The alternate title of this post should be "Sleep Training-- It's Not The Devil. It Saved My Life". Buckle up because this one is going to be LONG.
I've mentioned a few times that "sleep training" i.e. cry it out was not my style. It still really isn't. The sleep issue, however, has really taken a toll on me the last couple of months. My day consisted of literally feeding and rocking babies to sleep. Once I did get them down for a nap they slept for maybe a half hour. Night sleep was a total joke. Getting either girl down for the night was an hours long process. Eleanor was up every 1.5-2 hours.
In short: I was ready for a change because what we were doing was not working for anyone anymore.
That's when Mandy Hose entered my life. I am not kidding-- she walked in right in the nick of time. I was on the platform ready to board the train to CrazyTown. Or rather, she FaceTimed into my life in the nick of time. Mandy is an Early Parenting Consultant. I like to think of her as a Magic Sleep Lady. She specializes in sleep and settling support to help teach parents how to have their babies sleep better. She's based in Melbourne, Australia, but that works out to be a huge advantage that I'll get to in a bit. In Australia they have these things called Sleep Schools where parents can go to the hospital, check in for a week, and the staff there helps you learn how to settle your baby so you can all sleep better. And this is offered by the Australian government. There's no resource like that in America. There are private sleep consultants that tend to be extremely expensive, believe me I looked at them. Mandy worked in one of those sleep schools for a long time before opening her own business as an Early Parenting Consultant. She's a twin mum too, so she knows what the logistics of getting two babies to sleep is like.
Mandy FaceTimed with me last Monday evening for over an hour. We went over my pregnancy, how the girls eat/nurse, what our current sleep issues are, what my goals for sleep are, what is reasonable to expect for babies at 13 months old, and how we were going to accomplish this. We discussed how I was not on board with cruel cry it out methods where you stick the baby in the bed and just let them scream for a long time. We formulated a game plan, which she typed up and emailed to me afterwards, and Brad and I picked a day to start our sleep-learning (which was Friday).
You guys. I was DREADING sleep training because I didn't want to listen to the crying. I was prepared for crying because babies get mad when you switch up their routing because they don't know what's going on. I was ok with some crying because to be honest I had tried the no cry sleep solution which was really the no sleep, no solution method. The first nap was rough-- they cried a lot and didn't sleep. Second nap was better; there was some fussing for about 45 minutes. By bed time that night they basically went right to sleep. Eleanor woke up twice that night but re-settled. Surprisingly, Amelia had a harder time with it. But through all of this, since it was the middle of the day in Australia, Mandy was giving me support and encouragement via Facebook messages. She told me exactly what to do and encouraged me to stay the course. Talk about a HUGE advantage! I had support during the hardest part of sleep teaching! By Saturday, they were acting like old pros. I put them in their cribs and they....just...went to sleep. This method did involve crying but it was NOT uncomforted crying, so that made me feel better. I actively reassured the girls when they needed it.
Since saturday, which I realize is only three days, the girls have put themselves to sleep for every sleep. They actually nap. Eleanor has slept entirely through the night, in her own bed, two nights in a row. This is a game changer. I have gained hours of my day back. They girls are more rested. I know it sounds so dramatic but my life has changed. It's like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I am more rested, I have energy to engage more, the girls are well rested and in better moods, I can get things done during nap instead of having to cram everything in between the hours of 11am-1:30 pm. It's awesome. I think we had a very easy transition because everyone was ready for it. I can't get over how much life feels just better.
I cannot sing the praises of Mandy Hose enough. If you are desperate for help, for an extremely reasonable price, Mandy will help you. Just shoot her a message on her Facebook page and you'll never regret that you did. I promise.
If this was too long and you didn't read here's a summary:
I sleep trained the girls and life is now awesome. If you need help with sleep and your baby/ies get in contact with Mandy Hose and maybe you can get some sleep too.
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