Learnings for mum and baby – as Charlee-Rose adapts to sleeping in her bed
- First time mum
- Unstructured sleep
- 1-2 hourly night wakes
- Contact naps only
- Short naps
“I’m a single mum and my parents were working as essential workers over this time, so it was literally just the two of us. My unstructured approach wasn’t working for us anymore. I was so tired and getting absolutely to my wit’s end,” Teegan explains.
4.5-month-old Charlee-Rose was sleeping for four hours at night, then waking every hour or two for the remainder needing to be fed back to sleep.
During the day, she would only sleep on her mum. This was a demanding set-up for Teegan, who was unable to get any downtime. Teegan reached out to Baby Sleep Consultant and was connected with Christchurch-based sleep consultant, Andrea.
Support was here
“Given everything else that was going on in the world, we couldn’t do a home visit but the phone consult was amazing and helped so much more than I thought it could,” Teegan shares. “I explained what was happening and Andrea knew exactly where I was coming from. She understood just what I was describing. It seemed Charlee-Rose was following quite normal patterns for a baby her age.”
Andrea could also tell, in learning about Charlee-Rose’s temperament, that she was an ideal age to start getting the foundation of a routine.
She could learn to settle and soothe herself as part of going off to sleep.
“Catnapping can end about 18 weeks, and a baby can start – at that age – to learn how to link sleep cycles. It’s the perfect age to start getting some consistency into the day and working with sleep windows,” Andrea explains.
For Teegan, it was the educational nature of the consult that she found empowering – as well as being able to sense-check her expectations.
“Andrea explained that some babies take longer to get into a routine than others, but it was reassuring to know that Charlee-Rose’s age was an OK time to start. My ultimate goal was – like all parents – to have her sleeping through the night eventually, but I just wanted help to get her to go to sleep in her bed to start with.”
So what else did Teegan learn?
“I thought that we were going through a sleep regression – and maybe that was part of it – but I also discovered that I wasn’t really giving Charlee-Rose a chance to settle herself back to sleep. I think I was sometimes getting sleep cues confused with hunger cues and I didn’t realise the process babies go through as they’re winding down and learning to fall asleep,” Teegan describes.
Andrea talked Teegan through a good day-time routine for a baby Charlee-Rose’s age – with how long she was likely to be able to stay awake – as well as how babies move between the stages of awake, drowsy, and asleep.
They also talked more about crying and how to avoid interfering with this process, while still providing the support they need.
“Babies don’t come with a manual, although it would probably be a bit easier if they did!” Teegan laughs.
“The timings that Andrea and I talked through helped me to recognise Charlee-Rose’s cues even better. We talked about feeding as well, and how that influences sleep. There’s so much conflicting information out there, but being able to talk with someone about specifically what would work for us made such a big difference. I couldn’t believe the results of a few tweaks.”
A routine sees them right
Andrea drew up a personalised plan for Charlee-Rose and talked this through with Teegan, who felt really confident in the plan.
It appears that little Charlee-Rose was ready for a routine too as in less than a week she was sleeping all three of her naps in her bed.
“I couldn’t believe that I could put her down awake and she was able to put herself to sleep, but we’ve been following the plan since we got it,” Teegan gushes.
“If Charlee-Rose does protest a bit, she fusses for no more than five minutes – it’s amazing. I just can’t believe it!”
Teegan loved the difference a bit of structure made too.
“Now we have a routine to our day and I can plan things around that, which is actually working much better than winging it. I’m much happier as a mum and Charlee-Rose is a much happier baby. I’m still following her lead largely – it’s not clock-watching. I take my cues from her and can sense-check against the clock, but knowing those awake times has made the whole thing go so much more easily.”
There were some other unexpected benefits to better sleeping too.
“Charlee-Rose is also feeding much better during the day. Her three hourly feeds are bigger and last her for longer,” Teegan adds.
Because Charlee-Rose adapted so quickly to her new routine, Teegan didn’t need all the follow-up support available with her phone consult. Andrea’s offered extended support if the pair face any other sleep setbacks.
“I feel like the foundation of this routine means I’m more ready for when the little developmental leaps cause road bumps too. Knowing I can call Andrea again is awesome!” Teegan shares.
“Now that we have a routine, and it’s pretty established, it’s made a total difference to our life. It’s what we both needed. It’s been great!”