In This Episode, Sleep Consultants Restore Mommy’s Will to Live

12 Aug

Seabass in his Jersey Shore costume.

Seasoned blog writers advise never to open a post with “Sorry I haven’t posted anything lately.”  So, I’m not gonna be the chump who says that.

But if I were to say that, believe you me, there is a very good reason.  Two words: SLEEP TRAINING.

As I mentioned before, the itty-bitty Seabass is quite a good sleeper.  From the time he was just four weeks old he took a monster nap of three hours in the afternoon, with catnaps here and there in the morning.  It was great because I could plan to wash the dishes, take a nap, or prepare dinner all in that three-hour span.  That is, until two weeks ago.

I started noticing that Seabass was waking up after only 45 minutes of his so-called monster nap and NOT going back to sleep.  Not cool when mommy’s in the middle of triangle pose and trying to regain her sense of serenity.  If only that were the extent of the problem.  No, the worst part was that our little guy became – all over again – an outright, one-hundred percent, take-no-prisoners pain in the butt from sun-up to sun-down due to lack of sleep.  And I was on the brink.

A good friend recommended Dr. Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habit, Happy Child, and I had found it to be an excellent resource in the early weeks of Seabass’ life.  But when I went to this helpful reference for solutions to the current issues of short naps and an all-around unhappy son, the writing just didn’t compute for me.  This is no fault of Dr. Weissbluth’s, mind you.  My brain, I believe, had officially turned into mush.

I’d had so much success with consultants in the area of lactation that I kept thinking If only there were sleep consultants, too.  On one especially difficult day, I decided to Google “Dr. Weissbluth sleep consultation” and what should I find but a sleep consultancy based out of Stamford, Connecticut, that uses Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child as its bible.  Eureka.

I set up a one-hour long phone discussion with Deborah Pedrick, founder of FamilySleep.com last Thursday, not without some skepticism but desperate for help.  The conversation cost $100 and a day of follow-up emails would be $35.  When I asked Jake if our budget could withstand a $100 phone call, he looked into my bloodshot, teary eyes and declared, “We’ll take out a loan if we have to.”

The baby was rocking happily in his swing where I knew I wouldn’t hear from him for at least an hour, so I sat down with pen, paper, and a pitiful little lunch to eat while listening to Deb’s wisdom.  And here’s what she told me:

Big Shocker #1: Motionless sleep is best. In other words, get rid of the swing.  Gulp.

Big Shocker #2: Seabass can only really handle one hour awake before he needs to be soothed back to sleep.  That is all the little guy can take before erupting.

Big Shocker #3: You can’t force the length of Seabass’ naps.  He is his own fish, and everyone else just needs to deal.

Big Shocker #4: Around four months of age, Seabass will (fingers, toes and everything else crossed) start to sleep longer and stay awake happily for longer.

I am tempted to ask for a money-back guarantee on that last one, but I think I can trust Deborah because (drumroll, please!) I am happy to report that for the past week, the consultation has absolutely paid off.  No more swing, no more swaddled naps (he’s still swaddled for night sleep – we’re working on that one), and no more fuss-fuss-fuss-crash, fuss-fuss-fuss-crash.  Don’t get me wrong: it isn’t easy.  In fact, it takes a buttload of work.  Seabass’ soothing routine can sometimes drag on for 30 minutes for a measly 30-minute nap, and we do that upwards of four times a day.

Moreover, Deborah instructs me to “catch the wave” of sleepiness before it crashes.  To do that, I need to look for a tell-tale sign that Seabass is tired, but not overtired.  For me, that signal is a yawn.  Once the kid yawns, I’d better be within arm’s length of his crib, or else.  So suffice it to say we’ve been home an awful lot for the last week.

But guess what?  He’s sleeping nine hours at a stretch each night.  That’s right: NINE.  (I know I’m not supposed to brag because it’s rude.  Did I mention that my boy now sleeps NINE HOURS every night?)  So what if I don’t have a life outside of my little house?  At least I’m well-rested.  And so is my baby!  Nothing makes me happier than to walk into Seabass’ room to find him happily chirping away instead of wailing.  That is priceless, priceless.

