As many of you will know, we recently worked with a sleep consultant to get baby Marlo into some better habits. She averaged at 5ish wakings each night, yawn! She wouldn’t go back to sleep without being breastfed, it was tiring and was starting to take its toll. My patience with Brooklyn was almost non-existent and I was ‘yelly Mum’ way too often.
I was a bit apprehensive to ‘sleep train’ Marlo, if I’m being honest. She doesn’t cry a lot, so when she does, I know it’s because something isn’t right (or I think that, more so). Therefore I didn’t want to do controlled crying or leave her to cry. Quick disclaimer: I will absolutely not judge anyone who does controlled crying, cry it out or any other form of sleep training – I’m a 100% believer in you doing what’s best for your family and your situation and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for doing so. Right, now that I got that out of the way…
There are lots of different consultation packages to choose from on the WeeSleep website, starting from $249NZD. Jesse-Lee and I decided that the Rescue Me (virtual) package is what we needed. Virtual because we live in different islands. This package retails for $425NZD. Trust me, it’s worth every cent.
‘This is our most popular package! This package is ideal for families with children under 2.5 years old (and still in the crib) who want to receive more personal attention and support throughout the entire sleep plan process. This package gives you loads of support, confidence and reassurance you need to stay on track by having a Professional Consultant there for you every step of the way. And thanks to the Internet, we can meet you whether you are in New York or Australia!’… or Blenheim 😉
Step 1: We completed a questionnaire and tracking form so Jesse-Lee could assess what Marlo’s routine currently was, etc. Everything from sleeps, to breastfeeds, to what we did before bed at night.
Step 2: Jesse-Lee used that information to create a customised sleep plan for Marlo and our family.
Step 3: We had a 1.5hr Facetime consultation with Jesse-Lee. She asked us more questions about Marlo and went through the information we had provided her to ensure it was correct and accurate. She also asked about Marlo’s room and her current sleeping environment. Then she took us through the sleep plan she had created for Marlo, every little detail and what it involved. Nare was there too so he was listening and agreed he would be involved in the process. We asked any questions along the way and decided on a night to start. Sunday night was the night, eeekkk! After our Facetime consultation, Jesse-Lee finalised Marlo’s sleep plan and emailed it through so that we could have a hard copy to refer to (which I did, a lot). The plan was very detailed! It outlined what Nare and I had to do to teach Marlo to fall asleep without breastfeeding her to sleep, what sleep environment Marlo needed, when Marlo should be taking her naps, what to do for short naps, what to do for night time wakes, what to do if Marlo woke early in the morning and last of all a list of other important things we needed to know (reminders, our end goal, timings etc). As you can see there, the plan is VERY thorough. I didn’t have many questions for Jesse-Lee after reading it because EVERYTHING IS THERE.
Step 4: Implement said plan. The HARDEST part between having our consultation with Jesse-Lee and going through Marlo’s sleep plan, and starting the sleep training – was not changing anything! Because I knew what we were doing ‘wrong’/needed to change, it was SO hard not to just start changing little bits and bobs. But I didn’t, I listened to Jesse-Lee and just carried on as per usual until D Day.
That’s the bare bones of it all. But the support doesn’t stop there – with our plan we had daily email support and 3 x 15 minute follow up phone calls. Every day and night we would fill in our tracking sheet (for the whole 10 days) and I would email it through to Jesse-Lee. If she noticed there were things that we weren’t doing correctly, she would mention so and give us some encouragement. The email support was amazing! If we had any questions we could do this via email too, or save our questions for the phone calls.
Before I give you a quick (or not) run down of exactly how Marlo went with the sleep training itself, I’ll just briefly touch on the fact that I thought I had an amazing self-settler. Marlo self settled herself to sleep for all her naps and going to bed at the start of the night. She was always put down awake, with white noise on and the baby shusher. But by the look of her night wakings, she didn’t actually know how to get back to sleep herself after the initial bedtime. So THAT is what we needed to work on. Sure, she could self settle TO sleep… but she couldn’t self settle BACK TO sleep. So no, she wasn’t an amazing self settler like I thought she was…
I won’t be covering day naps here, as those weren’t the issue, it was the millions of night feeds!
