At one year old, an infant’s sleep issues must surely be improving, right?
Or at least not for Oliver’s poor exhausted Mum.
Her son’s naps during the day only ever lasted 20 or 30 minutes (and no, that’s not a typo!) These didn’t improve with time or age……can you imagine what it was like for her to get through every day for a whole year with such short breaks?
Increasingly bad days and nights
During the last 4 months, Oliver’s sleep habits had been getting progressively worse, not better. His daytime naps had regressed to only 30 minutes at the most. He wasn’t even sleeping a full sleep cycle, this level of sleep deprivation starts to become chronic after 12 months, and it was affecting his night sleep.
When we become sleep deprived, our bodies go into fight or flight mode and produce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, those hormones which give you a second burst of energy when you’re working the night shift. But these same hormones reek havoc on sleep, preventing deep sleep, causing more fragmented sleep, and less deep quality sleep.
Due to these stress hormones Oliver’s nighttime sleeping was even trickier to navigate than his naps. Oliver would take an especially long time to settle in the evening and couldn’t seem to settle unless he was being rocked or held by one of his parents.
He was waking more than 6-8 times a night, needing to be rocked and held back to sleep each time. His parents were dragging themselves up and down the hall way every hour or two. Physically and mentally exhausted, something had to change.
Oliver’s Mum was confused about why things were getting worse.
In the end, she decided that a bit of extra help would be welcome and called Sacha from Baby Sleep Consultant.
Sacha is a mother of 2, she has a degree in psychology, is a certified infant sleep consultant, has worked with Baby Sleep Consultant for over 7 years, helping thousands of parents just like Olivers mum.
A strange discovery
Sacha was happy to answer the call and went around for a home consultation during the day. Straight away Sacha noticed that Oliver’s parents “had done a great job providing a fabulous environment for Oliver to sleep in. They’d done lots of really good things, like putting him in a sleep bag.”
Sacha and Oliver’s Mum worked on a plan to teach Oliver to put himself to sleep, and back to sleep. Because he was becoming accustomed to being rocked to sleep, Olivers mum needed to re-teach Oliver to go to sleep without the aid of being rocked.
If she continued to rock him, each time he woke up throughout the night, (remember some night wake ups are normal at the end of normal sleep cycles) he would be looking for that rocking to get back to sleep.
Oliver was a mini toddler at 1 year old, and had a very inquisitive nature which is why both Mum and Sacha agreed a technique without mum in the room would work best.
The sleep training worked wonders for Oliver, and after only a couple of nights, he was happy to fall asleep quickly by himself and stay asleep all night!
But here’s the catch – it only worked at night.
Oliver still wasn’t interested in sleeping for long during the day.
What worked at night just wasn’t working during the day.
Sacha has helped over thousands of parents with their babies, and she’d only seen that happen one other time.
After 12 months of short naps these naps were well and truly ingrained in Oliver’s circadian rhythm. No amount of space and consistency was going to change Oliver’s naps.
She was astounded to see it with Oliver!
Meanwhile Oliver’s Mum was stressed and upset that the sleep training – which was so effective at night – did zilch during daylight.
It was all very overwhelming.
If there is one thing we don’t want when we work with tired parents, that is stress and overwhelm! This is why working with experience and trained consultants and not tackling things alone is really worth its weight in gold.
Oliver had never slept longer than 30 minutes in the day, he needed to be physically taught and settled to sleep to show his wee body how to go back to sleep after a short sleep cycle.
Sacha suggested coming up with a new plan for daytime naps, which they worked on together over the next week. It was suggested that Oliver have a gentler, hands-on approach for just the daytime naps, teaching and physically aiding Oliver to get back to sleep for the first time in 12 months +!!!!
And then, if his Mum found that just wasn’t working, they’d bring his bedtime back an hour earlier (by which time he’d be fussy and keen on some sleep!)
How is Oliver doing now?
Armed with a new daytime nap method, his Mum started noticing improvement within two days!
Much to the relief of Oliver’s parents, the little guy is sleeping really well now, he just needed to be assisted for a couple of days while his body clock adjusted to get more sleep.
Remember if you are tackling habits after 12 months….. these are long term habits and an out of the box solution might be needed.
“He’s pretty happy during the day. He was really cross and tearful by the night when his naps were short, but his mood has improved now, and he is a pleasure to be around.”
What Sacha wants other Mums to understand from this is “don’t keep going if something isn’t working for you. This is a great example of how you can work around a problem. We hear from a lot of parents that they have attempted CIO or something similar for weeks with no results….. sometimes it just isn’t a good fit and you needed a trained professional to help you work out what will work with minimal stress.”
And if you need a little extra help then don’t worry – there is absolutely is hope, even if your baby is that rare exception to the rule.
If you want to speak to Sacha about your babies sleep. Click HERE to register for a free chat.
Our Baby Sleep Program helps tired parents TO DEVELOP HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS BY FOCUSING ON NAPS, SETTLING AND NIGHT SLEEP.
