CASE STUDY: catnaps + night wakes were not sustainable for this exhausted mama
Written by: Nicky Barker, Founder of Little Ones & Paediatric Sleep Specialist
*this is a case study from a real-life mum 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
Settling: Fed to sleep
Violet was doing pretty well in the first few months and had been settling to sleep quite independently, however Abbie began to experience difficulties with her daughter's daytime naps from four months onwards. She started catnapping all day long and after a while, her night time sleep took a bit of a hit too. Abbie was confident that she could navigate through this ‘rocky patch’ and once the sleep regression had passed, she would be back on track. With the regression a strong feed-to-sleep association was formed and after a month, it was no longer sustainable because Abbie had became severely fatigued and very close to a post-natal depression diagnosis. At this point, Violet's nights had worsened and she had started to wake every 2 hours at night as well as continue to catnap through the day.
It was at this time that Abbie reached out to a close friend who had also experienced sleep issues with her first child. She advised Abbie that she had been using the Little Ones Programs for her second child since his birth and hadn’t experienced the same issues.
Abbie made the decision to purchase our Ultimate Sleep Program following the recommendation from her friend. After reading the Sleeping and Settling Guides in the Program, she implemented the changes suggested as soon as possible.
Some things needed adjusting in Violet's day - the times she was being offered naps, her awake windows as well as the way she was being put to sleep had all been contributing to her catnapping and night waking. Abbie was able to use our "Feed to Soothe" method to gradually move away from the feed-to-sleep association. With this method, a mother is able to comfort her baby by feeding if they're upset, then assist them to sleep in a hands-on way until they're used to falling asleep without being fed. It took 2 days before Violet was falling asleep happily on her own and in a further two weeks Violet had consolidated her napping and was sleeping for a full two hour lunch nap (something she had never done before!)
Violet had hit the 4 month regression - a sleep development stage all babies pass through. During this time, a baby's sleep cycles become more organised and obvious and babies can start full waking between each cycle in the day (every 35-45 minutes) and overnight (every 2 hours). Sometimes it's simply a case of tweaking a baby's awake windows to improve their nap lengths. Other times babies need some help moving away from newborn sleep patterns. This means respecting your baby's neurological development and giving them the chance to learn how to drift off to sleep unassisted when they're good and ready. The act of going to sleep is not a complicated one and Violet just needed the chance to realise she could do it!
Adjusting Violet's nap structure and guiding her to self-settling saw those catnaps and night wakes vanish.
"Six weeks later, by following the Program and with the support of the Little Ones Village, Violet is sleeping through the night and is no longer doing an early wake. For all intents and purposes, we have a perfect sleeper and I couldn't be happier or more rested!"
To make positive changes to your baby's sleep, our Sleep Programs have everything you need in comprehensive detail!