SHE BROKE HER BABY’S BAD SLEEP­ING HABIT IN TWO NIGHTS

Sasha Pan­tel, project man­ager; mom of a 1-year-old, Cam­bridge, MA

Working Mother - - Sleep -

The prob­lem: For­merly a good snoozer, when Baby Ja­cob hit month four, an in­fa­mous sleep-re­gres­sion time, Sasha would spend an hour feed­ing him then putting him down. If he woke up, she’d have to restart the process. “I was chron­i­cally ex­hausted and get­ting frus­trated with Ja­cob. I would walk away to cry to my hus­band, who would go in and rock him un­til I was calm enough to try again.”

The so­lu­tion: Her em­ployer, Broad In­sti­tute, held a sleep sem­i­nar with Dr. Roban as a speaker. Sasha had a phone con­sult with her dur­ing which they dis­cussed Ja­cob’s sleep his­tory and is­sues. They then de­cided on “a sooth­ing bed­time rou­tine (most of which we al­ready had), fol­lowed by putting him down in his crib awake, telling him I loved him, and walk­ing out un­til morn­ing,” says Sasha.

The re­sult: The first night, Sasha cried more than her son, who whined for 25 min­utes, and then fell asleep. “I couldn’t be­lieve it!” she says, adding that the next night he was asleep in 15 min­utes—and put him­self back to sleep when he woke up. By 7 months old, he was sleep­ing about 11 to 12 hours a night. “He goes down pretty eas­ily, and if he wakes, he generally doesn’t cry,” says Sasha.

Her ad­vice: “If you can af­ford it, a sleep con­sul­tant (about $200 to $600 for a call and fol­low-ups) is to­tally worth it,” says Sasha. “She gave me a plan to fol­low and pro­vided daily feed­back, en­cour­age­ment and ad­vice for two weeks, which al­lowed us to fine-tune our strat­egy to in­clude Ja­cob’s naps.”

The ex­pert’s take: “The key to sleep train­ing is 100 per­cent con­sis­tency—and that’s eas­ier with the ‘ex­tinc­tion’ method, which usu­ally lasts two to three nights, than with other meth­ods, which take longer,” says Dr. Roban. If you de­vi­ate from the plan—like by go­ing in when your baby cries—you have to be­gin anew the next night. Wait un­til your baby is at least 4 months old and can sleep through the night with­out a feed­ing and un­til ma­jor changes, like a di­vorce or a death, are be­hind you.

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