I asked my client Kim to send over a few words. Instead, she sent an beautifully written essay about her journey to hiring me. This resonated with me and will likely resonated with those moms struggling to make a decision about their child’s sleep. So, with Kim’s permission, I’m going to share it with you. Hopefully it will help you on your journey.
WHY I HIRED A SLEEP CONSULTANT by: Kim Marshall
My family had the privilege of being one of Amanda’s first clients and I can’t wait to share with you how that experience was all kinds of awesome.
First of all hiring a sleep consultant is such a no brainer. It really is necessary, so people should begin to consider adding services such as this to a registry. The question is not IF you need one, the question should be WHO and WHEN. It also didn’t become any easier with our second daughter, Harper who was born last June. Sleep was going well for the first 6 months of her life. We were managing a 4 year old starting school and our baby was calm and easy going. She napped on the go and she slept in our bed. Co-sleeping was the right decision for our family for many reasons, but I hit a wall around 6 months. We both started needing our own space and her desire to sit and crawl disrupted the night and stimulated her.
Between months 6 and 10 I felt really stuck. It was winter and although I wanted change, I didn’t know how to do it. I was nursing on demand several times through the night which was physically exhausting. Being tired wasn’t a choice, since the whole family needed me during the day. At the 6 month point, everything felt different. She was craving a real routine, she was moving and her play really changed plus introducing solids took time and energy.
There were days that were very overwhelming and I didn’t feel like myself anymore. I was a person who was positive and solution focused in every part of my life, yet when it came to sleeping, I didn’t know how to help Harper. I started to become anxious in the evening, not knowing how long it would take to get her down to sleep. How long would she stay asleep? When would be the next waking? I read every article I could, reminding myself about the healthy sleep habits we established with our first born. I spoke to friends and reached out to resources that I trusted. Some nights went well and some nights went terribly and I continued in this pattern until Harper was 10 months. It was easy to say that she just wasn’t a good sleeper, but I knew we could do better.
During this time, my very supportive husband and I attempted sleep training twice. Once with the ideas, we used for our eldest but as soon as Harper had a runny nose or started cutting a tooth, I wanted to hold her through that discomfort. At 6 months, it was too early for her but mostly me. At 8 months we tried again, using a friends sleep plan that they had been given. Although it worked for a while, it never felt right because these weren’t suggestions for our child or our family. When Harper turned 10 months, we had hit rock bottom.
The sleep deprivation was taking a toll on all of the relationships in our family and I had to commit to something that would 100% work so that we could stop just surviving and begin thriving. I couldn’t bear the thought of traveling this summer knowing night time would be a mess. As teachers, we also knew about the research between sleep and brain development. Giving her these skills now would pay off into her baby, toddler and school-age years.
Exactly at the moment I was falling apart, Amanda began promoting her new business and the timing was perfect. We got started right away and although during that initial phone meeting I know I sounded defeated and skeptical, I knew I had nothing to lose.
The short story is that in 3 days Harper went from co-sleeping and nursing through the night to falling asleep from awake in her own crib and sleeping 11 hours straight. The whole process took a full 2 weeks and required us to clear our calendar so we could be home as much as possible. If you are reading this and you are a parent, you may be relating to parts of this and nodding your head. If you aren’t yet a parent, you may be totally confused. Baby sleep sounds so simple but there is so much more to it than I ever expected. I wish I had read more before starting my family because goodness knows I do not have time to read books now! So, yes I did need the help of a sleep consultant for each of my children because the emotional support and reassurance is incredibly valuable.
Truthfully, when it comes to sleep coaching, everyone out there is offering pretty much the same answer. There are many companies who can tell you the magic equation to have your baby sleeping through the night, but here is where Amanda sets herself apart. Everything was done over the phone and I got to set the meeting schedule around my day. As a mom herself, she understood if something happened and re-scheduling was necessary. We worked on a shared Google doc. which meant when my husband logged the sleep on our iPad, she could access that information at any time on any day and check on us. There was no judgement, Amanda just met us where we were at and moved us forward. She also encouraged me to do what instinctually felt right as a mom and guided us gently. Lastly, Amanda remained positive through the entire process and even found good things to say after rough nights which helped us stay focused.
So here we are a month later and everyone is sleeping. Harper still protests bedtime but this doesn’t bother us and it doesn’t last long. Nothing is perfect and we recognize that these things come in cycles and take it one day at a time. But Harper does know how to sleep alone and when she sleeps she sleeps deeply. This shows me how secure she feels and reminds me how far we have come.