Harry's sleep story...
Lauren thought her first baby, Harry, was an okay sleeper up until around 18 months, when suddenly, things changed. Instead of waking just once or twice a night and being fed or rocked back to sleep quickly, he was staying awake for 2-3 hours at a time:
Nothing would settle him and myself or my husband would have to just sit with him for hours until he fell asleep again.
Tired and confused, Lauren sought help from Little Ones and purchased our Toddler Sleep Program straight away.
After speaking to our sleep consultants in the Village, Lauren learned that the sudden change in Harry's sleep was likely due to the 18 month sleep regression. This regression is linked to some big developmental changes happening around this age. Your toddler is now becoming more mobile, more communicative and more independent. They are testing boundaries and figuring out their limits, as well as ours!
During this regression, toddlers can experience a peak in separation anxiety, so may become more clingy at naps and bedtime and protest going to sleep. Many toddlers this age will also need to start reducing their day sleep, in order to be tired enough to settle and sleep well overnight.
With all of these changes going on, it's not unusual for toddlers to start to resist parent-led settling methods that worked well previously like feeding or rocking to sleep. This is a sign that they are becoming more independent and are ready to learn how to self-settle.
For the first two weeks, Lauren focused on helping Harry adjust to the sleep schedule, while still rocking him to sleep at naps and bedtime. By making some small adjustments to Harry’s schedule, Lauren was able to rule out under and over tiredness contributing to his overnight wakes and settling difficulties.
Once Harry had a bit of time to adjust to his new sleeping pattern, Lauren started to guide him towards self-settling using one of the gentle methods in our Program. She knew that this would give him the best chance at resettling back to sleep if he did wake overnight.
Much to Lauren's surprise, after just two days of working on self-settling, Harry slept through the night - for the first time in 18 months! The fact that Harry took to self-settling so quickly suggests that he was well and truly ready to learn this new skill, he just needed to be given the opportunity to do so.
It was a game changer, after just 2 nights of teaching self settling he was sleeping through for the first time in 18 months. Getting a good night sleep for everyone makes the world of difference.
Emmy's sleep story...
Having seen how well our Toddler Program worked for Harry, Lauren decided to start following our Newborn Program with her second baby, Emmy, at around 10 weeks old. She started by establishing a positive sleep environment for Emmy - making sure she was swaddled and sleeping in a dark room with white noise playing.
Your baby's sleep environment can have a huge impact on both their settling and the length of their naps. Swaddling helps to suppress their startle reflex and a dark room promotes the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. White noise can also be a very helpful tool for settling, as it signals to your baby that it is time for sleep. As they get older, it can also help them to drift between sleep cycles, rather than waking fully.
Next, Lauren focused on following the sleep schedule for Emmy's age, knowing that she needed the right balance of awake time and sleep during the day in order to settle and sleep well overnight. Following the feed times in the schedule also ensured Emmy was getting plenty of calories during the day, which meant she was able to sleep through the night without waking for a feed at just 12 weeks old! Lauren couldn't believe it!
The structure and routing makes me feel confident. It takes out the guess work, I know she is getting enough sleep and she's happy for it. We're happy too!! When she slept through for the first time at 12 weeks, a full 12 hours we were amazed.
Since Emmy’s awake times were appropriate for her age, this also meant that she was perfectly ready for sleep at nap times, which made settling a breeze! She also flew through the dreaded 4 month sleep regression (much to Lauren's relief!). By the time Emmy was 16 weeks old, Lauren could put her down awake at nap times and bedtime and she would calmly settle herself to sleep:
Working on self settling from an earlier age meant it wasn't a big deal, it was just something she did, something that was expected and came easy to her because of it. I learnt that you can teach good sleep habits and create confident happy babies without having to leave them to cry or giving "tough love". When she flew through the 4 month sleep regression with only 2-3 tough nights we knew the program was worth every penny!
Instilling positive sleep habits from a young age can definitely help to avoid a lot of sleep challenges later on but it’s also never too late to start. Lauren says:
Little Ones has given myself and my husband the confidence to support our children. Doing it together has made us stronger as parents and sharing the responsibilities means everyone is well rested. A good night's sleep should never be underestimated! We love the program, couldn’t live without it!
Whether your child is 10 weeks old or 18 months old; if you are having difficulties with their settling or sleep, we can help. Take a look at our comprehensive Sleep Programs that have helped over 300,000 families worldwide to get more sleep!