Short of our decision to adopt Oliver, the single *best* parenting decision we’ve made was hiring a sleep coach.
You often hire a realtor to help you sell a house, a coordinator to plan your wedding, an accountant to do your taxes; why should we hesitate to ask for help for the single biggest stress to new parents?
I was skeptical about asking for help for something that our friends seem to have figured out on their own. But as Ollie turned two months and the magical glitter adrenaline of being a new mom started to wear off, the effects of sleep deprivation were taking over my life. We all needed sleep! Despite going through a phase for a couple weeks where he was sleeping 6+ hour stretches at night, his 4 month sleep regression kicked in and we were all feeling like this during the day :
A past bride and classmate of Nate’s, Rachel, had become a professional sleep trainer since we photographed her wedding day. While I first flinched at the idea, it wasn’t long into my insomnia that I was ready to do anything to fix our family! Luckily for me, The Cradle Coach had a sleep training package perfect for us, and it only cost $150. (Shh- Don’t ever tell them how much they’re undercharging for these magical powers!!) That $150 included our personal sleep plan and 3 days of email support from Rachel, which was PRICELESS!
When I first reached out to Rachel, Oliver was about to turn 4 months old and impossible to put down at night. His nighttime “routine” was a ~3 hour disaster of bath time, bottle, swaddling, giving a paci, rocking to sleep, and gennnnnntly putting him in his bassinet trying not to wake him. Without fail, part 2 of this routine would begin about 20 minutes later, where Nate and I alternated going up every 15 minutes to try to calm an inconsolable Oliver. Most of the time, trying to stand over his bassinet, “shhhh” until our mouths were dry, and try to keep his pacifier in his mouth. Every night, I’d cry, and every night, Nate would ask, “can’t we just duct tape his pacifier to his mouth?” (That began as a joke and I think he meant it towards the end!) Short of random ~15 minute catnaps throughout the day, naps were nonexistent and he was so cranky.
Fast forward two nights into sleep training and we put our son down to sleep in his crib. In his room. No swaddle, no pacifier, no rocking to sleep. You could have picked my jaw off the floor when within ~15 minutes, Oliver had talked himself to sleep! A week later, we’d weaned him off his night time feeds and our boy was sleeping 12 hours. Even more importantly? He was happy during the day. His witching hour disappeared since he was well rested, we got more office hours in during the day and some mom and dad time at night. It’s been an absolute dream come true for our family.
While we’ve definitely had some push back from family members, “What do you mean you don’t rock him to sleep?”, “He can’t nap on me when I come over??”, “I never stuck to a nap schedule with my kids and they turned out juuuust fine- And could sleep anywhere!” We’ve just continually pointed out that the reason our son is the happiest baby ever is *because* he’s well rested. And it’s crucial that anyone babysitting him follow his schedule… We’ll know that night if they don’t! ;)
Yes, it’s not ideal to plan our lives around our son’s nap schedule, but we’ve made it a priority. And you guys- He really is the happiest baby now. <3 He’s nine months old today and takes three naps during the day (an hour, two hours, and another hour in the evening) and still sleeps for 12 hours at night! And if we *do* find ourselves on a long road trip and unable to get him home to nap at 1:00, he still gets a decent nap in because his body is used to the schedule. This was taken on our last road trip at 1:01pm. <3
Whether you’re a new parent or this is your 5th and you can’t figure out why your newest won’t sleep, stop what you’re doing and go visit our friends at The Cradle Coach. I know all of the coaches are wonderful, but we can’t sing Rachel’s praises loudly enough. Request her! :) She’s truly our personal sandman! We love her so much we even gifted a sleep plan to my sister-in-law for her baby shower!