ONE MUM'S STORY: 'this has saved my mental health and my relationship'
*this is a story in the words of a real-life mum who reached out for help. We share stories and case studies in the hope it may help other mums who are in the same, or similar, situations. Not everyone parents in the same way, so please do not judge, criticize or demean these mothers and the parenting choices they have made in the best interests of their babies and their families.
"Recently I have been asked about my story with the Little Ones™ Sleep Program. For us it started when my son was three weeks old, I was already exhausted (we had an emergency c-section), I was struggling with low milk supply and post-natal depression reared its ugly head because of all of this. While up in the wee hours one morning trying to get him to go back to sleep I was trawling through Facebook and came across an ad for Little Ones™. I purchased the first Program the next day and printed it out for my mum and I to read through. I felt scared to start as I had no idea how I was actually going to do it. Mum told me to use it as a loose guideline and that every baby is different; some days it would work and some days it wouldn’t. So I jumped in feet first, set alarms on my phone for everything, but it didn’t seem to make much difference, we were still getting 6-7 wakes every night.
Week five was when I had my first child healthcare visit (outside of my maternity care) and again I was told to only use the Sleep Program as a guideline; that babies don’t need extra feeds before naps etc. Since I hadn’t been seeing any difference, I strayed off the Program and tried the healthcare provider's structure of feed/play/sleep every four hours during the day. I thought we were struggling before, but this was so much worse. He started catnapping bad, would never sleep longer then 30 minutes and I was at my wit's end. I couldn’t get anything done, let alone rest myself.
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By 9 weeks I decided to try the Little Ones™ Sleep Program again. I still hadn’t mastered the art of catching tired signs so when he hit his natural energy dips and started yawning I would whip him off to bed and subsequently he was sleeping a lot extra during the day and his feeding schedule was all out of whack. We originally started on a 7am-7pm guide but I was really struggling with the timings myself (I am most definitely not a morning person in general, let alone after multiple night wakes). We slept in one morning until 8am so I ran the whole day an hour later. By the time he was down at night we worked out that it actually worked for us to run 8am-8pm (the Program is easy to move like this). He would be waking from his last nap when his dad got home from work and dad could have his father/son bonding time bathing and feeding him.
When he was 13 weeks old his dad and I got married out of town and then went on honeymoon with him. We were away from home for 2 weeks in the end and on honeymoon we were traveling all around New Zealand in the car. During the trip he would sleep, wake and have a bottle, look around for a little bit and then go back to sleep. By the time we got home again it felt like we had to start from scratch but he had such a great foundation already that he got back into the swing of things within a couple of days!
Just when we had the feeding and tired signs worked out along came the four month regression. We were still having one overnight wake for a feed prior to this so for a couple of weeks he was waking 2-3 times. I honestly felt like I was never going to have an uninterrupted sleep again, until it happened. First time he slept 8pm-8am it wasn’t until my alarm went off in the morning that I realised he hadn’t woken up at all and I panicked!! Ran into his room and he was lying in his cot smiling up at me as if to say, look what I can do mum.
I still remember the day he first smiled, it was right back when we restarted the Program. It made such a difference:
I felt like he knew I was doing this for him and that we could do it together.
He’s such a relaxed and happy boy now thanks to getting the right amount of sleep and him being so relaxed now has helped my mental health as well to the point where I am about to be discharged from my PND services.
I swear by these Sleep Programs now, I tell everybody about them because I honestly believe that this is what saved my mental health and my relationships with our son and my husband."