Karen’s Sleep Journey
As consultants we get to hear all about your sleep training journey, but you rarely get the chance to hear about our journey.
I’m Karen one of the Auckland based sleep consultants. I have two gorgeous wee boys, Samuel 3.5 years old and Joshua 18 months old.
Sleep has been a work in progress in our house, both of my boys were sleep trained (twice in fact), using totally different strategies both times!
Figuring out a strategy that matches your little ones temperament is so important. As much as we feel like we need to stay in the room and respond to every little cry, sometimes it is not the right fit for their temperament - so I learned with Josh, my second child.
Sam, my oldest was sleep trained at around 6 months old. He is a gentle little soul so we went with a more hands on, in the room approach.He responded to it amazingly well and after two weeks he was able to put himself to sleep independently.
We got a sleep consultant in from Baby Sleep Consultant to show us the ropes…and so began my journey to become a sleep consultant!
Josh, my second child was fully held to sleep until about 5 months old. He was held for a number of reasons, I was suffering from last child syndrome (haha!), having a toddler around did not really give me the chance to spend a good amount of time sleep training him and also you know…a mechanic always drives a squeaky car.
So I would put him in a carrier for most of his naps, it worked for us! Josh is a fiery, strong willed little rascal so I knew I may have my work cut out for me when it came to sleep training.
I did start off with a gentle, in the room approach which did not quite worked out, so I moved to an out of the room approach, gave him some space and within 3 days he was a self-settling champion.
Fast forward to Sam turning 3 – his little imagination started to run wild and he became frightened of the dark and all sorts of things, waking up to 5 times a night. He was shattered and we were shattered too.
I was mostly concerned about his long days at daycare with very little restorative sleep overnight…he was an overtired mess. We sleep trained him again but this time we took a whole new approach.
We camped out in his room, my husband or I would sleep on the floor of his room – so if he did wake in the night, he would see us on the floor and that would put him at ease. After a month of camping out, our wee boy got his confidence back and was back to way more settled sleep overnight.
Fast forward to Josh hitting the 15 month mark, we also needed to retrain him! Since this is the age for separation anxiety peaking, we went for an in the room, gradual approach. After a few weeks of slowly moving away from the cot, Josh relearned the skill of self-settling.
They develop so rapidly and things change, a settling strategy that used to work a few months ago, may not work now and that’s okay to change things up. It’s okay to take a few steps back and take a gradual approach.
Often we try and do too much, too quick – we want a quick fix, sometimes it is as simple as going back to the drawing board and taking a whole new approach.
Any problem is fixable!