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: 7 weeks
Naps: No routine, naps were all over the place.
Night: Went down at 6 PM then up again at 7 PM. Between 7 PM and the morning (usually 5 AM) awake every 3ish hours.
After my baby was born I suffered from PNDA. I ended up a mess and it got to the point where I hated spending time with my baby. My husband and I both thrive on structure so without it and having a newborn, we were totally lost. We had no idea what Amelia wanted and we assumed that every cry was from hunger. We never even suspected sleep as a cause for her unsettled behaviour. We assumed that she would go to sleep when she was tired - not realising that being too tired means you can’t sleep.
There was no time of the day I felt like I knew what I was doing. Her naps were all over the place and she was up and down so much at night. I felt like a failure.
One night,I came across Little Ones on Facebook. I bought the Newborn Sleep Program straight away. At first, I felt like we couldn’t go anywhere and would have to be tied to the house trying to work on Amelia's sleep. But it was suggested in the Little Ones Village that we use nap times as travel times, and it worked perfectly for us! It took less than a week to start seeing positive change. The first week with the Program, Amelia was down to just one night wake. Within 2 weeks, she was sleeping through the night!
We now have our bed to ourselves. We can have an uninterrupted meal together in the evening. We get to have grown-up time at night. We now know when she is tired and hungry. Our days are better. We can coordinate with friends and family the best times for us to go out or for them to pop round and see her. She is such a happy baby and we are functioning a billion times better as a family thanks to Little Ones.
I think now that Amelia knows when her feed times, play times and sleep times are, she makes the most of them. She is so happy and hardly ever cries out - unless it’s in frustration.
Felicity was struggling with a lack of structure for Amelia which was compounding her PNDA. Post Natal Depression is something we take very seriously because we know how often sleep deprivation and PNDA goes hand-in-hand. Everyone deserves help and sometimes help comes in the form of a more structured approach that everyone in your family can follow.
Amelia's unpredictable napping and poor night-time sleep was not complicated to improve. There was nothing "wrong" with this baby or her mother's ability to care for her; Felicity just needed some guidance around the best awake times and nap patterns for her baby's age. By simply getting Amelia's awake times spot-on and aiming for the best nap lengths to lead to good night-time sleep, Amelia is now a happy baby that is getting enough sleep and Felicity and her husband are getting some much needed together time too.
"Before the Program we felt like our lives were completely dictated by this little blob of love. We never imagined that we could get a routine that is so perfectly balanced for both our baby and us. These should be given to every family in the newborn kits you get from hospital."
For more information about baby sleep, make sure you read: How do I get my baby to sleep? and Over and Undertiredness: your sleep enemies