Night 1: Went to sleep fine at 6pm. Woke at 9.20pm and took 30 mins to fall back to sleep with Nare. Woke at 2.20am and went back to sleep within 10 minutes without Nare or I. Woke at 6.20am. TOTAL WAKINGS: 2. Making progress on night 1! Safe to say my boobs were melons in the morning!!
Night 2: Went to sleep fine at 6pm. Woke at 6.50pm for 5 mins, went back to sleep herself. Woke at 9.50pm for 5 mins again, and again went back to sleep herself. Woke again at 2.10am, for 10 mins this time but grizzled on and off until she went back to sleep. Woke at 6.50am. TOTAL WAKINGS: 3.
Night 3: Took a while to fall asleep this night, about 20 minutes of talking on and off. Fell asleep at 6.25pm. Woke at 8.20am. TOTAL WAKINGS: BIG FAT ZEROOOOO! (this was my first official night on duty as Nare was away, stoked!!)
Night 4: Asleep at 6.20pm, took about 15 minutes this night. Woke at 7.55pm for less than 5 mins and went back to sleep herself. Woke at 7.10pm. TOTAL WAKINGS: 1.
Night 5: Now apparently nights 5 and/or 6 (the halfway point!) can often be the worst and it’s super common to have a bit of regression here. I actually did one of the calls this night to Jesse-Lee, so she assured me that what was happening was totally normal. Which was… Marlo took almost an hour to fall asleep. Multiple cuddles with me, until I got too upset and tagged with Nare, who took over until she finally gave in at 6.55pm. Woke at 6.30am. TOTAL WAKINGS: 0.
Night 6: Asleep at 7.10pm, she took about 20 mins to fall asleep this night, chatting on and off. Woke early at 5.30am, and grizzled on and off until 6am. TOTAL WAKINGS: 1 I suppose? I don’t know if that’s considered a waking, but whatever. We’ll say 1.
Nights 7-10 were all zero wakings, a couple of early starts with her chatting. We got her up at 6am to start the day.
– Try not to let the books scare you with how many hours your baby “should” be sleeping or what your schedule “should” look like. Follow a Wake, Eat, Play, Sleep schedule and you will be just fine and way less stressed!
– During the hours of 5 and 6 am little ones are in a REM (light and dreamy) state of sleep where little things can wake them- a noisy muffler next door, birds chirping. Don’t be surprised if your child stirs or wakes during this time. Give them a few minutes to try and fall bask asleep before rushing in.
– A dark room is best for napping and nighttime. Blackout blinds will be your best friends!
– Baby’s sleep can be interrupted by stimulated items in the room- flashing turtle lights, bright toys- less distraction = less stimulation! Much better for infant and toddler to sleep!
– A bedtime routine is KEY to do help your baby prepare for the long sleep. Do the same thing every day. Babies love consistency and routine! (my fav is bath, massage, PJs, sleeping bag, story, song and g’night kisses!).
– White noise is your friend! Block out the noisy surroundings and/or siblings with either a static setting or a rain setting. Use this constantly all night long and for all naps!
I hope you’ve found this blog somewhat helpful! Of course what works for one baby, doesn’t work for another. So I highly recommend getting in touch with Jesse-Lee (she offers a free 15 min chat!) to discuss your options, if you’re having a tough time! No one likes sleepless nights. Obviously – we’re over the moon with the result we have had, Marlo sleeps 12 hours most nights and if she does happen to wake or stir at all – she knows how to settle herself back to sleep without a breast feed now. At the end of the 10 days, we were also given a sleep handbook, which has lots of advice for any future sleep problems we may come across.
And as promised, a GIVEAWAY! We have a ‘Speedy Sleep’ package with Jesse-Lee – valued at $249 to giveaway to one tired Mama & baby! You can enter on both our Instagram AND Facebook, enter in both places to have double the chance of winning! The details are all there for what you need to do to enter.
Huge thank you to Jesse-Lee for her amazing work and knowledge, and helping us get some much-needed sleep! Totally invaluable. Make sure you follow her on Facebook AND on Instagram, she often uploads super helpful sleep tips – you don’t want to miss them!