- Empowered: Feel empowered as a Mum as you learn to understand your growing baby’s needs and cues.
- Simple effective setting: Gentle, proven self-settling, evidence based techniques.
- Content happy baby and parents: Better sleep creates content babies & happy parents.
- Freedom: Predictable routines and longer nights creates freedom. Solve your sleep problems for more freedom.
- Work with your babies circadian rhythm: Work with your biological clock for faster results.
- Awesome naps & nights: You’ll create consistent naps and nights with our support.
Try our online sleep program, complete with FREE email support.
18 months – 4 years
My baby has reflux can you help?
When your baby has reflux, feeds can be difficult and your baby can be in a lot of pain both during and after feeds. This pain can cause feeding aversions and failure to thrive. This is why true GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) needs to be treated by a doctor. Once your baby’s doctor is satisfied your baby is feeding well, and you have the right medication or formula then we can start a sleep plan and you will be successful.
My baby has colic will this help?
Colic is defined as 3 or more hours of crying per day in infants. Crying subsides in the second second trimester. If you are still experiencing colic symptoms, speak to your baby’s doctor about whether this could be reflux, an allergy, or over tiredness. We can help you work on better sleep with this program at the same time as your doctor investigates the pain and crying.
What if the program isn’t working?
We have a dedicated help line to ensure your success. Just email our team via the details in your program and a certified, experienced and friendly sleep consultant is ready to stare you in the right direction to ensure your success!
My baby was born early, can you help?
Sleep is neurological so we always work off your babies neurological age, that is their corrected age. When you look at our sleep programs purchase the program that your babies corrected age fits into.
What if I have questions or need more help?
Our sleep programs come with private email support. You don’t have to post in any public forums or groups, just email the exclusive helpline that our team of certified sleep consultants look after and we’ll answer all your questions and help you on your way.
Can this program help with my babies night sleep?
Yes, all our online sleep programs contain night sleep plans. We will teach you how to move from multiple night feeds to 2 or 1 or none (depending on what is age appropriate and appropriate for your baby.) Don’t worry we will show you to figure this out too. If your baby is unsettled at night but not feeding, our plans will help you with consolidated night sleep and self settling when age appropriate.
My baby is cat napping can you help?
Cat napping is a very normal physiological stage that your baby goes through. At this stage (3-8 months old), cat napping can start to be a long term issue and compound into over tiredness and affect night sleep and your babies happiness. Good news, this is a great age to work on re-settling, self settling and better longer naps!
I have 3 children, can this work with my family?
I totally understand how busy life is with 2, 3 or more children! Even if you need a flexible schedule we can still work on settling regular naps (some on the go!), and better evenings and night. Flick our consultants any specific questions about your family’s schedule of activities and we can help you work out what is possible nap wise.
I don’t want a fixed routine, can you still help?
Yes. A fixed routine is one option, regular naps and regular awake times is another. Both are valid and you are welcome to do what works for your family. We understand you are all different and what works best for one family won’t be best for another.
I’m formula feeding, can you still help?
Yes we have specific advice for formula feeding parents, and we support your decision to feed any way you choose. We even have a special video series on formula feeding and everything you need to know. Just ask our consultants about this extra if you need it.
I’m exclusively breastfeeding, can I follow your plans?
Yes! While breastfeeding babies need to feed frequently they still need quality sleep day and night. We have specific advice for breastfeeding mums and an exclusive discount on Julia Daleys breastfeeding course if you need extra help.
I’m bed sharing, can your program help me stop?
Yes. We often fall into bed sharing, we call this reactive bed sharing. Or we have simply changed our mind, and moving on from bed sharing we need some support. Our programs and consults will guide you through gentle sleep methods, which are more appropriate for most bed sharing babies who are moving towards independent sleep in the cot.
I’m feeding to sleep, can you help me stop?
Yes. Feeding to sleep is a common sleep association and one that works well for lots of newborns. Often we need to move on from feeding to sleep when it starts to cause short naps, or prolonged settling or frequent night wake ups as baby looks for their association to go back to sleep over and over again at night. We can teach you how to teach your baby to self settle and move on from feeding to sleep when the time is right.
I’m rocking to sleep, is their a solution?
Yes. These are common sleep associations, we refer to this as assisting to sleep. Let us show you ways you can develop independent sleep and settling strategies with our online sleep program, or one on one consult.
Is this program based on Cry It Out?
No. Cry it out is the common name for a sleep training method where you put baby down and don’t respond or check until they are fast asleep. There is no CIO involved in this program as we feel this should be only done under proper supervision. Instead we have included all our very gentle approaches and more mainstream techniques for you to choose from.
Is this based on Science or Art?
Both! As a scientist I (Emma) have spent over 8 years researching the science of sleep. I have educated and certified over 500 consultants around the world as sleep consultants, and have worked with thousands of clients. I love the scientific explanations of why we see the sleep patterns we see, and this science helps us to shape plans and solutions that we know will work. But there’s an element of art to getting a baby to sleep, understanding the right combination of things that will work best, and this is where your instinct comes in.