When we struggled with Hadley to get her to sleep through the night as a baby, I chalked it up to the fact that she was just a bad sleeper. Despite reading every single sleep training article and book in the world, we were still up with her 3-4 times a night (7p-7a) until she was 15 months old. Thankfully, something just clicked at the point! (Today she’s the best sleeper in the whole world.)
When we struggled with Sadie to also get her to sleep through the night, I began to see that maybe little ‘ol me was the problem here. Maybe I’d completely missed the boat with how to get my babies to sleep.
Until Sadie was nine months old, I just did whatever I could to get both of us some sleep. In the back of my mind I knew that the lack of sleep was just a season and that someday soon she’d be as excellent of a sleeper as her big sister. We just had to do what we had to do. To be honest, most nights this meant that I was either up with her feeding her 5+ times to get her to go back to sleep or I’d throw my hands up and just have her sleep next to me in bed.
Back in January, Jamie left for five weeks for a couple different TDY assignments, and during the first week he was gone I woke up at 3 a.m. to a loud thud, and then a delayed, hysterical cry. Sadie had woken up and crawled right out of my bed. My sister was actually visiting at the time and woke up to the thud she heard right over her head (our guest room is right below our master.) She came sprinting upstairs, and though Sadie seemed completely fine, Jennifer’s nursing skills kicked in and she checked to make sure she really was okay.
That was a huge wake-up call for me because she really could have been hurt. She’s never slept in our bed again.
The very same week my friend and former co-worker Sarah messaged me about her sleep support services. She’d read on my blog and social media about what a tough time I was having with Sadie’s sleep issues, and she offered to help. I was skeptical to work with her because I truly had no idea how she was going to help me since I’d read every book imaginable and had tried everything already with both of my girls.
I decided to move forward with her after five straight nights of nearly no sleep for both Sadie and for me (Sadie was so mad that she wasn’t sleeping in my bed.) I could feel myself getting physically sick from exhaustion, and I knew I had to do something since I was parenting my girls solo for another 3.5 weeks.
I got in touch with Sarah and we got the ball rolling immediately. She had me keep track of every single thing Sadie was eating and drinking, when and for how long she was sleeping, and more. She created a very personalized plan for Sadie and we FaceTimed several times to discuss her sleep and the plan in depth.
She texted me every single day and would send me supportive, helpful voice messages.
It’s fun going back through our text messages from the last 5ish weeks and seeing the progression of sleep and attitudes. 🙂 Remember, our starting point was Sadie waking at least five times per night between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
We were even able to work around new teeth coming in.
Things got worse before they got better (which she warned me about), but by day 13 Sadie slept 7 p.m. – 6:30 a.m. By day 16 she had four nights in a row that she’d slept 9+ hours straight.
Sarah told me that if I stuck with this that Sadie would be sleeping through the night by the time Jamie got home, and I told her that that seemed like a far-off dream (not a bone in my body believed her).
But she. was. right.
My girlfriend Meg asked me what I thought made the difference. It took me a hot minute to answer this question because there wasn’t one specific thing that made the difference. It was the entire package. I was able to stop second guessing what I should or shouldn’t do and just trust her. I had her confidence and her support ringing in my ears constantly. She gave me a roadmap for how things should ideally go, so even when things were hard, I felt confident to keep on going because she’d told me this was all apart of the plan.
If you’re like me, you might be wondering if this was basically just a glorified “cry it out” plan. It wasn’t. This plan involved her age, weight, food intake, naps, other comfort techniques, and more. Yes, there were a few nights where I let Sadie cry a little more than Sarah advised simply because I was doing this solo and usually the dad is involved, but overall the “cry it out” method wasn’t what led to success.
Sarah struck a nerve with me during our first conversation when she was telling me about her sleep support background and why she’s so passionate about getting parents and their little ones to sleep. She said that sleep steals the joy of infancy from so many parents and that some moms mistake their sheer exhaustion for postpartum depression. Sleep is a big big big deal for parents who aren’t getting it, and it can end up affecting so many areas of their lives. She’s so right.
I worked for Rachel’s Challenge with Sarah from 2011-2012, and since then we’ve each had two little girls. When Sarah reached out to me, I knew that she had her young daughters, so she must be credible. She told me that she had a really hard time with her first daughter, and since then she’s become a true expert on this subject. She’s read many, many books and blogs on this subject and has also taken a 10-hour course taught by Patience Bleskan, an expert in this field.
I can’t recommend Sarah’s sleep support services enough, and in case you’re wondering, she did not pay me to write a bit of this. 🙂 Though getting Sadie to sleep better was not easy (it was the exact opposite at certain moments during this process!), I fully credit Sarah’s clear confidence, gentle advice, and sweet support for helping me get control of this area of our lives.
Sarah’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org