Rachel and Bobbie (6 months old)
Rachel and her daughter, Bobbie, live in Reading, Berkshire. At 24 weeks old Rachel started Bobbie on The Baby Sleep System. She was on three meals a day of fruit and vegetables and had a 5oz bottle at bedtime. The remainder of the daytime feeds and all of the night time feeds were taken from the breast. She was a healthy full term baby who was growing well.
Rachel was becoming exhausted. Bobbie was waking sometimes 15 to 20 times a night and four or five times a night between 1:00am and 6:30am.
"Sleep deprivation seems to make everything worse and makes you lose confidence in your ability to carry this sleep training out! I am sure I am not alone in this but it is hard not to think that at 3:00 in the morning!"
After working with Rachel through The Baby Sleep Answers Forum over a couple of sessions, we established that the key problems with Bobby's sleep were
- She had a good sleep in the morning (about an hour) in the car or pushchair and was quite happy to do this without crying or need for the dummy. However, she would not sleep in her cot in the afternoon. The conclusion was that she had incorporated the rocking motion into her sleep strategy. This is probably part of the reason why she was not going down awake in her cot without a lot of protest.
- She was using a dummy to get herself off to sleep at night - if it fell out she woke up.
Once the key problems had been identified then a strategy was drawn up:
- It was decided that if at all possible Bobbie was to take an afternoon sleep. Contrary to common sense more sleep in the afternoon equals more sleep at night. We aimed for a sleep from 12:30 (straight after lunch) until around 2:30 as the ideal.
- Rachel was directed to the resources section of the Baby Sleep Answers Support Forum to view the online book Ditching The Dummy in 5 Easy Steps.
- We then looked at which strategy Rachel was going to select from The Baby Sleep System to deal with the resistance that her baby put up every time she was put in her cot. Rachel was particularly concerned about leaving her baby to cry, as she put it:
"She hasn't really had anything to cry about for the first 6 months of her life and now all of a sudden I am inflicting it on her."
I reassured her that she needed to make sure that her baby wasn't crying for any other reason other than not wanting to go to sleep e.g. she was not hungry, too hot, too cold or ill. I then referred her to the medical papers at the news section of The Baby Sleep Answers website. This includes a number of articles that demonstrate that poor sleeping habits are a much greater risk to physical and psychological health than leaving a baby to cry for a short time.
As I explained, even the so called 'no cry' strategies contained in The Baby Sleep System (and other baby sleep books on the market), usually result in a few tears. Her baby needed her support to learn to go to sleep but Rachel could not do this for her.
A few weeks later Rachel reported the following:
"I have been carrying out your sleep system for the last three weeks and have great results to report. My baby is now 28 weeks old, sleeping in her own room, without being swaddled and without the dummy. It took us a while but we have got there and she now goes down awake for all her naps and night time sleep and falls asleep on her own. Thank you!!!
She sometimes cries for about 15 minutes but usually no longer than that. I think the two key elements that your system taught me was the importance of the afternoon nap and the falling asleep on her own. She wasn't really having an afternoon nap and she now has between one and a half and two hours and that seems to have made a lot of difference to her. Ditching the dummy was also the best thing I ever did and she no longer wakes me to put it back in during the night. I was getting up between 15 and 20 times a night and now she sleeps through from 7pm to 6am or sometimes even 7am!
I stuck to the routine from the Baby Sleep System and never faltered and now I rarely need to go back in once I have put her down, it is as if she understands that I am not going anywhere, she is not on her own and that bedtime is a good time!"