Allison Langdon remembers the exhaustion of new motherhood: 'He was up every 40 minutes'

Photo: Instagram
Photo: Instagram 

Like lots of parents, Ally Langdon has experienced both ends of the baby sleep spectrum.  While son Mack as a "non-sleeper" the Today host says second baby Scout was an excellent sleeper. 

When she was struggling with her firstborn's sleep issues Langdon, 41, turned to Tresillian for help.

"It never got to the point where we had to go in and sleep train in that sense, but it was incredibly helpful them being a phone call away," she tells Essential Baby. 

Mack was four months old when Langdon first reached out.

"I had been back at work for six weeks, but he just kept getting progressively worse," she says.

"He was up every 40 minutes and it reached a point where my husband and I hated each other. We were both so dead tired with fulltime jobs and it would just add up in your mind, who got up last, and we'd both lay there hoping the other one would get up first.

"I remember so clearly keep score all those things."

Looking back, Langdon wishes she knew sleeping problems in babies were common.

"When you are a new parent you think you are the only parent in the whole wide world whose baby doesn't sleep and you are the only mum or dad in the whole wide world who can't settle your baby," she says.

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"For me the best thing was understanding I wasn't the only one. It was a relief."

Mack was unsettled from birth, Langdon says, with feeding issues contributing to his inability to sleep through the night.

"He was in special care when he was born and he had feeding issues," she says. "It was so different with Scout. She went straight on the boob and slept like a dream."

Langdon found herself desperate for answers, trying anything she could think of to help settle her little boy. She turned to Tresillian for expert help.

"In my mind you go to the experts for help, handing it over to those who know," she says.

"If your car breaks down you don't try and fix it yourself! I think the idea that it is our baby therefore we should know the answer is a whole lot of BS. And during COVID it has been very difficult for couples and first-time mums.

"They didn't get a baby shower and there have been no mother's groups and even though we swear we won't do it we give each other advice at those things.

"So, it's really, really hard at the moment. You have a whole lot of new parents at the moment going through all those struggles we went through with babies but having that extra layer of isolation."

The first step to address Mack's sleeping issues was to address his feeding issues. A reluctant breastfeeder, he had started on formula and a simple switch to a reflux formula made all the difference.

"He hated the boob, so I'd force it and he'd get agitated, because I had it in my head that you had to breastfeed until they were six months old," Langdon says.

"Then I remember the greatest advice, to be kind to ourselves, that it's okay to give up on breast feeding."

By then she and her husband knew when Mack was crying due to tummy issues and when he was crying because he was "just mad".

"I almost needed someone to say it was OK for him to cry, that picking him up every time he cried taught him that if he cried he'd get cuddles and cuddles are the best," she says. 

She learned different techniques to settle Mack such as patting him on the back after a period of crying.

These days, Mack is a good sleeper, and it makes the biggest difference for the breakfast TV host.

Now she wants to help others, particularly mothers who have been isolated during the coronavirus crisis.

Today Langdon will join Tresillian's 'Parenting After Dark' webinar from 11am on the Tresillian and Curash facebook pages.

This will be an opportunity for parents to get advice on how to settle their baby and ask questions of Tresillian nurse Judy Tripodi.

Langdon says she is expecting many of the new parents will be asking similar questions, with sleeping and feeding issues common in newborns.

"Comradery is a big thing when you are a parent and Jodie from Tresillian is so calm, they all are, and they can fix anything," she says.

"There is no problem too big. They empower you and make you realise you are a good mum doing a great job and you can do this."

Langdon says the session will be "one big mothers group".

Importantly, Tresillian services are free and available to everyone.

To register your attendance to the FREE Live Stream on Wednesday, 9th December 2020 at 11am please visit the Curash Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/curash/ 

To learn more about how Tresillian is supporting Aussie families, please visit: https://www.tresillian.org.au/