After 1 am he would wake every half hour, come into our room or cry until we went to him. Four year old Louis only slept properly when finally exhausted – usually at around 10.pm.
Problem – 4 year old waking throughout the night.
Amanda and Michael , both 37, suffered years of sleepless nights with their youngest son’s sleep problems, Louis four. Amanda, a full-time mum, and Michael, also have a daughter, Daisy, two.
Until he was about 18 months Louis refused to go to his cot and spent most nights in bed with Michael and me. I was eager to get him used to sleeping alone before Daisy – a good sleeper – was born but failed miserably.The nightly ritual went something like this: Louis fell asleep in bed with me or Michael lying next to him at about 7.30pm. About half an hour later he woke and came downstairs just as we were sitting down to dinner. One of us would bounce him on our knee until about 10pm when we’d try to get him back to bed.
Between then and 1am he would shout from his bed at least twice until we went to him. After 1 am he would wake every half hour, come into our room or cry until we went to him. Louis only slept properly when finally exhausted – usually at around 6am.
We took him to Millpond sleep clinic when he was four.
Mandy drew up a tailor-made plan which began with us putting Louis to bed at 10pm. This was his natural falling asleep time but eventually, as he adjusted to the programme, the time was brought forward until he was asleep by 7pm. In Louis’ case , the main problem seemed to be that he didn’t seem to be able to get himself back to sleep when he woke without us stroking his hair and soothing him back to sleep.
When Louis shouted out in the night or came into us we were advised to guide him back to bed without talking to him,but simply to say: “It’s sleepy time Louis back to bed”. We then sat by his bed on a small cushion while he went back to sleep, but we no longer stroked his hair. Gradually we moved the cushion every few nights until we were finally out of Louis’s bedroom and he was able to go back to sleep in the night without us.
As a reward for lying still and quiet in bed while we sat on the cushion Louis was rewarded stars on a chart. Three stars entitled him to a trip to the cinema or swimming pool.
He responded well to the reward system quickly realising it was worth his while to stay quiet in bed. He was also reassured by us sitting on the cushion and so never got upset. As we moved the cushion out of his room in small stages he adapted well. Within three weeks Louis was sleeping from 8.30pm to 6am.
That was a year ago and we were cautious at first, fearful it was just a phase, but we’ve brought his bedtime forward to 7pm and he’s managing 11 unbroken hours.
See what families say about us
This training day has been very positively received by all members of the health visiting team. Staff feel better equipped to assess and provide advice on interventions that are evidence based to support parents. I strongly recommend that all clinical staff attend this extremely valuable training.”Carol Adams, Clinical Educator Health Visiting. Lewisham NHS Trust
Within my role as Infant Feeding Specialist – we have a large volume of mothers worried that their child is not sleeping, often equated to feeding concerns – this workshop has provided me with more in-depth strategies to support families with sleep issues. Lots of interesting research to follow-up and incorporate into my practice.”D Wilson, Infant Feeding Specialist
The HSE National Programme ‘Nurture’ engaged Millpond to deliver an extensive number of sleep workshop to registered public health nurses in the Republic of Ireland during 2018/19. Millpond provided an excellent professional service. They were open and willing to engagement and adaptation of the UK sleep programme to local needs. Feedback from the workshop participants was excellent. The Millpond trainers were flexible in developing the programme timetable and workshops were delivered over a wide geographical area in a timely and efficient manner.Virginia Pye, National Lead for Public Health Nursing, HSE
The landscape around children’s sleep is increasingly expansive and changing. Millpond’s up-to-date training meets the need to adapt to growing trends in child sleep challengers. Fully comprehensive and nurturing in their approach; encompassing all essential holistic and trending aspects in fully supporting a child’s emotional wellbeing to maximising a child’s sleep potential.Rozanne Hay, UK Representative & Director of Continuing Education for the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants
I think this on-line course was presented very well, to a high standard.S Jelley, Community Nursery Nurse, Ceredigion
I have my Diploma in Children’s Service’s and have worked with wee ones (aged between 12weeks and 3 years) for 15 years, as a Nanny and within centers. Honestly, I think the course was brilliant. I loved it being online; it allowed for a ‘hands-up’ system which I think saves time and the content was so relevant, so much better than expected!Jane, Nanny, London
“An excellent training course with informed and sector-leading practitioners who have a wealth of knowledge and relevant experience.”A Williams, Early Years Pathfinder Staff Development & Training Officer, Flintshire
Really great to leave with a sense of a Tool Kit to support the children and families I work with.”T Harold- School Health Nurse and Community Practice Teacher
“Fantastic training very informative and interesting…really gained a lot of new information and strategies to help families in the future.”M Cartwright, B5 Child Health Nurse
I attended the workshop you did at Oakleigh special school. I wanted to say it was wonderful. I learned lots of new things and was impressed by your extensive knowledge about sleep, especially that it was backed up by research. Thank you.”T Nicholls
“As part of Mothercare’s community programme, Mandy hosted two 2 sleep workshops for parents. Parents were tremendously keen to attend and to get the best advice about good sleep practices for both babies and young children. Mandy’s sessions met the parent’s needs, resulting in parents feeling more confident and empowered afterwards.Mothercare's Parenting Consultant, Liz Day
I have no hesitation in recommending Mandy to host a workshop on children’s sleep whether to parents or professionals.
It’s thought provoking, interesting and contains good practical advice that works, so making sleep times easier and less stressful for both the child and the parent.”
I worked for 15 years making science and medical documentaries for BBC television. In 2011 I created my own digital company; Essential Parent (EP) to support new parents.Diana Hill, Essential Parent
EP works with the NHS, maternity hospitals, children’s centers and local authorities around the UK.
We chose Mandy Gurney as our sleep expert from many other possible candidates, since she was the only one who combined enormous authority, experience and knowledge, along with common sense and warmth. It’s a very rare combination of qualities and one which has served our parents, midwives and health visitors really well.
We’re enormously proud to be working with her – and we know just how lucky we are!”
Need sleep? …call us today direct on: 020 8444 0040