Elisa here. I know there are a lot of people in the same boat that I was once in. Sleepless nights, short naps, not a single second of the day to yourself. Complete. Exhaustion. I thought I would share my story about how sleep coaching changed my life- because I know it can change yours too! I hope that it helps you see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we can help you find that light!
During my many years as a child care provider I had helped many children get the sleep they needed. But the real challenge started with my own second born. My sweet little baby had a lot going on in the first little while. He had reflux and a very spunky personality right from birth and could not be put down on his back or even to sleep at all. Sleeping was hard for him even in my arms. So…I did what I had to do to get him the sleep that he needed and that meant, he slept on me most of the time and in my bed (with some safe bed sharing in place.) That’s right! I am a sleep consultant and I slept IN bed WITH my baby. But you know what? It helped get me through those first few rough months and I got whatever sleep I could. The first few months are all about survival and getting baby the sleep you can-especially when there are other struggles already preventing sleep from happening!
Prior to 4-6 months, there are some steps that you can take to work on establishing a healthy foundation for sleep. There is not much you can do however to enforce independent sleep unless your little one takes to a slower more gradual approach. I did everything to establish a foundation for healthy sleep with my little Andres. But for him (and most babies,) that alone was not enough to get the really predictable, consistent sleep happening. He needed to learn how to fall asleep on his own in order to accomplish that. At around 5 or so months, the time came where it was no longer working for me.
How did I know it was time to teach independent sleep?
- I was not sleeping anymore and neither was he!
- It was taking longer and longer to get him to sleep only to have a very short nap.
- He was old enough for me to work on independent sleep.
- I was an open bar all night long and he did not need that much milk at night!
- I would have a few good days to give me hope and then that would be followed by many rough days.
- But most of all, my mental health was really suffering. My post-partum anxiety was getting worse by the day. I was getting impatient with my children. I was not happy and barely hanging on anymore due to that lack of sleep. Something needed to change.
What was my next move?
My next move was to teach him how to fall asleep without needing to be rocked. He needed to learn how to fall asleep on his own while I supported him through the change.
This is when I would have looked for someone to help and guide me. But since I am a sleep consultant and have all of those tools, I just needed to do it! I decided which of our methods would be best for his temperament and for me. For him and for where I was (mentally) I did not want to leave the room. My guy and his unique, persistent, very alert and aware temperament needed a lot of support at first and so that is what I did.
All children are different though so no matter what, it is important to find and use a method that you are going to be comfortable with. There is no one size fits all approach with us and there is not only one sleep coaching method!
Truth be told though, it was hard. Really hard at first. But it was so worth it! In the end, I quickly had a well rested baby. I was well rested and able to focus more on taking some time for myself here and there. My mental health improved drastically. I felt like I was on top of the world!
It absolutely helped that I knew exactly what to do and had a plan (our sleep coaching plan) to follow. Having support throughout the sleep coaching plan was invaluable! I was able to lean on my wonderful Restful Parenting business partner (and best friend), Pam, to vent to, to offload my own emotions to and for the reassurance that I was doing the right thing for my family! Because let’s be honest, when you are in the thick of it, it becomes very hard to see everything without someone else’s perspective, especially another sleep expert like Pam!
We want you to know that although it is difficult to make the changes, you do not have to go through such sleep deprivation everyday for the long term. You can make changes no matter how old your child is. We can give you that plan with a method that you are comfortable with along with our invaluable support and expertise. You can see the light just like I did!
Feel free to contact us to help you get started on your way to more restful nights!