A heartfelt post about baby sleep
A post about baby sleep. Picture this. While my hubby and I were sitting by the campfire at a cottage, out of the blue, he mumbled “Thank you Dazzle”.
Let me give you the back story and tell you about Dazzle. For the first time since our 3rd child was born, our three kids were asleep and it was only 7:15pm. My hubby and I had the whole evening to ourselves and we were chatting together by a campfire. Now this was unheard of because I co-slept with my 3rd child until he was 10 months old, a few days before that cottage getaway. I used to spend hours trying to get him to fall asleep and he woke up several times a night to nurse. Needless to say, I had been tired. Look at these dark circles under my eyes:
I was so tired. This was me:
- All I wanted to do was sleep
- I didn’t want to work out anymore
- I was impatient with all my children
- I wasn’t laughing anymore
- I wasn’t motivated to cook, work or even play
- I couldn’t sleep because I was too tired (it’s a thing!)
- I had no time for myself because I was always trying to get my baby to fall asleep
- I wasn’t enjoying the precious moments with my baby because I was so tired
- My brain was scattered because all I could think of was “I’m tired” and “When is the next time I will sleep”
It wasn’t only me who was tired. My baby was tired too. He would fall asleep at any time during the day, in the baby carrier, stroller, anywhere:
Needless to say, I was burnt out. I nursed my 10 month old back to sleep I don’t know how many times a night.
I remember thinking “This is what it must feel like to have three kids. I can’t believe no one warned me about how difficult this would be”.
On June 12, 2019, a particularly bad day, I get a message from Jenn, asking me if I would like to collaborate.
Let’s back up way back in 2002 so you can get a visual of Jenn. I worked with her as a camp counsellor and her camp name was Dazzle (she is on the left, I’m on the right):
Jenn is now a mom of a toddler and she recently trained to become a sleep consultant. She messaged me to collaborate because our audience is very similar (parents of infants). Reluctantly, I wrote back asking her what her approach to sleep is because I want to make sure it’s consistent with “mine”. Note: I wanted to know if she let babies cry in a dark room for hours because that’s what I thought sleep consultants were about. Selfishly, I asked her “What do you recommend with babies sleeping in their parents’ beds?”. Her response was “Lots of families choose to share a bed with their babies, and it works for them. Those families aren’t looking for my support. When moms who co-sleep with their babies approach me for support, it’s usually because they’re not happy with how things are going anymore. Mom is tired or baby is tired.” At that moment, a lightbulb went off. THAT’S ME! I’m so tired and my baby is probably super tired as well because we never get long stretches of sleep. Whatever I was doing WASN’T working anymore.
I agreed to schedule a call with her. Jenn is still the same gentle, open-minded and caring person she was 15 some years ago when we worked together at camp. She created a customized plan for us and I followed it to the T that same night. I have to say that her plan worked like magic for us. After a few nights of glorious sleep, I told Jenn:
“I’m falling in love with my baby all over again”
My life was changed:
- I get evenings with my hubby
- I feel rested
- My baby’s naps are predictable
- I know I will get to sleep from 7pm-6am without any wakings
- I started running again
- I’m laughing and making jokes now
- My baby is rested
- I’m feeling more present with my children and my biz
Look how rested and joyful we look!
I must say that I was against getting a sleep consultant because I thought it had to involve letting babies cry for hours several nights in a crib. Abandoned and alone in a dark room. I was ill informed. When people offered me help with sleep, I’d say I’m OK, it’s normal if they wake up. Until I couldn’t anymore.
Here are some reasons I never got help with sleep:
- I thought I knew what I was doing
- Our system was working quite well
- I thought my baby would figure it out on his own
- I actually wanted to sleep with my baby
If what you are doing with your baby works for you, great. I co-slept with my other children and it worked for us most of the time.
My message here is that if ever you notice that you’re tired and what you’re doing isn’t working, get help. Don’t wait until you are too depleted. It’s not normal to be tired all the time.
There are specialists for everything. If you need help with the introduction of solid food for your baby, you know to contact me, a dietitian. If you need help with sleep, contact a sleep consultant. I’m not advocating for all sleep consultants. I know there are some that recommend letting your baby cry for long periods of time at a very young age and even night weaning too early. Before paying for a sleep consultant, ask questions. If you want my personal recommendation, contact Jenn. All her services are online and she even offers a free 15 minute call so you can ask your questions to make sure she is the perfect fit for you.
So, now you have it. Thank you Dazzle for helping me and my baby get the sleep that we needed so much. We are sincerely grateful for your help and hope that other parents get the sleep they need.
Baby sleep, sleep, baby, solids, blw, baby led weaning
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