Our experience with Sleep School - Responsive SETTLING

Sleep is not something my children seem to be very good at. My daughter would sleep in my arms during the day and wake constantly overnight but we made it through with lots of naps and eventually she grew out of it. This time around I thought I could handle the sleep situation and had a sleep routine lined up, white noise on repeat and swaddle bags ready to go.... my best laid plans fell apart and I hit breaking point when James was 5 months old and I was averaging about 2-3 hours broken sleep a night and then dealing with a baby who would only cat nap in my arms and a toddler all day long on my own.

I knew we needed to do something drastic so we visited our GP, I was diagnosed with post natal depression again and we were given a referral to sleep school.

Two weeks later and we were at sleep school and I was hoping for a sleeping miracle.... Now I'm going to be really honest in this post, there was no miracle, no quick fix and I was heartbroken.

Night one was horrible, we were breaking the habit . I had been feeding James to sleep, every single time he woke... every.. single time... hourly most nights and the first night at sleep school we had to change his mindset and so yes there were tears, and I can honestly say it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do with my babies but I never left his side and got zero sleep until 2am that night so I could hold him, pat him and shussh him off to sleep.

The next day passed in a blur of naps in his cot and tears and shusshing and patting. The breakthrough came on night two, I fed James, sung to him and then put his pink noise on and into his sleeping bag and into his cot, I said goodnight and left the room.. he rolled over and begun to cry, I reentered the room, shushed and patted and in 4 mins he was fast asleep, no feeds and no picking up....

Now we woke again 3 more times that night and by morning I had had a few hours of sleep and felt armed with the tools I needed to practice responsive settling at home. I left sleep school early (not recommended but my PND and anxiety were getting out of control and I needed my husbands support).

Five weeks later, things have changed massively for us. I don't feed James to sleep and he is linking sleep cycles and having longer sleeps with less resettling.  He sleeps in his cot for day naps and seems happier and more relaxed during the periods he is awake.

What I learned

* Sleep Feed Play works for some but not all, we have adjusted this to be sleep eat solids, have a feed with the lights on and normal noise and then we get ready for a sleep with pink noise and sleeping bag and into the cot.
* You will have days where it all works and days where you want to give up, I have learned that being as consistent as I can and persevering with this has yielded sleep.
*This isn't a quick fix but it is a method that will help a baby who has sleep associations that don't let them have good sleep.
*When my baby cries I will go to him, we have changed the boundaries but he knows I will always be there to comfort him.

Have you tried responsive settling or a sleep school?? If you have any questions please email me, I would be happy to chat to you xx

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