Families surprise me every day. About two months ago, I received a sleep plan request with a tough situation. Here’s a mom with very little support at home to sleep train AND her in-laws live with them! Talk about being under a microscope.
She was all alone in wanting to help her son sleep better. Neither her husband or in-laws thought it was a good idea to disrupt the status quo. As many families do, they wanted to wait for the child to “outgrow” their issues or perhaps what’s an issue for one person is a non-issue to another.
This mom wanted help with her son’s sleep not only for her sake (even though she felt exhausted, frustrated, and short-tempered) but because her son was suffering, too. He was much more clumsy, getting hurt more often, and not as happy because he was so tired all the time.
Honestly, with such little support at home, I did the best Personalized Sleep Plan that I could, but I wasn’t sure that would be enough. And, it wasn’t. A plan is only good when you can implement it.
This mom must have felt the same thing I did and decided to buy an 30-day unlimited e-mail package. If anyone was a good candidate for needing mega-support and accountability, it was her. Still, with their sleeping arrangements and the parameters of what she’d be able to do without being criticized and bullied into not making any changes, this was not going to be an easy case. Of course, we would use as gentle a method as possible. We’d change routines, be supportive and encouraging to her son, and very consistent, but no crying it out or anything like that.
The difference between an unlimited package and a standard e-mail package is really huge in a case like this. For others, it’s not, and it’s all what you do with it. This mom was determined. She sent me at least 3-4 emails every day with questions. A lot of them. I answered each one as detailed as possible. I loved her updates and cheering her on. There were some tough times for her under the scrutiny of the naysayers. 🙁
After almost 30 days, we had made a lot of progress, but not quite enough, and she bought two more weeks. I tell you this to reinforce that often “no cry” methods take longer to implement and achieve results. And, because not all children will be “done” in 3 days like the books want you to believe. I share this too, so you can have realistic expectations for your child, too. Sleep is often a work in progress and it can take time to change a child’s expectations. In addition, her son is two years old, which is a long time to have habits that need changing, never mind the “Terrible Two” independence-seeking that goes on. This was one of her last e-mails to me at the end of our 45 days together:
“Nicole, If this is my very last email, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You were truly an answered prayer. I really thank you and thank God for you. He is so faithful and I know this because he answered my prayers through you :). Thank you again. I hope you and your family have a happy and healthy life. I will be willing to write a comment about you for your page anytime as long as I remain anonymous. And will recommend my friends to you anytime.
I talk to a lot of parents every week and I am SO impressed with this mom. She has really stuck to her guns and triumphed when others would have given up. She has made huge strides and, at times, had a little boy who went to sleep on his own, with her OUT of the room, sleeping 11 hours at night, staying in bed until his toddler clock turned to “wake up,” and take a 1 to 1 1/2 hour nap, on his own. When we first started, I wasn’t even sure we’d get there and this is a testament to how much of a team effort it can be to help your child sleep better, sometimes. I can give you the plan and I can give you advice, and I can support you and cheer you on, but YOU are the one who does all the work and, for that, I applaud everyone who has dedicated themselves to helping their child sleep, whether or not you have been successful. Sometimes I’m still so surprised how much support I am able to give with just words on a page, online, via phone or e-mail, but somehow it works…at least for many, maybe not for those that need an in-home physical presence (I don’t do house calls, sorry! :)). Oh! And, a bonus to all of this? This mom’s mother-in-law has sung praises to others about how well the boy was sleeping and she and Dad were helping put him to bed in the “new” way. This mom has made HUGE changes in that house. She has, unfortunately, recently had some back-sliding, which is common (especially when you lack the support at home), but once we get these new issues solved I hope she and her son have many sleep-filled nights ahead of them!
Today, I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone. Even if your home life is not supportive, we are here for you day and night. Support in what you’re doing, whether it’s from your spouse, family, or friends can make a big difference in keeping you going and help you to not give up prematurely. If you need the support and haven’t asked for it at home, do it! Sometimes admitting you need help and asking for it is the first step in sleep training, and nothing to do with your baby or your baby’s sleep. Your spouse or other loved ones can help. I know we parents are programmed to think that we can do it all on our own and it can be difficult to ask for help, but remember the old saying “It takes a village.” so don’t feel like you have to do it all alone.
If you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine, please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan® you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.