Sleep & Settle session: a very happy mother and baby

Sleep & Settle winner Fiona Glaskin's baby boy
Sleep & Settle winner Fiona Glaskin's baby boy 

We spoke with Sleep & Settle winner Fiona Glaskin afer her phone consultation with Mothercraft Nurse Beth Barclay and here is what she had to say ...

Q. What was the main issue/question you needed a hand with?

My son - then 12 weeks - was a fantastic sleeper so long as he was asleep on me. He slept in his cot at night so he was obviously comfortable in there but during the day he would only sleep on my lap or in the baby carrier. Every time I put him in his cot during the day he would cry until I picked him up so it was just easier to let him sleep on me.

Q.  How did the session go?

The session with Beth was fantastic. As I live in Canberra we did a phone consultation which was a bit trickier than having Beth in my home but I told her about my baby and then we discussed possible solutions. Beth called me the next day to check on my progress and we exchanged text messages for a few days after that.

Q.  What tips were you given during the session?

Basically to be tougher! I hate hearing my baby cry and so I would pick him up as soon as he whimpered despite me knowing there really wasn't anything wrong with him. I moved a chair to beside his cot and I would sit there and pat his chest or his head and rock him gently until he went to sleep. I picked him for cuddles if he was getting distressed but I very quickly learnt his different cries and so would leave him in his cot when I knew they were falling asleep noises. I also began to strictly enforce the sleep, feed, play routine which was a bit tough as my son always falls asleep while feeding so rather then let him sleep I kept waking him up to play. To start with he was very unhappy about that but now seems to love the extra play time.

Beth also suggested following a similar routine to our night-time routine since he slept in his cot at night. I now put him into his sleeping bag, close the curtain and say goodnight to the sun (we turn off his moon light at night), I give him a kiss and put him in his cot.  

Q.  How did bub handle any changes during the session?

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As I had a phone session this is what happened over the next few days.

The first few days were horrendous! I made the mistake of starting the changes on a Thursday when my husband was at work so I was home alone for the first two tough days. We had two hours of non-stop crying in my arms before he would sleep. I felt like the worst mum in the world as he was totally happy sleeping on me so I felt like I was forcing this change for my convenience rather than for his benefit. My son cried, I cried, my husband came home early from work to help me and I was sure nothing would change but my husband convinced me to keep trying over the weekend and then re-asses on Monday if we hadn't had a breakthrough. Sure enough things got better. We went from a two hour settle to a five minute settle in a couple of days.

The first time he settled in a few minutes my husband and I backed out of the room like a bomb was going to explode and then stood looking in amazement at each other! We couldn't believe such a change could happen in a few days.

Q. What advice did Beth give you ongoing?

To be consistent and persistent. We didn't leave the house for four days so I could ensure every sleep took place in his cot. By the end of four days I was going crazy at home but now he sleeps in his cot, his pram and the car. He also struggles do do more than one sleep cycle at a time during the day but we are persisting and it is improving - slowly!

Q. How has it been since the session?

Most days are great. I can now put him in his cot awake and he will put himself to sleep. We still have tough days when he want lots of cuddles and we are still trying to get him to roll over into a second sleep cycle during the day. For me, it has been life changing. I can have a shower, eat lunch and do things around the house without needing someone home or having a baby attached to me.

Q. Would you recommend a sleep and settle session to other mothers?

Definitely. But I would suggest starting any new routine when you have support at home - like on a weekend. I found having my husband there for moral support and to have him there to take over when I was about to give up made all the difference. Beth was fantastic and really encouraging when I felt like things were never going to change. After a few horrendous days I am now much happier as I have some freedom back.

The fact that I can sit here during the day without my baby attached to me is testament to the fact that Beth is a miracle worker!!