Callan, 6 months: His tired mum got the best Christmas present ever!
Callan's sleep story...
New mum Kait had a difficult first three months with baby Callan thanks to silent reflux and food intolerances, which impacted both his feeding and sleep. Since Kait was breastfeeding, it took a while to work through the required dietary changes to manage Callan’s symptoms and get his health back on track. Once those underlying issues were resolved, they had a couple of weeks of good sleep and then bam - the 4 month sleep regression hit!
During the day, it would take Kait up to 45 minutes to feed Callan to sleep, only for him to wake 20 mins later. As if that wasn't frustrating enough, he was waking every 1.5-2 hours overnight and taking a long time to resettle back to sleep each time.
Kait had read about this regression, so knew to expect a change in Callan's sleep, but like many parents, she assumed that it was just a phase that would pass on its own.
I spent many mornings from 3 am onwards sleeping on the couch while he would rest/sleep in his baby swing. I was doing everything I said I would never do in order to get us both some sleep. I thought it was normal and that it would eventually just change somehow.
Two months later though, Kait was still struggling with Callan’s naps and overnight sleep and was starting to experience the effects of prolonged sleep deprivation.
I felt so unprepared for all of these struggles. I read and learned as much as I could when I was pregnant. No one talks about silent reflux or milk allergies and the impacts on babies (and their sleep). And no one talks about how much sleep a baby needs during the day vs. over night . There is little to no education on baby sleep, so you go in to motherhood thinking it’s instinctual for you and your baby. And maybe it is for some people, but it wasn’t for us! I also am the type of mom who NEEDS a good nights sleep! Some parents can power through on 2 hours of sleep, I am not one of them! I was miserable because I was really feeling the effects of sleep deprivation for 6 months.
Kait knew that something needed to change so three days before Christmas, she purchased our Baby Sleep Program.
Since they were going to be travelling to see family over the holidays, Kait’s initial plan was to spend that time reading through the program so that she understood how to implement it upon their return home. As she started to read though, she decided she had nothing to lose, and started following the awake times and nap lengths in the schedule the very next day.
Two days later, on Christmas morning, Kait was stunned to wake up at 7am from a deep, restorative, uninterrupted sleep because Callan had slept right through the night!
I literally woke up and looked at the clock a few times, confused, stunned and elated! It was the most shocking, wonderful, amazing thing! Two days on the program and he was sleeping through the night! It was the best Christmas present I have ever received.
Like many parents, Kait assumed that the 4 month sleep regression was “just a phase” and would eventually pass. The truth is, this regression signals a permanent change to a baby’s sleep patterns where they will start to wake fully in between sleep cycles - after roughly 45 minutes during the day and every 2 hours from midnight.
Baby Callan's wakes didn’t quite fit that pattern, since he was waking after just 20 minutes at naps and every 1.5-2 hours from bedtime onwards. As it turned out, under tiredness was also contributing to Callan's difficulties settling, catnapping and frequent night waking.
Kait was attempting to settle Callan to sleep for naps after just 1.5 hours awake time, which is when babies will often have a natural dip in energy. At this time, they can start to show tired signs or even fall asleep, but in most cases, won’t be tired enough to sleep for very long.
Once Kait started following more age-appropriate awake times, Callan became easier to settle and started to nap for longer too. Then, once he was getting the right balance of awake time and sleep throughout the day, he surprised everyone by sleeping through the night!
As thrilled as Kait was with her full night's sleep, she knew that it was likely to be short-lived. To make sure that Callan continued to sleep well overnight, the next step was to teach him how to self-settle.
During the 4 month sleep regression, babies start to wake fully between sleep cycles and if they rely on a parent-led sleep association like feeding, patting or rocking to sleep, they will need that replicated each time they wake. Teaching your baby how to self-settle is the key to getting through this regression as it means they will be able to resettle back to sleep without your help.
After the holidays, Kait started guiding Callan towards self-settling by gently weaning him off feeding to sleep at the start of naps and bedtimes using the Fed to Sleep Method in our Program. Since Callan was perfectly ready for sleep at the start of naps and bedtime, it didn't take long at all for him to get the hang of it!
After a few days of dedication, I could just put him down awake, at the right time during the day and at bedtime and he would just fall asleep. It was that easy for me!
Once Callan's sleep improved, Kait started to notice other positive changes too:
My son really changed when he was starting to sleep well. His growth and development was definitely impacted with improved sleep. He was so much happier and so much more easy going!
Although there have been more sleep regressions and challenges since then, Kait has been able to get through each one by staying consistent with Callan’s routine and settling, and reaching out to our certified sleep consultants in the Little Ones Village.
I learned so much from Little Ones. The first thing I got from Little Ones was confidence. With their support and guides and education, I knew that I had the knowledge or the ability to learn how to handle any sleep situation. That was so important for me as a first time mom; to feel 100% confident in something was huge. I also loved that I had a whole toolbox of notes on how to troubleshoot any hiccups along the way!
Callan is now a thriving and well-rested toddler, which means Kait is able to enjoy motherhood to its fullest, without the fog of sleep deprivation.
After a year on the program, I feel like I know soooooo much about baby and toddler sleep! To have a decent chunk of quiet time in the afternoon to either run errands or do some self care and take a bath or chore or whatever has been inexplicably valuable for our physical and mental health. I have so much confidence in the future as we continue through the Toddler years and I look forward to using the programs again if we are blessed with another baby. Thank you Little Ones!
You could get more sleep for Christmas too, with our baby and toddler Sleep Programs that have helped over 200,000 families worldwide. Get instant solutions to your baby's sleep challenges, customisable schedules, troubleshooting notes, gentle settling methods and more. You can also access 24/7 personalised advice and support from our certified sleep consultants in the Little Ones Village.