Welcome, readers, to another installment in our Family Features stories! From time to time, we like to spotlight clients of ours who have had great success working with our expert team of sleep consultants. These families are, in many ways, just like yours: these parents are sleep-deprived and exhausted, their babies and toddlers are cranky and overtired, and everyone could use more peaceful nighttime and nap time sleep!
This week, we are introducing you to Katy. Katy had a really tough situation on her hands. Benjamin, her oldest son, had been a pretty good sleeper, but after he transitioned to a toddler bed, sleep just fell apart. And to make things even more challenging, Katy was expecting another baby! Once her second son, Kedrick, was born, she had two sleepless kiddos at home, and that’s when she decided she needed some expert help!
Keep reading to learn more about how Katy solved her toddler’s and newborn’s sleep problems.
Katy Had A Sleep-Fighting Toddler AND A Sleepless Newborn At Home – She Was At Her Wit’s End!
The Baby Sleep Site®: Katy, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what first prompted you to contact us for help?
Katy: We first began utilizing The Baby Sleep Site® shortly after our second child, Kedrick, joined our family last August. Our oldest son Benjamin (2.5 years old) had transitioned to a toddler bed mid-summer and, while the first few weeks went extremely well, he had recently discovered that he could get out of bed whenever he wanted. He was a jack-in-the-box! It was pretty bad before our baby arrived, but it got markedly worse after – to the point that my husband was regularly sleeping on Benjamin’s floor just so that we could all get some sleep.
The Baby Sleep Site®: Oh no! That’s rough indeed. A sleepless toddler + a sleepless newborn = exhausted, miserable parents! So that’s when you decided you needed help from a pro, right?
Katy: At that point, I had long been a reader of The Baby Sleep Site®. Benjamin needed a lot of help sleeping as a baby, and I think that I read nearly every nap- and schedule-related article on the site, not to mention a few baby sleep books as well. I have to say that The Baby Sleep Site® was one of precious few resources that seemed to have realistic expectations for babies’ sleep habits.
With all of my knowledge (I became pretty sleep-obsessed with Benjamin), you would think that I would have known what to do. But with a new baby at home, I felt overwhelmed and quickly decided that we needed help. We purchased a Deluxe Email package, which included a Personalized Sleep Plan plus three emails. I received the plan from our sleep consultant Amy within a few days and put it into action immediately. Although that time period is a bit of a blur in my memory, I know that Benjamin was sleeping much better (meaning he was napping again and sleeping all night without interruption) within two weeks.
The Baby Sleep Site®: Wow – that’s great! Toddler sleep challenges can sometimes can be tough, so it’s wonderful that you were able to nip Benjamin’s sleep challenges in the bud so quickly. But what about your newborn son, Kedrick? You needed help for his sleep too, right?
Katy: Happily, our second son Kedrick was a much better sleeper than Benjamin had been as baby. At first.
Kedrick slept 18-20 hours a day for the first several weeks of his life – enough to actually make me worry a little bit! After we got the go-ahead from his pediatrician to stop waking him to eat every three to four hours at night (around two months old), he started sleeping eight to nine hour stretches for the first chunk of the night. We thought we had it made. Then the four-month regression hit and things quickly and dramatically deteriorated.
The Baby Sleep Site®: Oh, no – the dreaded 4 month sleep regression! What happened, exactly?
Katy: I have to backtrack for a moment: We had purchased a baby swing around the time Kedrick turned three months old because the old sleepy-time standbys of rocking, bouncing, and nursing were becoming less effective. We all became dependent on the swing for sleep. We would move him to his pack and play at night after he fell asleep, but Kedrick otherwise slept exclusively in the swing. Until he didn’t. Around four months old, Kedrick wouldn’t fall asleep in the swing at night anymore; instead, he would cry in the swing. So I would nurse him to sleep – except it only worked sometimes. More often than not, he would wake again 45 minutes later, expecting to be nursed to sleep again. We spent a handful of nights sleeping (and nursing all night long) on the floor, again just so that we could all get some sleep. That was the last straw for me. I emailed Amy for help again.
The Baby Sleep Site®: I don’t blame you! Sounds exhausting. So what happened when you asked for help for Kedrick?
Katy: Our goals were specific. We wanted Kedrick to learn to go to sleep by himself. It often took 30 or more minutes of nursing to get him to sleep at this point. With an active toddler, I couldn’t keep doing it! We also wanted to wean Kedrick from the swing to the pack and play, help him nurse less at night (2-3 feedings instead of 4-6). Finally, we wanted to start moving towards a schedule for him.
Amy’s sleep plan for Kedrick arrived shortly after I filled out his sleep history. I remember it came late on a Friday night after the boys were in bed. I couldn’t believe that it came so late, especially during the weekend. I was so happy and relieved that I almost started crying right then and there.
Amy’s plan was so well-tailored to our situation. We had actually let Benjamin cry it out when it came to sleep – believe it or not, he cried harder if we tried to “help” him sleep – but Kedrick’s temperament was so different (and he was so young!) that I couldn’t bear to let him cry it out. So Amy found other ways for us to set him up for sleep success.
The Baby Sleep Site®: Yay! We love hearing feedback like this. So what happened when you started implementing your sleep plan for Kedrick?
Katy: Kedrick’s sleep improved so quickly – within a few days, he was going to sleep at bedtime in the pack and play (!) with hardly any fussing, let alone crying. He was back to nursing three or fewer times at night. Naps were definitely tougher to tackle, but within a few weeks, he was napping in the pack and play, too. It hasn’t been perfect: we’ve all had some colds, Kedrick cut two teeth, and sometimes he wakes up more frequently hoping for a snack 🙂 Actually, just before Kedrick turned seven months old, he started waking four or five times a night again. I suspected it was related to us sharing a room, so we moved him in with his big brother on a trial basis. It has been a fabulous success! About a week after the move, he celebrated his seven-month “birthday” by sleeping ALL night! Now, at almost eight months old, he wakes for one feeding about half the time and sleeps through the night the other half.
The Baby Sleep Site®: Oh wow, Katy – from not sleeping at all to two peacefully-sleeping boys who are in the same room! That is huge indeed. So now that it’s done, how do you reflect on your experience?
Katy: While I know that our family’s sleep journey is far from complete (babies keep growing and their sleep needs keep changing) , I am absolutely thrilled with Kedrick’s and Benjamin’s progress, and I am so deeply grateful for Amy’s help. Even though I know that I might have had success on my own, I honestly think that it would have taken me another year to get to where we are now. It’s exactly as Nicole says: It’s not that you can’t make a plan on your own – it’s that you’re too tired to.
I have to admit, I have felt a little silly admitting to others that our family has hired a sleep consultant. But then I reflect upon the cost of our sleep package and ask myself, “Would I pay that much again for a few months or even several weeks of good sleep?” My answer is always, “I would pay that much for a few nights of decent sleep.” It has been some of the best money our family has ever spent. I would absolutely recommend The Baby Sleep Site® to other families struggling with sleep.
And if we have more babies in the future, I am sure that we will be back for more help – hopefully before anyone is sleeping on the floor! Maybe by then, in-utero sleep training will be an option!!
Wow – from 2 sleepless boys at home to 2 peacefully-sleeping boys who share a room — incredible! And parents, you can enjoy this same success in your own home. Your sleepless little ones can be sleeping soundly very soon, with some help from an expert Baby Sleep Site® sleep consultant. Our trained, compassionate consultants are standing by, ready and willing to help your family get the sleep you need and deserve. Would you like to read more before getting started? Meet Julie, Whitney, Ali, and Jennifer!