Back in September I entered a contest over at North Shore Mama, it was for the opportunity to win a sleep package from Leslie Black of A Kiss Goodnight. In it was included a full sleep plan, a 45 minute Skype or phone consultation, and 2 weeks of follow up support. I honestly didn’t think we would win, but I was so hopeful. So when I got the email that I had won, I was thrilled!
Everly has gone back and forth about being a good sleeper, or terrible sleeper. When I entered this contest we were back to her phase of being a terrible sleeper. We, as her parents, knew we needed to find a solution. Doing the “cry it out” method just is not for us. We tried it, but I just cannot bring myself to leave my child alone when they are crying. Nursing her to sleep was leaving me exhausted with her waking in the middle of the night and needing to be nursed back to sleep. Patting her on the back for nap time or bed time was having her be dependent on us to get her to sleep. We knew she needed to be able to get herself to sleep. We were not sure how to go about doing so.
Enter Leslie. She was able to point us in the right direction of what needed to happen, explain why, and come up with a sleep plan that was created around Everly specifically. It was like she knew in my heart that I could not just leave my daughter to cry and hopefully fall asleep. She also provided constant support as we went through the process of implementing the sleep plan.
Day 1: We started the plan for bed time, as I got to talk to Leslie on this day and go over the plan she had created for us, so we missed out on starting it at nap time. We did know we wanted to start as soon as possible. We made changes to her sleep routine, the big thing was switching Everly’s bottle feed from being the last thing we did with her, to readying a book being the last thing. This has been a big concern for me, as I feared it would be a huge change for Everly to go through. Well Everly proved me wrong. She did stand up and down a couple times, after I had said “Good night, I love you” to her, but she settled into her crib with her stuffed toy, and fell asleep instantly. She slept for 12 hours straight! Everly holds the record for the best first night under Leslie’s plan.
Day 2: We were warned that naps may be more challenging. We stuck with the new routine of reading her a book before putting her in her crib. We also made the change of no longer giving her a bottle in her room right before nap time, instead we fed her in a different room. She did not like having her bottle in a different location when her afternoon nap was rolling around. She put up a bit more of a fight about that nap, and I did have to go in twice to reassure her that she was okay, that she could fall asleep on her own, and help her relax. She did settle after 15 minutes and went to sleep. Both of her naps ended up being an hour and a half long each. This was nice as I felt like I could get stuff done around the house, and I did! Bed time went really well again too. We actually had to skip bath time in her bed time routine, but she still did well and just rolled over and went to sleep when we put her in the crib. I didn’t have to stay in her room that night for long at all, waiting for her to be asleep.
Day 3: I really appreciated that each morning Leslie would contact me by email to check in and see how things were going. This was a key part in her support, as it also helped her to know what was going on and if things needed to be changed around at all. It helped me to feel like we were not alone in doing this. Thanksgiving! This was the day of my families Thanksgiving get together. We knew we would be out of the house for her afternoon nap, so I decided to stay home from church with Everly this day so that we knew she would at least get one decent nap in that day. I am so thankful she had a good morning nap, because she did not want to nap at the park where we did our Thanksgiving picnic dinner. Forget it! She did fall asleep for a bit of a power nap on the way home, but she was crashing fast by 6pm. She was in bed by 6:30pm and fast asleep at that. We did not hear a peep out of her til 7:25am the next morning, which was nice because we all got a bit of a sleep in the next morning.
Day 4: Daddy forgot to read her a book when he put her down for her morning nap. She was babbling away, almost like she was trying to get our attention. I asked him if he did her full routine and he remembered that he forgot to read her a book. I went in, and picked her up, read her a book, back in the crib she went, and she just rolled over and went to sleep. It was like she knew she wanted a book before going to sleep. Her second nap went really well that day too, it was not a long nap but we were still focused on just getting her to fall asleep on her own. Bed time went well too, but Everly decided to start the next day at 6am. Which Leslie had said to consider morning any time after 6am. So after listening to her babble away for a good chunk of time I got up and started the day with her.
Day 5: Was an early start to the day. We had been told that day 5 can be challenging as the new routine is still getting set into place. Her afternoon nap she did babble to herself for 10minutes before going to sleep. We thought we were lucking out and not going to have a challenging day 5, then bed time came around. She did initially go to bed great. She just rolled over and went to sleep. Which I loved seeing her do. However, I could have used her as an alarm clock that evening. She woke crying at 2:30am, 5:30am, and 6:30am. The first two times I went in and was able to help her relax by patting her back a bit but not to the point of her falling asleep by that, and she did go back to sleep. I was again in for an early morning for day 6 because she was up for the day after crying at 6:30am.
