couples

"I took my baby to sleep school and we've never looked back."

Today is the day we go to sleep school.

The car is packed. I have a queasy feeling in my gut. I am hoping beyond all hope that this is the solution to our problems.

How did we get here?

My sweet little lady (who is 9 months old) thoroughly dislikes shutting her tiny eyes and getting some sweet zzz’s under her belt. She fights us for up to three hours every evening, resisting sleep despite being utterly exhausted. This has resulted in her sleeping in our bed every night for the last 4 or more months. She often hosts a party in our bed at 3am, which consists of slapping our faces, kicking our spleens and sitting on our heads. It sounds funny but I promise in the small hours of the morning it most certainly is not.

I’m plagued with guilt on the odd occasion she gets looked after by one of her Grandmother’s over night because I know what they are in for. Yes, it’s selfish but after all this time I do feel that once in a little while my partner and I are entitled to a night alone to be us and not ‘Mummy and Daddy’.

Put simply, it is no longer working for our family and I need a better solution.

Night One.

During dinner I had been able to maintain the delusion that this was a nice little holiday in the suburbs. My baby girl was so bright and happy I thought she would just nail this bedtime thing straight up. No cooking, no cleaning and dessert with every meal. Plus I’d smuggled in wine and chocolate so this was basically a girl’s weekend.

"My baby girl was so bright and happy I thought she would just nail this bedtime thing straight up."

At 6:30 I said goodnight to my sweet lady and exited the room. Crying ensued and then all out screaming. Not just distressed crying. A guttural scream that echoed ‘I hate you’ or at least that’s what it felt like. I stood at the door to our room feigning stoicism, tears prickling my eyes just beneath the surface. The dinner I had bragged about being so fabulous (for hospital food) threatened to make a re-appearance as my stomach churned.

As I looked to my left I saw five other Mums just like me. Heard five other babies just like mine. All of us poised at our doors as if waiting to enter The Hunger Games.

TAP ON THE IMAGE for a step-by-step guide of how to do Midwife Cath's Wrap if you think it helps (Post continues after gallery)...

Fifteen of the longest minutes of my life passed before a miracle occurred. I watched on the monitor as my precious girl lay down and went to sleep, all by herself. No rocking, no shushing. Whilst my soul was a little crushed the pieces were doing a victory dance. I assembled in the kitchen and slowly one by one my comrades joined me. At this point I very much wished I’d had the foresight to get the bottle of Merlot I’d smuggled in from my room. Actually, that’s not true, at that point I sincerely wished I had smuggled in hard liquor.

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At 7:30 she is awake and she is angry. After calming, cuddling and talking to her for 45 minutes I step out and let her exhaust herself again. Another 15 minutes passes. When she is finally asleep I realise I have been absentmindedly fiddling without even realising.

Watch the video below for how to get your baby to sleep in one minute. Did it work for you? Post continues after video...

At 9:14 she wakes again. This time, she cries for a mere 3 minutes before going back to sleep. She sleeps soundly until 6:30am and I feel like a new woman.

Thankfully, all the hard work was done on that first night. She quickly learned that when she went to bed, she needed to go to sleep and we had an incredibly pleasant week.

We have now been home for a week and she has slept 13 hours or more each night. It hurt at the time and it’s not for everyone but for our family, 30 minutes of pain was worth getting our lives back.

I was not forced to leave my girl alone. It was my choice. Many other Mums’s stayed in with their babes patting and shushing. It was not controlled crying, I didn’t let her cry it out, I simply responded to her as I thought she really needed it rather than rushing in at every grizzle. It worked for us and she doesn’t seem to have any long lasting psychological damage despite my fear that she would look at me with hate in her eyes the following morning.

If you’re thinking about sleep school or even getting a private sleep consultant, do it. Get your life back. You’re allowed to sleep. You baby will feel better, you will feel better, your husband will feel better and you will all feel so much more love.

Did you try sleep school? Did it work for you?

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