14 months ago, our child entered our lives and changed things forever. For better or worse, it wasn't just about us anymore. We had a new family member to consider, listen to and argue with over who gets the TV remote.
You take little things for granted when you're older. The basics like sleep, going to the bathroom and eating are ingrained in your psyche and part of your daily routine. But somebody long ago, most likely your parents, had to teach you how those things get incorporated into your daily life. It's easy to forget that our parents were there from the start, pushing us to sleep when they do, eat the things they eat and to not pee in their potted plants.
When you have a kid the whole thing starts all over again, but this time you're in the crosshairs. You're the one waking up multiple times a night to change diapers or fix a bottle. You're the one trying every trick in the book to get your kid to eat more than just Cheerios for every meal. You're the one that's so grateful you don't have memories of going through teething because it sounds really damn painful coming from your child.
In some cases, these trials can be very easy (especially if you have experience with younger siblings or have been around kids). We, however, do not have said experience. So we rely on testimony from our parents, friends who have kids and the ever confusing and contradictory posts on parenting websites. "Ok, so this site says she's teething, and this other one says she's becoming a werewolf. Which do we believe?"
From all of this comes one common truth: you don't want to make a mistake and do the wrong thing (at some point you will, believe me). So you try everything you can to help resolve the issue. Sometimes it works, sometimes you tweak things to fit your needs and sometimes you just pray on a daily basis that your child will grow out of it sooner rather than later. In our case, we played the waiting game with sleep. So we waited...and waited...and waited...until we had to do something to make a positive change. So we called in the sleep consultant, which was a big step for us. Instead of continuing to let our child dictate how we slept, we decided to be proactive and bring more structure into her life and sleep routine. It seems insignificant, and kind of a no brainer looking back, but it was a turning point for us. I feel like there's no shame in admitting that sometimes you have to call in a professional to help better understand the root of your problem so you can tackle it in a different way.
So, how did she do?
The first night she slept from bedtime to 5 a.m. (we checked on her once early on).
The second night she actually let us sleep in an extra hour and a half!
The third night she slept straight through.
And the night after that, and the night after that...
Folks, this approach to getting our child to sleep is the real deal. To be fair, we must give our daughter some credit as well. Because she had some habits already in place that fit into the new routine, it was a lot easier to put her down. Overall, we would spend the money again and recommend this approach to anyone dealing with child sleep issues. While our particular plan involved only a phone consult and tailored plan (the cheaper option), the consultant will go so far as to spend the night in your home to help your child develop the skills to sleep through the night. It's astounding to me that someone would willingly stay in a stranger's home over the weekend to help teach their child these skills, and we couldn't be better off because of someone like this.
Are all of our troubles fixed? Hell no! Now the baby won't eat anything but cereal and snacks for every meal. But, we can all get a full night's sleep and wake up with more energy to take on that issue. And the one after that, and the one after that...