In October 2019, I welcomed my second child, three years after becoming a mother for the first time. My first son was - and still is - the most easy-going child ever. No sleep training needed, no middle of the night crying, no tantrums or crazy demands… he is, and always has been, as chilled as a cucumber.
Obviously, when I welcomed baby number two, I thought the experience would be pretty similar, even though my doctor told me during one of my last revisions that "one child is like having a pet, two is like having a zoo".
The first six months flew by and my baby son was mostly chilled. He slept way more than his brother ever did during the day, breastfed every three hours too… so we were pretty happy.
Then we started weaning him and moved him to his big cot, all during the first months of lockdown – and things suddenly changed dramatically.
The Baby Sleep Solution by Lucy Wolfe, £10.78, Amazon
He went from chilled to cranky and irritable pretty much 24/7. We took lockdown seriously and we did not leave the house for walks, which top his all-time list of favourite things to do so I put the change in his temperament down to boredom. His sleep was all over the place and we had to start rocking him to sleep, usually whilst he cried his eyes out and mainly demanded mum do the hard work. He was 4.080kg when he was born, so at six months, my back was feeling it every time. And so was my poor husband – who tried his best even though he wasn't 'wanted' at times by our son.
The crying started to become more persistent and my eldest, who at the time was only three, spent the day asking "what is wrong with him?", "why is he crying again?" which completely broke my heart. At first, I labelled this new behaviour as just 'a phase' but after a month we knew we needed help. Urgently.
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I knew nothing about sleep training, but thankfully I follow a lot of fellow mums on social media and I remembered that Vogue Williams had once sung the praises of a sleep expert and had claimed she felt like "a new person" after just one day. I immediately started doing my research and took the first step, contacting Lucy Wolfe.
Lucy supported us during four weeks whilst we tackled my son's sleep routine
Our first meeting took place over Zoom and after reading the 'Client History Review' I had sent through ahead of it, Lucy seemed very confident that we could solve all our problems in four weeks. I was delighted to hear her encouraging words but also a tiny bit doubtful as my son seemed to be very stubborn (I had tried other methods I had found on Google… and nothing worked).
Lucy's programme is gentle, she does not advocate cry intensive methods and encourages a stay-and-support approach. Following our chat, she sent me a schedule tailored to my son's age and we set to work a couple of days after our meeting.
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The first three days were hell. My son must have noticed that his days of being rocked to sleep were coming to an end and he pushed back even harder. We reached rock bottom: intensive crying during every nap and bedtime, the crankyness and complaining were off the charts, he even stopped eating solids... my husband and I may have had a little cry on day one, but thankfully Lucy was there via email on a very late Friday night to reassure us that everything would be OK and to persevere.
Day four was a new dawn. We couldn't quite believe it and we didn't dare talk about it in case we jinxed it. Things started to get easier very quickly, always on cue with what Lucy had us working towards. Our son was never left to cry and if he did start, we would pick him up until he stopped, and put him back down again. No more rocking either, which our backs greatly appreciated.
Lucy is a full time sleep consultant as has been in the business for over 10 years
As the weeks passed, the sleep routine schedule not only allowed me to be happier and more present with my children and husband, but it allowed me to get to know my youngest son better and understand the 'why' to some of his behaviour. Now that he was having naps (long ones, thank god) and was more rested and happy, it made other issues come to light, such as his sensitivity to certain foods I was giving him.
My first son had a lot of allergies that were easily detected at six months because we never had any other issues with him, but with baby number two, it was harder to discover because it was hidden behind all the lack of sleep and constant irritability.
By week four, believe it or not, my son loved spending time in his cot. When it was time for his naps, we would take him up, leave him in it awake and go back down to spend quality time with our eldest whilst he slept for an hour and a half. As for bedtime, we would do the same and instead of rocking him for an hour until he fell asleep, I spent that time having dinner with my eldest and reading him books before bed, whilst my youngest happily fell asleep on his own.
Sleep training my son with Lucy has saved us in so many ways. We are all so much happier and healthier, mentally and physically. I couldn't recommend it enough to any parents struggling out there. There is no need to struggle, to be sleep-deprived, to be unhappy and scared of bedtime and dread night time. Not when there are incredibly qualified people such as Lucy that can completely transform your whole family's lives in just four weeks.
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