This phenomenon has impressed me so much that I’ve been proselytizing the benefits of sleep consultation all over town.  And why?  Because Deborah gave me a plan I could implement with confidence. As a new parent, I’ve second-guessed every decision I made on my own.  I know everyone says “just trust your instincts” but my instincts have been known to tell me to lock the screaming Seabass in a closet and hitchhike to Mexico.  So I tend to disregard them.

Maybe it’s the fact that I had to spend money to get the plan.  Maybe it’s the fact that Deborah touted herself as an infant sleep expert – a pretty gutsy move in my opinion.  I don’t know where the faith and persistence came from.  But I do know one thing.

My boy’s sleeping nine hours straight through the night, and I’m a happy mama.

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14 Responses to “In This Episode, Sleep Consultants Restore Mommy’s Will to Live”

  1. marinasleeps August 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    I can honestly say I got my kids in that kind of schedule. Magically … they all were sleeping through the night after like three months. I don’t know how I did it… I must be some kind of genie!

  2. nikarella August 12, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    I know how you feel! My daughter had sleep issues too. Her naps would only be 20 minutes at a time, ahh! And night time was horrible. She now sleeps a solid 11 hours at night and AT LEAST an hour or two nap. I’m glad you are getting some rest. It definitely takes a toll on you. I wanted to hurt people while I was sleep deprived.

  3. AKeo August 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    Good for you guys! That book saved us 8 months ago when we had a HORRIBLE napper and a frequent night waker. Glad the consultation worked for you. Ever since your last post about the 3-month mark not being miraculous, and then no post for a LONG time, I was quite worried. I’ve been saying little prayers for you guys. I didn’t have a colicky baby but I thought a decent one was pretty darn hard. Glad you are getting rest.

  4. Debbie August 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    I’m glad you’re both getting some rest. See me if you need a loan.

  5. Jenn Avila August 12, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    Hallelujah! I love deborah! So glad you are following through and seeing results friends. You are on your way! I remember thinking London wasn’t going to take longer naps….ever. But he did. And since sticking to that book London is the only one of his friends that is still taking naps!!

    Have faith! Love you!

  6. familysleep August 13, 2010 at 4:19 am #

    I’m smiling ear to ear 🙂

  7. raisingteensraisingcain August 13, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    You realize that all this means that the ‘next one’ will be practically comatose for it’s first year, don’t you? It’s how the cosmic forces keep you on your toes.

  8. Kimmy Davison August 14, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    Running–not walking–to the library to check out that book!!!! Thanks, Jaime.

  9. twinthusiast August 15, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Honestly, Deborah has brought be back from the edge many times and I check in with her from time to time when I feel like my girls are taking over! In fact I may be emailing this week LOL

  10. bubba and me August 18, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    I’m so glad to hear that the sleep stuff is going better for you because it gives me hope. We are about to start sleep training tonight and I need all the hope I can get! 🙂

  11. Marie August 23, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    Trying to teach Asian grandparent to not use the swing or major rocking the baby to sleep takes some work but sleep train does work in the long run 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Plan of Attack for a High-Needs Boy and an Overwhelmed Mom. Part 4. « Higher Highs, Lower Lows - January 13, 2011

    […] me a baby who sleeps well.  It’s no secret how much I’ve wanted to give Seabass the best rest he can possibly get; without it, he is too miserable to bear.  So I’ve spent the past […]

  2. A nap! A nap! My kingdom for a nap! « Higher Highs, Lower Lows - January 12, 2012

    […] too.  One night, in the middle of a screamfest at 3am, Jake rolled over and groaned, “Email the consultant.  I don’t care what it costs.  Just get answers from […]

  3. Just get this child to three years old. | Higher Highs, Lower Lows - December 11, 2013

    […] laughable attempts to lay the ‘Bass down in his crib and put him to sleep. I was depressed. I was sleep-starved. I was a roiling mess of nerves, anxiety, self-loathing, and confusion, and I saw no light at the […]

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