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“Six month old waking frequently at night”

 

Bec reached out for help with her six-month-old little boy, Grayson. Grayson was a very active and busy little boy who had recently started crawling and even pulling himself up in his cot. Bec also had two older boys to look after as well as her baby, so needless to say she was a very busy mum. She was on her own a lot as her partner worked in a job that required him to be away from home for extended periods of time.

The issue main issue for Bec was that Grayson was waking multiple times overnight and the only way she could settle him back to sleep was to rock or feed him. Sometimes, Bec would take Grayson to her bed in the early morning hours, as it was just easier. The constant waking at night was understandably exhausting for both mother and baby.

Bec says, “Grayson needed to be rocked, nursed, bounced, walked up or down the hallway all night long, every night, multiple times a night. We also had 4/5am wake ups. What was also really hard was that Grayson screamed when in the car and he wouldn’t last five seconds in the pram. My partner works away from home and it was never easy, knowing he was leaving and I was going to be on my own with the kids again. Each time I drove my partner to the airport with Grayson screaming and upset in the car, it was heart wrenching.”

During our consultation, Bec decided that she wanted to teach Grayson to sleep through the night with one feed, which was an age appropriate and realistic goal. She wanted to start with a more gentle ‘in the room approach’ to sleep training which I took into account in her sleep plan. I explained that her plan was fluid and we could change things if we needed to, depending on how Grayson responded and how she was feeling.

The technique we started with was ‘Put Down Put Down’. This is a gentle sleep training technique that allowed Bec to stay in the room and comfort Grayson at intervals, with her touch and voice. The aim was for Bec to gradually decrease her assistance and over time, have Grayson learn to sleep independently. Put Down Put Down was working for Bec and Grayson but a couple of days into her plan, Bec decided she might need to change tact. She wrote, “I’m feeling a bit anxious about my partner flying out tomorrow and how I am going to do all the things myself, with Grayson and two other little boys as well. I’m thinking of perhaps doing out of room technique. That way I can still tend to the other boys at the same time as working on Grayson’s sleep.” This was a sensible approach as it would have been logistically difficult to stay in the room with Grayson when the other boys also needed Bec’s attention. So we adjusted the plan and Bec started on a sleep training technique that night called controlled crying.

Within three days of working on her adjusted plan, Grayson was putting himself to sleep and only waking twice a night instead of up to six times. Within a week he was waking only once a night, and sometimes not waking at all. He started sleeping later in the morning to at least 6am and if he did wake earlier, he would go back to sleep himself. He was having amazing day sleeps which allowed Bec to get things done before she had to pick the other boys up from school. An even bigger surprise for Bec was that Grayson stopped screaming in the car and could now ‘chill’ in the pram for a good couple of hours. Bec could finally venture out with Grayson and go shopping or attend her bootcamp sessions, confident that Grayson would sleep soundly or sit happily in the pram instead of screaming.

It was important for Bec to feel comfortable with her sleep training technique, but also to consider the logistics of what would work best with her family dynamics. Having a step-by-step plan of what to do each day and night made it easy for Bec to be consistent with her sleep training. Added to that was the close daily support and regular phone calls which helped Bec reach her goals and experience success.