When Cole joined, he was waking up every ~60 minutes and wanting to be constantly held and bounced back to sleep. He was also still nursing two to three times a night.
What was the state of play before you joined sleep school?
Amy: We weren’t getting much sleep. Ever since Cole’s 4 month birthday, he would wake up 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 times a night! Clif would take the first half of the night and I would take the second half. Cole would be in his crib for an hour or so but he was just up and down all night long. He was still nursing two to three times a night, which I kept going because I was so tired that I didn’t know what else to do. We were pretty sleep-deprived.
Clif: At the time we joined Batelle, Cole was getting up a minimum of 5-6 times a night. Waking every hour, every 90 minutes on a good night. To try and pre-empt Cole not waking up, Cole would spend his night sleeping on me on a chair.
How did you find Batelle?
Clif: One night Amy took Cole to feed him and do “her shift” of Cole watch. I was a little frustrated and fatigued from trying to work every day, I went down the Google rabbit hole of looking for a sleep solution for an uncooperative baby. To be honest I can’t quite recall how Batelle showed up but I clicked your link. I know one of the things that we were definitely not interested in was any sort of “Cry-It-Out” strategy. We have another child who didn’t sleep well the first time around and we didn’t want to go through it again. We knew we needed some kind of help. Batelle, as luck would have it, was the first thing I looked into. I set up a call at 3:30am my time and two days later we had the consultation call. We decided we had to try it out and see what happened!
Did you have any reservations? And if so, what were they?
Amy: I didn’t know what to expect! I mean, it seemed like a huge promise, particularly after what we had been going through with our first child and now Cole. I’d read basically every sleep book on the planet and nothing seemed to work! At that point I was like “you know, we might as well try it!”
Clif: My reservation was earlier…. with our first child we had tried a couple of different things but mainly with Batelle I was wondering how it would fit with my work schedule, having to travel, and mainly wondering if this would work in a busy house. We live with my parents also, and the house is crowded! I think we were coming up with excuses as to maybe why it wouldn’t work!
“It’s not easy to describe going from not having slept for 5 months for more than 3 hours and walking around like a zombie to seeing sunlight!”
How was your two-week sleep school journey?
Amy: At the beginning it was tricky. It’s a time commitment initially, and it’s a big learning curve, especially when you are sleep deprived and you can’t process information quickly. It was really nice with all the support you can get. You can just be texting somebody in the middle of the night and you will get a response almost immediately. Without the help, I would not have made it through. The first week, we were getting less sleep to be honest but things slowly started getting better. Every night there was a little bit of progress and now he just sleeps through the night.
Clif: For Cole, it was on the very last night of the two weeks, was his very first night sleeping the entire night through. I would be looking for things little things he would do better each evening and then on that last night, I think it was like eleven and a half hours, without a peep from him and three and a half weeks later and it’s the same thing! Watching how the other parents were doing was interesting because you saw some children in the third or fourth night sleeping the whole night through and I’d be like “oh my god – let’s go, Cole, let’s go! You’re failing Sleep School!”
Amy: Cliff was good at focusing on the little things and achievements, every night there would be something better! I wasn’t quite as good! I was getting a little frustrated. I felt maybe I was doing something wrong or maybe I’m just destined to have non-sleeping children.
However, I trusted Miss Megan and trusted the process and it worked! It just took longer than some of the other children.
What did you find the most challenging part of Sleep School?
Clif: At the beginning, anything that you’ve been doing is going to change and you’re a little timid and not 100% trusting that it’s going to work right out of the gate. Miss Megan said “you’re going to have some parts that get worse before it gets better because you’re changing expectations around sleep” and it’s true. In the context of having an older child that didn’t sleep and after 5 months of getting no sleep, it’s difficult to remain super positive during the first few days. You’re doing all these different things in the first couple of nights. You’re trying to get the information during the nights with the Sleep Guides and you are on the calls during the day – It’s a time commitment for sure but it’s not so much about the time commitment each day that you’re dedicated to studying or anything, it’s that it’s all-encompassing in your head for two weeks. It’s a lot! One of the things that I now hold onto now is talking to friends, and Amy, and being able to say is that it doesn’t quite seem real yet because life is so different from where it was. It’s not easy to describe going from not having slept for 5 months for more than 3 hours and walking around like a zombie to seeing sunlight!
What do you wished you had known sooner?
Clif: Aside from the fact that it worked! And the other elements of sleep school – Why as parents we were doing things, the way we were doing things and how to do things were described in a way that was different to what was found in books. Frankly it worked better than what we had tried to do before. I’ve been pretty vocal about telling everyone and saying “hey – proactively do this”. We run fitness studios and have a lot of parents as clients – one of the main things that parents would talk about is how they were under-slept and how they wish their kids would sleep. I think if more people knew that there was a better way to go about learning how to help their kid sleep; I mean I wish I could go back in time and do it with my first kid.