Day 6: Nap times were all totally fine, but bed time was a “fun” one again. She started refusing to finish the bottle Jason was feeding her, so she was read her book and put to bed. We thought she was settling to go to sleep, nope! She started crying and screaming. I got her out of the crib and tried the bottle again and she finished the bottle with me. I read her another book and this time she went to sleep.
Day 7: With Leslie’s morning checkup email I asked if it was okay that I had gone and picked her up again the night before as I was feeling guilty for doing it and fearful that I may have messed everything up. Leslie was quick to get back to me and let me know that it was ok so long as Everly had gone back into bed awake and fell asleep on her own. It just could not become a new habit in which she knows if she cries she can get another bottle, another book, more cuddles, that sort of idea. Leslie also provided us with an option for if we saw this continuing, thankfully we never did. Thankfully her naps and bedtime went really well this day.
Day 8: Morning nap went really smoothly. Her afternoon nap was a bit of an improvisation because we were off to the pumpkin patch. I ended up leaving early, very early. I timed it so that she would fall asleep in the car as I drive with her to the pumpkin patch. I was able to park the car without her waking up, and she had her nap in the car while we waited for the rest of my family to arrive there. She got a great nap in and was as happy as can be, while we checked out the farm and pumpkin patch. Bed time, oh bed time. She had little whinny cries on and off for awhile, she was getting up and standing at the rail of the crib, and lying back down. She did this on and off for an awhile. Here and there she was also babbling away to her toy red panda. Something was just off. She also woke really early in the morning, but thankfully just went back to sleep on her own. She was likely going through “growing pains” with getting used to the new system for going to sleep.
Day 9: Her afternoon nap was a bit of a struggle again. I ended up checking on her twice to remind her it was time to go to sleep. She also only had a 40 minute nap, which was not ideal. This evening for bed time we noticed she was really tired, and showing all her signs of needing to go to bed much earlier, so we did the bed time routine earlier. She didn’t settle to sleep right away, it took her a good half hour, but she did it. This process has helped us with our instincts for knowing when she needs to go to sleep.
Day 10: Daddy baby duty. This day Jason was having a daddy-daughter day because I had several appointment this day, and he was letting me have a girls day. He was able to get her down for both of her naps on his own. They both did great! Jason did the nap time and bed time routines, and she went to sleep no problem every single time. This was incredible, and it showed us just how much she had changed already. We were no longer stressing about nap time or bed time. It used to be I would get a text or phone call to rush home and help if I was out and nap time or bed time was being a major struggle.
Day 11: I was a little worried about today, because her nap was going to be happening in a different environment. We left for church early because we needed to lower the crib that is there. We brought the sound machine with us so that we wouldn’t have to run upstairs to restart the sleep sheep (it only runs for 45min). She surprised us and went down for her nap no problem. Really we should have had more confidence in her by now. Her afternoon nap, oh my. It did not go that well at all. She did not fall asleep for an hour and 15 minutes when her afternoon nap came round. She just babbled away the whole time. I was about to surrender and pack her into the car to hopefully get her to sleep since it was panic mode time, but thankfully she finally crashed. She made up for her shenanigans when bed time rolled around. She was fast asleep right on the dot at 7pm, no crying, nothing, not a sound. She just rolled over, grabbed her red panda and went to sleep. She even slept in til 7:30am! (Apparently several other clients reported an odd afternoon nap this day. Full moon maybe?)
The last few days: We really saw everything come together. Everly even started to have 2 hour long naps. We used to be thankful if she slept for 45 minutes! The whole process with Leslie was incredible, we truly did get the gift of sleep. We really needed the encouragement, support, and guidance through Leslie’s knowledge as a sleep consultant to be able to do this and to help our daughter.
The ultimate goal was for Everly to start to get the sleep she needed, and to learn how to sleep. We as parents also felt relieved. We were no longer stressed out and worried about nap time, and bed time. We now have time in the evenings to relax, eat or enjoy a cup of tea, do some work around the house, or watch a movie together. It has been so nice to have our evenings together back. Our daughter is getting the sleep she needs, I am loving seeing her wake up happy after a good nap and in the mornings. We are all much more rested.
I am so thankful for this gift, thanks to Leslie and North Shore Mama, I honestly cannot thank them enough. If you had told me the weeks before Leslie’s help that we would be able to get our daughter to go to sleep on her own, that we could just read her a book and put her in the crib and she would go to sleep, I would have laughed and said “yeah right, no way, not happening”. I highly recommend A Kiss Goodnight if you are not getting the sleep you need, and if your child is not getting the sleep they really need. Help is out there.