We haven't written a blog post in a while (not our most favourite thing to do to be honest - we would rather help you with your UIF maternity claims) but felt now is the time to talk about sleep-training. Yikes, we know.
I remember a few years ago before I had a child myself I heard a colleague talk to another colleague how his baby sleeps through every single night. and how he feels bad mentioning it to other parents because they give him the evil eye. And correctly so!
Parents all around the world are trying (mostly in vain) to get their child to sleep without too much fuss. I have friends who sleep with both their kids (2 yrs and 5 yrs) in one bed - crikey! Another family drives their child in the car until asleep and then carries him to bed - at today's petrol prices !? My wife had to be in our daughter's bed until she was asleep, often singing her lullabies and giving her foot massages. This would go on for 30-45 minutes every day.
Eventually we said enough and hired a sleep trainer. She was recommended to us by one of my UIF-Hero clients. To be honest I was very suspicious because the fee was very high for a 3h consultation and even higher if she spends 2 nights at your house to do the sleep training and train the dad how to enforce the rules. We decided to only do the consultation.
In our case sleeping wasn't the problem, but the falling asleep was the issue. She gave us a list of things to prepare the room (music, a very specific cuddly toy and so on) and most importantly a very strict routine customised to our needs (my wife and child often only return late from Kindergarten at around 6pm due to traffic.
To make a long story short, the first night was hell. Kicking, biting, scratching - I thought I was handling a wild cat. We had established the rule that she has to stay in bed and have the lights out. Our daughter was never one for adhering to rules so she constantly got up and tried to leave the room. I was standing in the door-frame and every time she came out I lifted her up and put her back to bed, trying not to have my nose broken, hand bitten and skin scratched. After 45 min she was so exhausted that we compromised that I would stand by the door (about 3m from her bed) so that she could see me. She fell asleep in 5 min.
I was dreading bed-time routine the following day, but low and behold after reading a story she went to bed without a fuss as long as I stood by the door. She was asleep in 15 min.
Since then bed-time routine is going smoothly although she is trying to push the boundaries again. Stay strict! What our sleep trainer did was train us, not the child. It comes down to setting rules and sticking to them. Persistence is king. I am glad we hired her because she helped us with the routine and how to enforce it.
Good luck - inbox us if you want her details. She is available country-wide.