Sleep – It’s so important for our babes to get the well deserved rest their little bodies and brains need to thrive and grow. As a first time mom, I’ve always valued the importance of her sleep. I have been borderline crazy about my daughters naps and making sure she’s getting enough rest throughout the day and night.
Although we’ve been pretty lucky with her sleep, there were many times throughout her first year of life that I considered making an appointment with a professional for some guidance. I’ve read many books and have done a ton of research on sleep habits for babies. From sleep training techniques to co-sleeping and everything in between. I started off with following the natural baby sleep solution which worked extremely well for us from the age of 2 to 7 months. I tracked her natural 90 minute sleep cycles and she followed the N.A.P.S plan.
N – Note the time baby wakes up from a complete nap
A – Add 90 minutes (or 3, 4.5 hours etc..)
P – Play
S – Soothe your baby to sleep
For more on the N.AP.S technique, check out the book: The Natural Baby Sleep Solution
Other than waking up 1 to 2 times night for a 5 minute feed then straight back to bed, we were all sleeping very well. At that time I was still nursing her to bed at night as well as for naps. As the months passed Valentina started waking up more often at night and it was affecting everyone’s sleep. I did more research on the topic and I learned that nursing to sleep had to come to an end since that’s what was causing her to wake up crying. Whether it be nursing or rocking or using any prop to help baby fall asleep such as a soother, if they can’t self soothe, they will wake up in between sleep cycles looking for that comforting thing that helped them fall asleep in the first place. So, we decided to try out some sleeping training techniques. Our daughter was very stubborn and we had a hard time listening to her cry because she would cry HARD. She had also learned to pull herself up to a standing position at that time and she didn’t know how to get back down so that made things even harder. After several attempts we finally managed to sleep train her. We created a solid bedtime routine and stuck to it religiously every night. She was finally going down to sleep without crying and sleeping (almost) through the night at 9 months.. which is pretty late as this can be done much earlier between 4 and 6 months. However, she still woke up for an early morning feed. I thought the best thing to do about these 5am wakes up was to give her what she wanted and nurse her back to sleep so we could all get another hour or two of shut eye since letting her cry didn’t seem to be working.
It took a little longer for naps but we got there too. No props to get her down and she was having two decent naps per day at 9 months old. I soon learned that sleep habits are always changing and can easily be disrupted.
Upon our return from a recent trip to Italy for 2.5 weeks, we were faced with a serious relapse in my daughter’s sleeping habits. I resorted back to nursing her to sleep for naps as that seemed to be the only way she’d go down for me after having done that on vacation. Man do I ever wish I had consulted with a sleep coach before making that decision. Not only was she waking up at all hours of the night while on vacation due to this but coming back from vaca was a nightmare! She fought her naps sooo hard for about a month. It took an average of 30 minutes of crying anytime I’d put her down for a nap. I thought it must be time to go down to one nap, even though all my research said the average baby doesn’t give up their second nap until around 18 months. I tried that and it only made the situation worse. I could tell she was even more tired than before! It was about one month after returning from our trip when my daughter was about to have her first birthday party. After having dealt with a month of hell going down for naps, I started looking into booking with a sleep consultant. I had been following Antea for awhile and heard from friends that worked with her that had great success. Just my luck, she was doing a giveaway in celebration of her first year in business. I entered and guess what? I actually won! That just goes to show you should enter those Instagram contests and you might just get lucky!! I was gifted a more than sleep consultation with her. This was life changing. After filling out a detailed questionnaire that helped Antea better understand Valentina’s sleep situation we had a phone consultation where she asked me further questions to know exactly what issues we were having and what our goal was with her sleep. Having filled out the questionnaire prior to the call, we discussed the action plan and what changes I was to make to her schedule and why. I asked about a million other questions regarding nursing, going back to work and pretty much everything I had concerns about in these departments like how long should let the baby cry? How many hours of sleep does she need per day? How long can her awake periods be at this age?
After hanging up the phone, I was so excited and pumped to get started and felt like I finally had that support I needed. As a personal trainer and coach, I understand the value and importance of having that support system as well as the accountability.
That Monday, I started the game plan. She had suggested subtle changes to Valentina’s sleep schedule as well as changes to her awake schedule such as feeding and play time which were all meant to help me hit her sweet spots for naps. The first day involved some crying of course but by day 2, Valentina was going down for naps within a couple of minutes!! No boob, no rocking, straight into the crib!! I was amazed. I literally didn’t think that was even possible!! Then, by the third day, she went from waking up at 5am to sleeping until 7am! 12 full hours through the night without a feed. She is finally getting about 14 hours total per day, she doesn’t even cry going down for her naps or bedtime and everyone is well rested and happy!
Antea followed up with me daily to check in and see how everything was going. I couldn’t believe that after a few days her sleep was back on track and better than ever! There have been a couple of relapses where she fought her naptime but I contacted Antea she helped me make subtle adjustments which did the trick. She’s been so supportive and has been so helpful by answering my questions promptly and encouraging me to turn to her whenever I have any more questions. She genuinely cares about our well being and wants to help any way she can!
Since getting guidance from Antea, I’ve recommended her to other mama friends who are just as ecstatic about their speedy results as we are.
I write this blog post today because I want to share with other moms that are wondering if they should invest in this service. My answer I YES, ABSOLUTELY! I know she can help so many other mamas and babies dealing with sleep struggles that can easily be addressed with the right approach and proper guidance with someone with who really cares. Sometimes we just need that cheerleader who is going to motivate us to stick to a plan and not give up!
Here’s more about what Antea does to help other moms:
Antea is a registered nurse, lactation counsellor and sleep coach working with families in Ottawa.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR OWN JOURNEY AND HOW YOUR EXPERIENCES HAVE CHANGED THE WAY YOU LOOK AT MOTHERHOOD AND PARENTING.
“Becoming a mother myself has changed my perception and given me a better understanding of what families go through. It is an immense transition for most that craves and deserves support and attention. I had my two little guys 18 months apart which was extremely challenging on my relationships with others and mostly with myself. Getting the help and guidance that I needed to overcome my struggles was paramount in becoming not only a better mother, but a better person in general. This has greatly fueled me to guide and educate mamas and families so that they can be empowered to be the best that THEY can be”.
For more information about her services, check out her website and contact her to book your appointment!
Thank you so much Antea for helping our daughter create healthy sleep habits that I know will forever benefit her.
If I could go back in time, I would have called and invested in her services months ago. Sleep is so important not only for baby but for mom and dad too!
Never underestimate the power of a coach.