From chronic cat napping and broken nights to sleeping through. How did we do it?
Chronic cat napping, and 2 hourly wake ups at night.
8 month old Tom is a healthy, physically advanced little dude, but he was having some challenges with sleeping, which were starting to drive his Mum up the wall.
While Tom was often able to settle himself to sleep for naps, he was also a chronic catnapper – often only sleeping for 30 minutes at a time during the day – and he was waking every couple of hours overnight, and needing to be fed back to sleep.
Tom had a dummy and, with his advanced dexterity, was usually able to replace this himself. However, with sometimes five wake ups and breastfeeds overnight, Tom’s Mum was worn down; she knew that Tom was overtired and not getting the sleep that he needed.
Calling in the cavalry
Tom’s cot shared a room with his Mum, and she had already tried some ‘spaced soothing’, as well as a few other ‘in the room’ methods, however she admitted that while she knew the theory, she didn’t feel overly confident to follow through and be consistent with resettling at night.
Tom’s Mum booked Christchurch-based consultant Holly for a 12 hour overnight consult and, while she was nervous initially, the duo got on really well and had a great rapport – making an awesome team to start tackling Tom’s sleep challenges.
After talking through the various methods for settling and sleep coaching, Tom’s Mum decided that the ‘spaced soothing’ approach was still the best one for them. Because Tom was a fairly spirited little fellow, an ‘out of the room’ method was preferred as he had a higher need than some for clear boundaries. It was also important to break his strong (especially at night-time) ‘feed to sleep’ association, and Tom’s Mum knew that it would be easier for her to cope with changing their habits if she wasn’t in the room with him.
Sometimes referred to as controlled crying, spaced soothing consists of set intervals with the parent out of the room, before they go in to check and console (often with a cuddle). While it’s not stressful for the child, it can be for the parent, so Tom’s Mum appreciated having Holly there for physical and emotional support. Every time Tom woke through the night she would leave the room and sit out in the lounge with Holly, before going together to let Tom know they were there.
Turning the corner