A few years ago, the idea of sleeping for eight hours – hell, sleeping for two hours – uninterrupted was like a fantasy in the realm of winning Lotto or marrying Ryan Gosling. That’s because my then five-month old daughter Coco was waking up to eight times every night to have her dummy re-plugged.
Even now, those days, months, are a grey blur. I remember stumbling up and down the hallway in the dark every night and barely being able to answer my sympathetic girlfriends who asked me “how was last night?”. Simply because I couldn’t remember. It was all a blur of crying and waking and soothing and stumbling back to bed and more crying and getting up and being out of my mind with exhaustion so that I often felt hollow.
You see, that’s the thing with sleep deprivation. It goes way beyond just being tired. It starts to pull at the threads of your family. Your ability to think clearly. To stay rational. It affects your relationships. Your work. Your partner’s work. And worst of all your ability to enjoy your baby and any other children you may have.
Five years ago I felt like I was losing my mind.
[NOTE: You can download singer, song-writer, performer and mother, Amity Dry's beautiful song that accompanies this video here on iTunes. Run don't walk.]
And that’s when I met Elizabeth Sloane.
And so I called her – in tears – as hundreds of other exhausted mothers do every year.
When Coco turned 6 months old (OK, she may have been 5 and a half months and I may have fudged her age JUST A WEEE BIT) Elizabeth came to my home and gave Coco what she called ‘the gift of sleep’ teaching her in 3-nights how to give up the dummy and instead self-settle. (I should point out that according to Elizabeth, Coco had the worst dummy addiction she’d ever seen. Fabulous. That’s my girl. )
Two years later Elizabeth came back to teach my son the same thing. They’ve both been sleeping through the night ever since.
What I loved the most about Elizabeth from the first time we met in person – other than her completely calming presence and beautifully warm personality – is that she loves babies. Adores them. Best of all, she’s passionate about what she does. Elizabeth truly believes that every child deserves to be getting a good night’s sleep for the sake of their growth, development and their general well-being. She also feels that making a child dependent on their mum or dad to get to sleep isn’t fair on the child.
With all that in mind, I decided I wanted to share Elizabeth’s wisdom — actually her entire, clever, brilliant program – with exhausted mothers everywhere who don’t live in Sydney or who might not be able to afford their own sleep whisperer but who are as sleep-deprived as I was.
So … Elizabeth, Mamamia’s own Bec Sparrow and I have joined forced to bring you Mamamia Publishing’s very first eBook “The Gift of Sleep” which harnesses Elizabeth’s 20 years of experience and reveals her ENTIRE program – showing you step-by-step how to teach your baby to sleep through the night, self-settling every time they naturally wake.
This program won’t be for everyone. Elizabeth is the first to say that you should do what works for YOUR family. So if you’re currently getting up to your baby at night and it’s not affecting you … great! Do what is best for you and your child. But if you – or someone you know – feels at breaking point because of lack of sleep — then you need to run, not walk, to get this book.
And yes, it’s the perfect gift for a friend or relative.
All those hours of rocking, patting, singing, dummy-plugging and feeding your little one to sleep (only to tiptoe out of the room and have them start bawling before you’ve made it past the end of the cot). The drives in the car. The laps round the lounge room with the pram. The elaborate routines I’ve done, Bec’s done and thousands of you have done – ARE still doing – to get our children to sleep. The routines that inevitably wear you down and wear you out. It’s all about to be replaced with SLEEEEEEEP.
What I know is that “The Gift of Sleep” will change the life of every sleep-deprived parent and every exhausted baby who wakes throughout the night.
And I should know. Because it changed mine.
To instantly download your copy of The Gift of Sleep ($19.95), go to www.thegiftofsleep.com.au. Do you know a mother who could use The Gift of Sleep? If you have a girlfriend, sister, cousin, daughter, neighbour or friend who is currently in the fog of sleep-deprivation, buy her a copy for Mother’s Day. After all, the ultimate gift you can give a mother is the gift of sleep.