Written by: Nicky Barker, Founder of Little Ones & Paediatric Sleep Specialist
*this is a case study from a real-life mother who reached out for help. We share our 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.
Age: 4 Months
Naps: Four 30 minute naps a day
Nights: Awake every 45 minutes to 2 hours overnight
Fatigued and emotional, Ash felt like she was failing as a new mother. There just didn’t seem to be an end in sight for her with poor napping, endless night wakes and a crabby baby. Little Ruby was only napping for half an hour per nap, achieving about 4 of these short naps all day long. Ash had no idea what the awake times were meant to be for Ruby's age, and coupled with poor napping, this meant she was reaching bedtime at night very overtired. From there, she was waking every 45 minutes to 2 hours all night long. When Ruby woke, she was being fed back to sleep.
In her sleep environment, Ash was using a baby sleeping bag for Ruby.
Exhausted and wondering if their sleep situation was sustainable, Ash found Little Ones on Facebook and bought our Baby Sleep Program.
After reading our recommendations on the ideal sleep environment, she started with some white noiseand also made Ruby's room darker to make sleep easier to achieve. From there, Ash started using our awake times as a guide for when Ruby needed to be napping and was able to gently coach Ruby away from needing to feed to fall asleep, to falling asleep in her crib on her own. Once Ruby had mastered this important skill, her naps and night sleep almost instantly improved, in under a week!
"I cannot thank Little Ones enough. Within one week I was a different mother, I was able to function as my little girl was sleeping 10-12 hour stretches at night. I even recommenced University study as I could almost guarantee to have 2hrs in the middle of my day to myself to study. I am forever grateful for the Program and for the information it equips new mothers with!"
Baby Ruby was deep in the throes of the 4 month sleep regression, meaning her sleep needs had developed and matured from those of a newborn baby. During this massive change, sleep cycles become more pronounced and babies wake fully after each one, resulting in catnapping in the day and very frequent night waking! At this time, babies are capable of learning to fall asleep independently, or self-settle, which means when they wake at the end of a sleep cycle, they can simply put themselves back to sleep without needing you to actively settle them via feeding, patting or rocking.
[Watch this video about self-settling for more information]
Little Ruby was relying very heavily on being fed to sleep that it was the only way she knew how to fall asleep. This meant that she was needing to feed again every 45 minutes to 2 hours all night long, in order to keep going back to sleep. (Read more about how sleep associations work here).
This situation was also exacerbated by the fact that she was having such short naps in the day and far too much awake time, causing her to be very overtired by bedtime in the evening. An overtired baby will struggle to sleep well at night in any case, so couple that with a strong feed-to-sleep association, and you've got a recipe for a very wakeful baby and a very tired mother.
By making some positive changes to Ruby's sleep environment, with the introduction of white noise and blackout blinds, and tweaking her nap schedule in the daytime, Ash was then able to use one of our gradual methods to guide Ruby to self-settling. This happened in under a week because, by following our Sleep Program, Ruby was perfectly ready for sleep every time and so it wasn't difficult to alter her sleep habits.
Once Ruby was napping better and sleeping more soundly at night, Ash reported that she was a much happier baby!
"I have recommended this program to 4 friends who ALL had similar outcomes. Babies sleeping through the night (or close enough) and mums that can function and enjoy this crazy ride."
If you need a hand getting through the 4-month sleep regression or getting your baby's settling, naps or night sleep on track, click here for access to the most effective Sleep Program, recommended by paediatricians worldwide.