Out of everything that I worried about as I became a new mom, sleep truly wasn’t something I worried about. That was one thing I thought I knew how to do. Though I am a first-time mom, I am not new to soothing babies or the concept that babies don’t always sleep easily. In fact, I work with babies–newborn babies–at my job as a full-time nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Fast forward 4.5 months and there I was, breaking every “rule” that I said I wouldn’t break, just to get my baby to stay asleep for more than 45 minutes.
We were feeling desperate… I was spending up to an hour and a half trying to get my son to fall asleep. Then I would gently lay him down in his crib, tiptoe out of the room, and rush to get as much done around the house as possible so I could go to bed quickly, because we knew the timer was on and he would be awake again within an hour or two (if we were lucky). I was up with him every 1-3 hours throughout the night, and usually by 3 a.m. he was in our bed–which didn’t help him sleep any better, but it saved me from walking down the hall to the nursery a few more times.
Nap time was great…as long as we were at home and I was holding him. Don’t get me wrong, I love snuggling on my little man, but if we were anywhere other than home, he could not fall asleep and was absolutely miserable. This included in the car or stroller, where most babies actually do sleep. He instead cried the entire time. So there we were, stuck at home and stuck on the couch.
I felt like the majority of my interactions with my baby were while he was sleeping, because when he was awake I had to put him down so I could cross a few things off my list for the day. I spent my time researching anything and everything that may work to get my baby to (finally) sleep. We tried every sleep sack, sleep suit, and sleep apparatus out there. Did I mention he wouldn’t even sleep in his swing?
To say that we were desperate was an understatement.
And then we met Audrey McCoy at Sleepwell Baby.
Audrey is a child sleep consultant based out of Marion, and she offers both in-home and phone/Skype consultations to meet your needs no matter where you live. Let me tell you, when we connected with Audrey, it was nothing short of life changing! Audrey and I began our consult with a 60-90 minute phone call where I laid everything out for her (she offers free 15-minute inquiry consultations).
I’ll admit that the idea of sleep training made me very anxious. I’m sure I’m not the only new mother who has done a google search on sleep training, and just like everything else in this world, you’ll find the good the bad and the ugly. But Audrey was immediately confident that she could help my family teach our son healthy sleep habits, and she made it very clear that she had multiple methods that we could choose from to ensure that our plan was right for our child and aligned with our parenting style. That was really comforting to me.
After talking with Audrey, I knew that this was something we needed to do.
We worked together to create a customized plan for my son. She taught us about restorative sleep, sleep patterns, and developmental milestones. She answered all of our questions, talked through our concerns and hesitations, and she built up my confidence in what I was doing for my baby. I loved the fact that this plan was tailored specifically for our family, and had wiggle room built in for any bumps we may hit along the way. Once we talked through the details, she emailed me our sleep plan within hours and we set a start date. (We were instructed to minimize any scheduled activities that would cause conflicts in the routine for the two weeks that we focused on implementing the personalized plan.)
Let me say that I was more than a little anxious as we waited for our start date. My mom brain kicked into overdrive and I worried about nearly everything imaginable as we prepared to make changes to our current routine. How hard was it going to be? What if he still didn’t sleep? What if we couldn’t do it? Thankfully, Audrey was there to help guide me through these emotions and answer all of our questions. The best part about working with a professional sleep consultant who has studied the science of sleep, was the reassurance that we were doing things correctly. As a new parent, it’s easy to question yourself and get caught up in mom-guilt. It was such a relief to have a professional to tell me that this was right, and that we could get through it.
The first night was the hardest.
He was awake no more than before but I had instructions for how to engage with him and react to him so there was no more stressful guessing game in the middle of the night. This is where the magic started happening. By night two, our son was sleeping 6:30 p.m.-6:30 a.m. and waking for just one feeding. By night five he was sleeping through the night–12 hours straight through and had self weaned from his night feeding! We were jumping for joy and a little shocked at how smooth of a transition it was when we used Audrey’s customized plan to guide our reactions and routines.
Now we are about a month out, and our son is consistently sleeping 10-12 hours at night, and napping in his crib 1-2 hours at a time during the day. Not to say we didn’t have some hiccups here and there (hello new teeth), but Audrey was right there for all of those times to give suggestions and help us adjust along the way. She gave us the tools that we needed to help our son get good restorative sleep. My husband and I are now able to spend quality time together in the evening, I feel so much more refreshed now that I am sleeping through the night again, and it’s so much easier for others to watch our son now that he is on a more predictable schedule!
Working with Sleepwell Baby was the best thing that we ever did.
The entire process was so much easier than I anticipated, and working with Audrey was a total blessing. I know that we would not be getting the sleep that we are without her help. As a nurse and a mother, I make a point to share our experience with as many people as possible because it was truly life changing!
About Audrey McCoy and SleepWell Baby:
Audrey is a mom of four who has lived in Marion, Iowa, for over 11 years. She provides kids–and parents–with the sleep they need. Audrey offers personalized child sleep consultations with a variety of options including a FREE 15-minute inquiry consult, a proactive Getting Ready for Baby package, and a number of options to help save your family’s sleep, keep everyone on track, or even make it a slumber party with a group consultation! For more information or to book a consult, please visit sleepwellbaby.ca/audrey (Click ‘Book a Consult’ and pick your time), call 319-210-4176, or email [email protected].
This guest post was written by Emilee Simpson. Emilee and her husband, Zach, reside in Lisbon and are first time parents to an adorable little “honeymoon baby” that turned their world upside down. Emilee is also a NICU nurse, a Hawkeye fan, an iced-coffee lover, and slightly obsessed with her dog, Cash.
This is a sponsored post. ICMB was compensated for sharing this piece. However, we love connecting our readers with people and organizations that are doing good in our community, and we think you will find this information helpful and informative!