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I had my daughter 8 years ago and she was a calm, happy baby.
I would watch those newborn shows with babies who were crying within the first few days (or first few hours) and I would think it was so strange. My daughter would fuss, but would never get into an all out crying fit.
Now, before you totally hate me, I’ll fast forward to 23 months later.
It was August of 2007 and my son was born. And wow – was he BORN! I would change his diaper, he would scream. I would change his clothes, he would scream. Nothing would happen (that I was aware of anyway, I guess something was happening to him), and he would scream! The nurses would come into the room to make sure everything was okay with
him. He would also scream when put in his car seat, which prompted my nurse to give me a big hug the day I was leaving the hospital and encourage me to call someone if I needed someone to talk to.
It didn’t get any better when we got home.
When he was awake, he was often cranky, if he slept, it was not for long. He’d be up multiple times during the night. I never knew when he’d be up, and for how long he would be up for. In fact, while getting ready to write this, I found a night waking log when he was 6 months old. He was up 9 times during one of the nights I was logging for, the longest stretch of sleep he had was 3 hours and 30 minutes.
It is funny even now when I think about that time I can remember some feelings, like the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I would hear his pacifier fall out in the night. I would know that it would not be long before he was awake again. I can also remember not even wanting to go to sleep since I knew it would not be for long and it was so much harder to get back up once falling asleep.
I did buy some books about sleep training, but I was so tired, the thought of doing any training, when I knew I’d actually get less sleep in the short run, was not at all appealing. I tried a few things, but now I know I was not consistent with anything long enough to make a real change. I also tried some things people usually say do not work, but I figured I’d give them a try anyway. So I switched over to formula at night. That did not help, so then I added rice cereal to his bottles. That also did not work, and I was so frustrated one night I actually put so much cereal in that I clogged up the nipple of the bottle!
So, the sleeplessness continued . . .
When my son was a little over 3, a well known sleep specialist by the name of Kim West, aka The Sleep Lady ® opened her own program training sleep coaches. I had been working with children in a Montessori school, but was looking for a change, and I majored in Psychology in college, so I thought, “why not”?
At that point I decided to get my son’s sleeping under control (yes, that’s right – I waited over 3 years!). It was not nearly as bad as it had been – he’d wake from 1 – 3 times a night to be covered up and get a quick hug. But, in those 3 plus years, I had almost never had a complete night sleep. Luckily for me, he knew how to fall asleep on his own so we created a sticker chart which tracked a couple of key things I needed him to do, the most important being “Put yourself back to sleep at night”. We added a special reward at the end of the week – a matchbox car, and within a couple of weeks he was sleeping all night long!
It still took me awhile to be able to actually sleep all night without waking in the middle of the night wondering if he was okay, but eventually it all worked out and we were all sleeping, until I adopted a 7 week old puppy and that was the end of that for a few weeks. Fortunately though, sleep training a puppy is much easier than sleep training a child!
Now I am lucky enough to be able to work with other parents who are going through what I went through for so long. I love doing what I am doing, I work closely with the parents and create a plan that fits with their child and their philosophies, so not only am I helping them sleep, I am doing it while not compromising their values.
-By Micelle Winters
SleepWell Sleep Solutions
Here is where you can find Michelle:
My name is Kristina and I'm the founder of Love Struck. Read about how Love Struck came to be, see how I make it happen or just read a random thought I just might have! Anything can happen at our blog & I wouldn't have it any other way! It's time to get Love Struck, and what better way to start than right here!