I was skeptical of Sleep Consultants, extremely skeptical of someone who tells you, "I can get your baby to love sleep." Even after I took the courses and did all the requirements for certification, I was skeptical that anything would actually help our baby boy.
I was also envious of moms who didn't NEED a Sleep Consultant, didn't NEED to read so many books and so many articles. "Oh yes my baby slept through the night by the second month." "Yeah she was sleeping long stretches before 8 weeks." What was wrong with me? Why wasn't my son sleeping well?
The answer: everybody is different. Every baby is different.
So I did what I would do for any other client that came to me with the same worries. I wrote out our situation :
will NOT nap in the crib, only in his rock n play with loud white noise and rocking quite quickly
taking only catnaps
takes a LONG time to settle into these very short naps
still waking up to feed at night every 2,3,4 hours depending on the night
loves his pacifier and needs it to fall asleep
at night will wake up every hour or two asking for pacifier
I spent some time creating our own Personalized Sleep Plan (taking into account our parental preferences and his temperament) and talked it over with my husband. We were both on the same train of not wanting to leave him to "cry it out" so we decided to settle for a gentler approach. We started implementing the plan right away.
Fast Forward 3 weeks (gentler methods take around 2-3 weeks to work, while more cry it out methods can speed things up) and we are sleeping SO much more. This is our baby's new situation:
napping in his crib, no white noise needed
taking 2 short naps and one 1.5-2 hour nap
(still needs 2-5 minutes to settle down before sleeping)
wakes up crying at night after 6 hours, but gets settled back down in under 10 minutes
wakes up for one feed around 3 am then sleeps until morning.
Now if you're a parent who has had a child sleep through the night since you met them, this won't mean much for you. But for us and any other sleep deprived family, this is amazing. Waking up 4,5 times at night is miserable, having to put baby in a rock and play to nap is exhausting and stressful... our lives are so much easier than they were before we decided to follow the plan.
Obviously not every night is perfect. We still can't say he sleeps through the entire night (is it because I love the night feeding and don't want to let go of it?). And we know that sleep regressions and teethings will approach. But now we have a Plan, and we'll stick to it with consistency, knowing all 3 of us are on an path to the best sleep.