Tommy's sleep story...
At 4 months old, Tommy was having four 20 minutes naps a day, with around an hour awake time between each nap. His mum Jane used white noise and swaddling, but he still struggled to settle for each nap! He would cry a lot and Jane would have to rock him to sleep for up to 30 minutes every time.
After Tommy did eventually settle at bedtime, he would wake up numerous times throughout the night and Jane found it difficult to get him settled and back to sleep. To make things even worse, he would then wake at 5am, ready to start the day!
Poor Jane was suffering from postpartum depression at the time and not knowing how to get Tommy sleeping better just made things worse:
I felt like a failure as a mother, which led to my depression worsening. I felt like I was going around in circles, so I started to google ‘baby sleep routines’. It was very difficult to find any consistent routines that worked. I felt like I had tried everything and nothing was working!
Then, Jane found Little Ones and bought our Baby Sleep Program. With the help of our expert sleep consultants, Jane discovered what was causing Tommy's sleep challenges. His awake windows in the day were too short, meaning he wasn't actually ready for sleep when Jane would try to settle him. This is why she was having to rock him for such a long time in order to get him to sleep.
Furthermore, because Tommy was undertired, he was only napping in short stints. With only 80 minutes of sleep across the day, he was becoming very overtired come bedtime, which was contributing to his frequent night waking.
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An awake time of just 1 hour is really only appropriate for very newborn babies (in the first couple of weeks of their life). As they grow, week on week, babies' awake times need to extend to keep up with their development. Their need for awake and alert time allows them to be tired enough to settle easily and nap well.
Very frequently we see babies who aren’t napping well or whose parents are spending a long time settling them to sleep, and thinking their baby’s sleep is “broken” or that they need "sleep training", when really, the only thing “wrong” is an awake time that is too short for their age!
To start with, Jane introduced Tommy to a completely dark room and made sure it was at the optimal temperature for sleep. Then, after following the nap schedule for Tommy's age, Jane was amazed to find that he not only settled to sleep quicker, but he also stayed asleep until she had to wake him! Tommy's night sleep also improved dramatically:
I couldn’t believe it, he went from waking many times throughout the night to waking only when he needed to eat (breastfed).
Once Jane was following the age-appropriate awake windows in our Program, Tommy was a lot quicker and easier to settle sleep, would nap for longer in the day and would only wake for feeding overnight - gone were the frequent night wakes and early morning wakes!
A couple of weeks later, when Tommy turned 4.5 months old, his sleep took a bit of a backwards step but armed with the knowledge gained from our Program, Jane realised this was likely due to the 4 month sleep regression and started working on self-settling.
Using the gradual methods in our Program, it took Tommy a week to learn how to self-settle to sleep on his own. The key to this being so successful was maintaining the correct awake time, nap length, dark room, white noise and right temperature and clothing. Once Tommy got the hang of self-settling, his sleep improved again and they haven't looked back!
He is now 16 months old and I’ve never looked back, he naps once a day and sleeps right through the night, waking between 6:30-7AM. The best part is I still have the confidence that I know what I’m doing and what my baby needs, which has helped to ease my depression tremendously. I often think how would I have coped if I hadn’t found LO. It really saved my sanity. I never felt like I could enjoy motherhood before and now I’ve been able to enjoy my beautiful son, and watch him grow without the worry and stress sleep brings!
By making a few small tweaks to Tommy's awake times, Jane saw a huge change - not just in Tommy’s sleep but also in her own confidence and health as a mother.
If you'd like a hand getting your baby's awake windows spot on for their age, our comprehensive Sleep Programs contain everything you need. Get instant access to customisable sleep schedules and gentle settling methods and get ready to see drastic improvements in your little one's napping and night sleep!