Wherever you are…
Jennifer a freelance editor and Michael a fire fighter live with their 8month old son Tyler in Pennsylvania USA. Tyler diagnosed with colic and acid reflux had not slept well from birth.
From his first night, our son, Tyler, wasn’t a good sleeper.For the first few months, Tyler slept less than any baby we had ever heard of–about 4 to 8 hours in any 24-hour period. Also he cried for hours each day, especially between 7 and 11 at night.At 2 months, Tyler’s paediatrician diagnosed him with colic. At three months, he diagnosed Tyler with acid reflux and put him on Prevacid. Tyler’s sleep improved for a few weeks. Often he would have one 4-hour period of sleep a night. But when Tyler was 3 1/2 months old, his sleep steadily worsened. He would fall asleep only by nursing, rocking, or walking, and he would sleep for only an hour at a time, waking up to 11 times a night! Often during one of the awakenings in the middle of the night, he would stay up for 1 to 2 1/2 hours.
At 5 1/2 months old, Tyler still woke at least every 2 hours, 4 to 6 times a night. Sometimeshe was up for hours in the middle of the night. He took three 30 or 45 minute naps a day.
At 6 months, Tyler’s paediatrician advised letting him cry it out at first to go to sleep and then at one feeding per night, to gradually eliminate the feedings. After two weeks of crying it out to go to sleep, Tyler would fall right asleep on his own in his crib at bedtime and at naps. But he was still waking up many times a night. After a few weeks, we got him down to waking only about 2 or 3 times a night.
We took Tyler back to the paediatrician at 8 months and he said that, “Tyler needs to learn you’ll be there for him in the morning” and to just let him cry–go in to make sure he’s ok or check on the video monitor but otherwise let him go. After about a week of doing that (though sometimes picking him up if he got really upset and calming him down), Tyler slept for eight hours straight two nights in a row. But then he learned how to sit up on his own and he kept waking up, sitting up, and crying because he couldn’t lie back down. He woke up multiple times a night for the next few nights until we just let him cry it out two nights in a row. He fell asleep sitting up because every time we went in to him to lie him back down, he cried harder. The next nights, he slept 7.5 to 8 hours again. But then the two nights following he was up once or twice again.
Ironically though as Tyler was getting better at sleeping through the night, it became harder to get him to go to sleep. He started sitting up, shaking the crib rails, and crying for us to come get him.
By this time, we were completely depleted and exhausted from so many months of poor sleep. It was taking its toll on our relationships with each other, and other people. In an Internet search, we came across Millpond Children Sleep Clinic. Several times over Tyler’s first nine months, we had wished that someone could help us. Millpond sounded exactly what we were looking for.We emailed them Tyler’s story, asked a few questions, and were delighted by their answers:
Can they work long distance–absolutely.
Who pays for the phone call–they do.
Have they helped other families like ours–yes, thousands of them.We decided to give it a shot. We vowed to follow the advice of our sleep therapist, to the letter. If she said to sing the national anthem while standing on our heads next to Tyler’s crib, that’s what we would do. We filled out a sleep questionnaire and kept a sleep diary for one week and emailed them to our sleep therapist. Then we talked with her by phone for about an hour. She asked some more questions and then she gave us her sleep program. We were very surprised and happy. The program addressed Tyler’s sleeping and naps, and it also revamped our entire schedule. Tracey gave us specific advice about nap times, nap routines, bedtime, bedtime routines, and more.
With our marching orders, we set about the new schedule. The results were immediate and dramatic. Within just a few nights, Tyler was falling asleep on his own, without even a peep, in less than 5 minutes! And he began sleeping from 8 pm to 5 am–9 hours straight. Even more surprisingly, Tyler began eating and nursing better as well. His mood improved dramatically. So did ours.
A few weeks later, Tyler sleeps every night 9 to 10 hours. Just the other day for the first time in his life, he laid his head down on the floor in the living room, wanting to take a nap. Last night, as we were finishing up his bedtime routine, he crawled over to his crib, pulled himself to stand, and gestured that he wanted to go to sleep. It feels like a miracle.