us, “The baby will sleep when he’s tired.” The only routine we had in place was at the end of each day. Our pediatrician recommended — bathe, bottle, bed. We picked 7pm to start that process, because it seemed like a reasonable time and, at the time, Blake was waking up every 4 hours to eat. This routine mostly worked for the first 4 months. Well, at least we thought what we were experincining was normal.
- Mom would bathe Blake then put on his footed pajamas
- Dad would bottle feed Blake, with the lamp and sound machine on
- Then, lights out…and the crying would begin
- Dad would try to calm Blake by first walking around the room, if that didn’t work, he would make a loud shushing sound (doubling up on the white noise), if that didn’t work, he moved to bouncing with Blake on a yoga ball…all this while giving him a pacifier, which he would take periodically
- Once Blake fell asleep Dad would still hold him upright for another 15 minutes because we were afraid if you put him down too soon he may spit-up
To say Marvin was exhausted by the end is an understatement. Jodie was usually putting in her time and efforts pumping.
Another thing to point out is Blake was sleeping in our room, in a DockATot inside a bassinet, right next to Mom every night. Mom would have to tiptoe into bed every night with the hopes of not waking him up. When Blake started to shuffle we assumed he was awake and would quickly pick him up and rock him back to sleep. He would then wake up hours later to eat. At that point, mostly due to exhaustion, Blake would fall asleep in bed with Mom and Dad to ensure we all got a couple hours of sleep.
At Month-4 Blake’s sleeping really started to go off the rails. At first, we thought it was just the sleep regression we heard so much about. But it kept getting worse. Jodie read the recommended book, “Moms on Call” — specifically the sleep training section probably every other week and got anxious by just reading it. A friend shared “The ABC’s of Sleep” by Taking Cara Babies. Well, that 60-page document took the anxiety to a whole other level. Eventually another friend recommended Kristin. She has never worked with Kristin but knows several people that swear by her sleep training method.
Into Month-6, we hit wit’s end and scheduled a consultation call with Kristin. Let’s just say, taking that first step was THE BEST DECISION!!
Unlike the sleep training methods Jodie read about that were all template-like, Kristin took the time to understand our unique situation, living space, and Baby to customize a solution. Marvin was onboard right away desperate for Blake (and his/Dad) sleep to improve, while Jodie was still apprehensive and unable to imagine things changing but was willing to give it a try.
Once we agreed to move forward, then the real work began! DITCH THE CRUTCHES!! Goodbye DockATot, goodbye pacifier, goodbye yoga ball, and the hardest goodbye — Blake sleeping in our room! Kristin’s homework for us also included getting a sleep sack, a lovie, and blackout curtains, which was a task and a half for Marvin given our floor to ceiling glass windows — but whatever Kristin said, we did.
The day came for us to get started — it was a Friday. Kristin set up a group text for the three of us. We were all invested in getting Blake trained. The first weekend was magical. We were SHOCKED — Marvin was convinced Kristin was performing some strange baby magic. But maybe Blake was just exhausted from not getting sufficient sleep all these months. And guess who also finally got a good night’s rest? Dad, of course…Mom stalked Blake by watching the monitor.
As we got a couple days into sleep training, it definitely wasn’t perfect. We worked with Kristin to tweak his wake times until we found what worked best for Blake. Even then, there were and still are days when Blake may take longer to fall asleep, take a catnap, or refuse to nap at all, but Kristin taught us how to quickly adjust in those instances.
I remember on the very first call with Kristin she told us the goal is for Blake’s sleep schedule to be predictable so we can have a life. At the onset it was so hard to even imagine that being possible, but the Baby Magician did it!
The one thing to emphasize is, the process of sleep training your baby will never be a straight line. First of all, they are little temperamental humans, not to mention how much they grow and change from one month to the next. But, again, what I appreciate most about working with Kristin is she teaches you how to pivot.
Finally, trust the system but don’t forget no one knows your baby like you. At first, it will seem difficult but Blake was and is a much more pleasant Baby now that he is well rested. We wish someone suggested sleep training (with Kristin) sooner!! 🙂
Jodie, 6 months