Welcome to Part 3 of the Sleep Training Special Series. In this three-part series, qualified sleep trainer Sonya Kumar shared all you need to know about sleep training. Whether you are a new parent, have recently had another baby or are a childcare professional. Find out everything you need to know in this sleep training special series – part 3.
In this article, sleep training expert Sonya will give real-life examples of 2 of her clients and their babies’ sleep problems. This will help give a better understanding of what you could do. By relating yourself and your baby to either of these scenarios and use the techniques that Sonya used. Find out and see if it would work for you and your baby. Due to data protection, different names from the originals were used for each scenario.
Sleep Training Problem Case 1 – Laura
Laura was 10 months old when Sonya was reached out to by her parents. Laura was waking up between 3 am and 5 am every morning. Causing mum to take her into bed with her from her cot. Laura had no health problems. She was a happy baby, who however experienced traumatic childbirth. She had a tormented birth experience. Not forgetting the mother who also suffered this.
Mum was induced at week 39. Which meant neither the mum nor the baby was ready for the delivery. Once Laura turned 6 months old and was introduced to solids, it was done all too fast for her. She was introduced to solids starting with all 3 meals a day. Which caused Laura to become very unwell and with tummy problems. This then affected her sleeping pattern. Both through the day and the night. Laura was also being fed 8oz milk in the mornings for breakfast at 7 am. She was given a solids breakfast meal of half banana and baby rice at 7.30 am.
This is what Sonya recommended:
Recover From Birth Experience
Laura and her mum had a painful and stressful birth experience. Both, but especially mum needed physical support from family and friends. To help boost mums confidence. And to help her stay calm and happy. That is very important so she could focus on her baby positively. And for her to think about the future with the baby in a positive way. These things happen slowly. But it is important to start somewhere. Having a supportive bubble around them really helped.
Secondly, the weaning plan was looked at. Sonya would recommend starting the mid-day meal. This to give enough time before bed. To help the baby get used to solid foods. So if any gas or other stomach problems occur, they can be looked at. After another 2 weeks, a different variety of finger foods or another meal can be introduced. Doing 2 to 3 meals straight away can cause shock to the baby’s system. Which can give them stomach problems.
Thirdly, Laura’s breakfast was too heavy. The main issue was that the milk and the solid meal did not enough time apart. Meaning Laura didn’t have enough time to digest it. This was then causing her discomfort to be able to have her normal daily routine. This discomfort would continue towards and through the night. Ideally in the morning, Laura should get her morning milk feed around 6.30 am/7 am. With measurements of 5-6oz. This would give her enough room for her solids breakfast at around 8 am.
These changes were implemented. And once the changes kicked in, Laura started sleeping better in the day. Both for her morning and afternoon nap. This in turn meant she wasn’t too overtired for her night sleep. She started sleeping up to 6-8 hours straight at night. Also, she had no more stomach problems. Her day was better structured and she was eating and sleeping better. Her body and mind were responding well.
Pick Up Put Down Method
When it came to sleeping strategies, Sonya recommended doing the ‘pick up put down’ method. This was because Laura needed reassurance and be sure to know she is safe. Knowing mum and dad are right there next to her. This was especially after the childbirth experience. Not just for the baby, but the mum needed it too. Sonya could have recommended controlled crying for Laura. However, Sonya felt that she’s been through enough. And did not want to cause any more distress, even the littlest. Sonya asked mum and dad to be more physically attached with Laura throughout the day. Filling her physical touch and love bucket through the day so she can go to bed satisfied.
Sleep Training Problem Case 2 – Alex
Alex was 9 months old, a very healthy baby who loved his food and his daytime sleep. Alex was having three 45 minute naps in the day at 10.30 am, 1.30 pm and 5 pm. He was having all 3 meals through the day as solids. Alex was also still being breastfed. He wasn’t having much of his vegetables. His parents were Vegetarians and so was Alex so the only source of protein he was being given was eggs, beans, lentils, and soy.
He was not sleeping well through the night, waking up every hour starting at 12am.
This is what Sonya recommended:
Tackle The Diet
Alex was a vegetarian alongside his parents. He needed other vitamins and things like iron and Vitamin D. Sonya recommended using different vegetables each time. To use a varied menu plan through the week so he’s spoilt for choice. And to make sure he would receive these important nutrients from somewhere.
Sonya also recommended getting him started on Vitamin D drops. Finally, Sonya also recommended using more types of beans. As well as getting him started on almond and peanut butter on toast as sources of protein. He had no nut allergies.
Tackle The Naps
Alex was having way too many naps in the day at the wrong times. Due to this, he was waking every hour at night. Sonya recommended changing the timings to one 30-minute nap at 10 am and a 2-3 hour nap at 12.30 pm straight after lunch.
Add Starchy Foods
Sonya suspected that one of the other reasons Alex was waking at night was because he was hungry. Due to not having enough starchy foods such as pasta or baby rice. This normally keeps babies fuller through the day and night. Sonya recommended a dream feed of 6oz at 10.30 pm. Which actually helped push his sleep through till 6 am after being put in bed at 7 pm.
More Physical Activity
A final thing that needed to change was to increase the level of physical activity Alex was doing during the day. His sleeping pattern throughout the day was changed. Meaning it had to be made sure he was active and tired enough. So he could get through a longer afternoon nap. Exercise before lunch meal and dinner meal really helped achieve that.
After these changes were made Alex got all the right nutrients and foods to keep him fuller and happier. This resulted in him being able to get a good night’s sleep. 8 hours straight, every night. The dream feed was eventually stopped. This because Alex was on solids and snacks fully through the day.
The exercise really helped too, which was also great for his development. And when he did wake up at night Sonya recommended to try the control crying method. This to see if Alex can self-soothe himself. Especially after he’s getting everything he needs now. Including have a fuller stomach, which worked as a delight. He just got himself into a habit of crying every hour, which eventually stopped because he was content!
How Can Polo & Tweed Help?
Have you found these sleep training special series helpful? If you are looking for childcare support, setting up a sleeping routine, and everything that comes with it, Polo & Tweed can help. We have an extensive selection of the best childcare professionals on our books, all fully vetted and checked. From Maternity Nurses, to Nannies, we will be able to find you the best and most suited childcare. Why not get in touch with us today, to find out how we can help.
Sonya is an experienced sleep trainer, having worked with babies from 6 months to 4 years old. She has a vast client base in and around London helping families overcome any difficulties related to their child’s sleeping habits or patterns. Sonya does not just work with the child to overcome any obstacles which could be the reason for interfering with their ability to self soothe and be influenced into a routine but also with the family. Working as a unit and having the whole family on board is just as important.