A Medical Sleep Problem
Two year old Sam had suffered from severe reflux and associated problems since birth which necessitated holding him upright for up to an hour after his last feed of a night as a small baby – and so the seed of poor sleep habits was sowed.
From the age of about 9 months Sam’s sleep routine consisted of being rocked to sleep, then he would sleep on the floor in our lounge until our bedtime after which time he would join us in the marital bed – which I wouldn’t recommend in any circumstances.
Fools, I hear you saying – why on earth did you do that – especially if you take into consideration that Sam was our second child and our daughter had never shared a bed with us – well Sam would wake every 40mins (or if we were lucky he might make it to an hour) and if he couldn’t have physical contact with me he would wake properly and it would result in crying and almost instantaneously, thanks to the reflux – vomiting huge amounts. After he had vomited then he was changed, I was changed and carpets/beds/cots/sofas were cleaned down he had been rocked back to sleep again – the process could take up to an hour. In addition my husband had been seriously ill and a half decent night’s sleep was vital to his recovery – hence we chose the easy option in order to preserve our sanity and health (and jobs!!).
It wasn’t that we didn’t try to get help – we consulted health visitors, our GP, his pediatrician and finally a behavioural therapist. Despite trying every known technique to man – Sam was still in our bed and was fast approaching his 3rd birthday. My husband and I were at the end of our tether, depressed, exhausted (Sam still woke every hour or so in our bed to check I was there, and needed to climb onto me to go back to sleep), and seriously fed up – and then someone mentioned Millpond for my son’s sleep problems – telling me how it had changed their life. I couldn’t believe anyone could help but I felt that I had to try one more place – and thank the lords I did.
After filling in a sleep diary for a week we met up with Mandy our sleep therapist.
She then set a list of goals for us to achieve and we agreed a plan .It didn’t involve leaving Sam to cry it out (something, reflux considered I was reluctant to do) and would eventually relieve me of what seemed like a catalogue of disasters in the way that Sam slept.
I wouldn’t say that it was plain sailing, I didn’t sleep at all for the first two nights and I was totally exhausted. I phoned Mandy ready to give up, as I was trying to work, look after two children etc. on no sleep. Somehow she managed to talk me round, and gave me the motivation to keep on going.
Sure enough that night Sam went to sleep by himself in his cot and only woke three times in the night. From Day Three onwards we just kept moving on – so much so that by Day 8 he only woke once in the night and it took me about 5 minutes to settle him.
The transformation was amazing it was so good that we didn’t even need the review meeting, instead Mandy and I kept in constant contact over the two week plan period (and beyond). Even an illness just two and a half weeks after starting the programme had very little impact on Sam’s progress. We simply took a step back in the plan and within a few days he was back to sleeping all night in his cot.
As any parent will know, sleep disturbances will always happen with a child, no matter how good a sleeper they are but three months on Sam sleeps 11-12 hours a night in his own room and falls asleep by himself. He does wake up some nights, but when he does I am normally in and out of his room within 2 minutes.