Matilda, 4 months: Self-settling saves the day!
Matilda's sleep story...
As a first time mother, Felicity was looking forward to gazing at her newborn baby while she slept peacefully in her crib. She fully expected that her baby would have long, restorative sleep during the day and night. After all, that's what babies do isn't it, they "sleep like a baby"?
Once baby Matilda arrived, however, Felicity soon learned that this isn't always the case!
From day one, sleep was a challenge and pretty soon, the only way Felicity could get Matilda to nap was by holding her or letting her sleep on her chest. As much as she tried, Felicity just couldn’t get her baby to sleep in her crib. If by some miracle she DID manage to put Matilda down, she would wake again 5, 10, 15 minutes later, cranky and tired.
After becoming increasingly frustrated, Felicity gave up on getting Matilda sleeping in her crib and resigned herself to letting her baby nap on her instead.
Newborn babies do often prefer to sleep on mum or dad, instead of their crib or bassinet. At first, Felicity didn’t see a problem with Matilda sleeping on her, but as time went on, it became increasingly difficult to get baby Matilda to sleep anywhere else!
Close to four months, baby Matilda reached the 4 month sleep regression and her sleep took a turn for the worse again. Matilda was now waking every hour at night, either to feed or have the pacifier replaced, and needed to have physical contact with mum all night long.
I was absolutely exhausted and felt like I had failed as a parent. I had always said I would never bed share so was so disappointed that we had let this happen but we were so exhausted we didn't see any alternative.
After two weeks of this, Felicity had reached her breaking point and knew that something needed to change. Luckily, she came across Little Ones and quickly purchased our Baby Sleep Program.
Reading through our comprehensive program, Felicity she learned so much about baby sleep! The program reassured Felicity that all was not lost, and now she had a plan of what to do, and when. Most importantly, she knew why she was doing it. And so Felicity and her partner set about making changes.
First, they tweaked Matilda's sleep environment and started putting her to bed in a dark room with white noise playing. Even this small change made a big difference!
Next, they started following the sleep schedules in our Program. It took a bit of work but Matilda responded really positively to the age-appropriate awake times and nap lengths.
This gave Felicity and her partner the confident to make the next big change... removing the pacifier and guiding Matilda towards self-settling.
Baby Matilda was reliant on the pacifier, feeding and co-sleeping in order to get to sleep. Once she reached the 4 month sleep regression, where babies wake fully between sleep cycles, she just didn’t know how to get back to sleep without these parent-led sleep associations.
Learning how to self-settle was going to be the key to improving Matilda’s sleep. Our Program broke this process down, step-by-step, enabling Felicity to gently wean baby Matilda off each sleep association until she was able to self-settle and sleep in her crib.
I learned that it would benefit our little one to learn how to self-settle and that sleep is a skill that needs to be taught. Firstly we gave up the soother then got to work on the settling. I loved that there was different methods for settling and never had to let her cry.
Within three weeks, baby Matilda was no longer using the pacifier and was able to self-settle for all naps and bedtime, sleeping peacefully in her crib instead of on mum. During the day, she was having three regular naps in her crib, a consistent bedtime and sleeping for 12 hours at night, waking just once or twice to feed instead of waking every hour.
Finally, Felicity was able to have some time to herself in the day and quality overnight sleep!
It has really changed our lives! Mom and dad are much happier and well rested. We get to spend some time by ourselves again. Our LO (little one) is so much happier as well and when she cries we feel like we understand her much better.
Matilda is now 6 months old, in her own room, and sleeps through the night most of the time. Some nights, she still wakes for a feed, which Felicity knows is quite normal for her age.
They have experienced a few blips in Matilda's sleep since starting on our Program, but with the help of our certified sleep consultants, they have quickly been able to get things back on track.
Having the Village as support and being able to ask sleep specialists questions is just amazing. We were struggling with self soothing for a week and starting to feel deflated but asked the sleep specialists and they advised what to do. To just have someone to encourage you and give advice is absolutely fantastic.
Reclaim your bed, and your sleep, with the help of our comprehensive Sleep Programs. If you need further guidance and support, you can also subscribe to our Little Ones App to get ongoing, day and night support from our certified sleep consultants in the Village.