We took it in turns to sit on a chair singing and telling stories. When they finally closed their eyes we would creep out, but the moment we shut the door they would cry until we came back.
Beth and Tom, 30, are parents to twins, Jack and George, three, who were both poor sleepers. They also have Freddie, six, and another baby on the way.
Freddie slept through the night from eight months, so we never bargained for the terrible trouble we had with the twins.
When they were 22 months Jack became dangerously ill with tonsillitis and had to have an emergency operation to remove them. As they are identical, the doctor said George was an accident waiting to happen and did a tonsillectomy on him too.We were told their enlarged tonsils made it difficult to breathe, which was probably why they woke crying several times a night.The thought that we had almost lost our precious babies made it very hard for us to get firm with them about sleep routines. So we would put them in their cots at 7.00pm and were lucky if they were asleep by 9.00pm. During those two hours one of us would be at their side.
We took it in turns to sit on a chair singing and telling stories. When they finally closed their eyes we would creep out, but the moment we shut the door they would cry until we came back. Around midnight the boys would insist on coming into our bed. This went on for 18 months until, utterly exhausted, we looked for help with our children’s sleep problems and turned to Millpond Sleep Clinic.
Our sleep therapist said the boys were getting too excited at bedtime and as a consequence had a second wind when we tried to put them to bed. They had also become dependent on us being there not only at bedtime and also in the night to get back to sleep. We had become their sleep prop!
Our sleep consultant Juliet suggested we quieten the bedtime routine so it was less stimulating and that we used the gradual retreat method to sort out the night waking problem.
This meant after a much quicker, calmer and more focused bedtime routine, we settled our tired boys into bed and sat on the chair until they fell asleep. However every few nights we were to move the chair, very gradually, closer and closer to the door until we were out of their bedroom. If they woke in the night we were to go to them straight away and repeat the same steps. Amazingly, over time, they happily went to sleep without us!
Even though we were doing this slowly, the fact we were moving out of the room made me feel a little anxious, I wasn’t sure how they would react. But surprisingly they accepted the changes well.
Eventually we were able to leave their bedroom with them happily awake and we explained that while they were unable to see us, we were pottering around in our bedroom next door.
When they shouted out we would simply say, “Yes” so they could hear us, but not engage in conversation.
Incredibly, considering all the trauma caused by 18 months of sleep deprivation, within 2 weeks they were falling asleep alone and sleeping through the night in their own beds!
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