“I feel like it’s the opposite of ‘Cry-It-Out’”

Hayes fell ill leading to a cycle of co-sleeping. Once he recovered, this reliance seemed to prevent a smooth transition to a crib, leading to rough nights and lack of sleep for all the family. They decided to reach out to Batelle to help.

What was bedtime and your average night like before Sleep School?

Around his first birthday, Hayes was having a bad ear infection so we fell into that co-sleeping cycle which was fine for a while – at least he got to bed at a reasonable hour. But when we tried to transition him back to his crib, it really did not go well. He had no interest in his crib, he was unhappy being in there. We tried the Ferber method and made it like 2 days. I could tell he was so stressed and that it would not work for us and I didn’t like it either. I knew it was important for us to get a better sleep situation but I just didn’t know how. 

A few months later, it had gone from ‘we are co-sleeping but at least we are sleeping’ to ‘we are co-sleeping but no one is sleeping.’ He was delaying bedtime. He usually slept through the night but would wake up at 4:30 in the morning and was then not able to go back to sleep. I knew he was not getting enough sleep and neither were we; the sleep we were getting was not quality sleep. I had friends who reached out to sleep consultants so I looked it up and I really liked Batelle reviews and the overview of the method, it matched our parenting style. And then we did the sleep consultation and decided to go for it.

“Our questions were answered and we felt like we were not alone – like we had not done anything wrong”

What did the sleep consultation bring you?

The consultation was useful not only to talk to someone, but our questions were answered and we felt like we were not alone – like we had not done anything wrong. There was help out there for us, we weren’t the only ones out there in that situation. At that time, most of our friends with kids of similar age did not have any bedtime issues. We felt a little bit alone! It was nice to see there is support, like ‘we understand what you are going through’.

“We are much more in tune with our communication with our baby. I feel like it’s the opposite of Cry-It-Out”

What convinced you to join Sleep School?

We have a crazy busy work schedule with my husband, the fact that we could have remote access to someone really fitted for our lifestyle. On top of that, having 24/7 support and support until my child is 5! I know if we have another baby then we will have help if Hayes has trouble sleeping. Knowing we have support not only in Sleep School but also beyond that was a big selling point.

“We are much more in tune with our communication with our baby. I feel like it’s the opposite of Cry-It-Out”

What would you like to say to parents about our method?

I tried Ferber for 2 days and hated it! Instead of pushing your child through when they’re struggling it’s the total opposite of that. You give them the tools they need and the support for them to do some things on their own and have the confidence to feel comfortable in their room and comfortable sleeping. The more they cry, the more you support them. It’s this give and take that makes so much more sense.

It has really influenced our parenting style now too. If he is handling things ok on his own, we give him space, and if he struggles we respond. We are much more in tune with our communication with our baby. I feel like it’s the opposite of Cry-It-Out; it’s much more in tune with responsiveness to your child and supporting them at their bedtime and when they try to go to sleep.

“His communications skills have taken off – he is more confident taking on and trying new things”

You mentioned improved communication with Hayes, has there been any other change?

It made me and my husband both more in tune. He was always a confident, happy baby even before Sleep School, but we say that take off. His communications skills have taken off – he is more confident taking on and trying new things. We understand when he is frustrated, and we are better able to parent through those types of situations.

He is super happy. I didn’t even know he could be a happier baby. He is really in tune with us because we really worked and focused on being better communicators with him. Our communication has definitely improved on both sides. I feel like he has a better sense of us understanding him and doesn’t have many tantrums. I think Sleep School is in part to thank for that.

What’s the situation now with Hayes’ bedtime and night-time?

Now he really looks forward to getting in his bedroom when he is tired. When he is really tired, he lays right down and smiles. Now he knows sleep is good for him, and sleep feels good. He is excited about bedtime and going to sleep instead of fighting.

“He is excited about bedtime and going to sleep”

“Batelle helped us know how to respond to our baby.”

Andrea and Nate were skeptical about the Batelle Babies program but decided to give it a go to help Ian with his sleep. He would never sleep for more than 2 hours, and during these short stints would always need parental physical contact. We interviewed them midway through Sleep School.

How was Ian’s sleep before you joined Batelle Babies?

Ian has always been a bad sleeper. He only slept in a baby carrier or co-sleept with us. Even co-sleeping was waking up every hour to 2 hours all night. He would take pretty decent naps during the day, always on us though – sometimes 45 minutes to 2 hours. But, we never had our hands free of him – he would never sleep independently.

“His strides have been mind-boggling. I really didn’t expect to see so much progress or even progress at all”

How did your Batelle Babies journey start?

We skeptically bought in to Batelle – I’m a very skeptical mom. At first, it was working and he was getting 3-hour stretches which was a miracle for us. But then he caught on and realized we were doing things differently and waking up even more often, which was frustrating. We were like ‘this is not working what do we do?’. We arranged some 1-1 time to better understand the little details in soothing strategies and the method. Since then, his strides have been mind-boggling. I really didn’t expect to see so much progress or even progress at all…

“I think I convinced myself that my child was somehow a special snowflake that was never going to sleep ever no matter what we did.”

Were there some challenges along the way?

Certainly, there are some tough moments with high-level cries but we are there to respond to him, in those moments. We took some time to absorb the documents around sleep and the crying to really understand that we are teaching Ian important skills: healthy sleep hygiene, and the ability to choose sleep instead of us putting him to sleep.

“His strides have been mind-boggling”

Looking back on Ian’s progress, how are you feeling?

It’s been miraculous, and we are still very much in shock. We are on step 2 at the moment, but the progress we have seen on a continuous basis is really incredible. Most importantly, I feel like his confidence has really grown and he is really enjoying his independent time more – he can play with his toys and enjoys his own company a lot more. It’s a beautiful thing to see this in your child. And along with that, I feel a lot more confident as a parent in knowing how to respond to him in a way that is physiologically and emotionally appropriate without over-cuddling him.

“Every time we tried different Cry-It-Out methods it made me feel sick”

After trying ‘Cry-It-Out’ unsuccessfully, Jamie was looking for a gentle method to support her son and his sensory processing disorder.

How would Simon fall asleep before Sleep School?

Sleeping was a very lengthy and delicate process. The routine was me coming into the room with him, we’d sit in a chair and I’d tell him stories. I would have to hold him on my lap, up against my chest, and wait for him to fall asleep. Sometimes he would sleep in a few minutes, sometimes up to 30. I would have to hold him the whole time. I had to make sure he was asleep enough so I would have to hold him for a while longer and then very delicately stand up, readjust him, and walk over to the crib. And as he’s a tummy sleeper, I had to put him down trying not to wake him up at the same time.

There were some nights he would wake up and cry, as he would be mad at me for putting him down. I got pretty good at it after a while. I had to make sure he was settled and sneak out, then hope he would stay asleep throughout the night. Usually, it took me 1 hour. It was really stressful, I remember when I would do the walk over to the bed, I could feel my heart racing. I’d get very anxious to get out and on with my evening. I remember thinking: ‘Gosh, is it gonna work, and is he gonna stay asleep, or do I have the start the whole process all over again?’. If he woke up during the night, I was not able to get him to go back to sleep and had to co-sleep with him for the rest of the night. There was a lot of co-sleeping in the first couple of years.

“I learnt a lot during the consultation about what was going wrong and why”

How did you feel after Simon’s Sleep Consultation?

I was excited – I felt like a weight had been lifted because I learned so much during the consultation about why he didn’t want to be in his crib, and about him trusting the sleep space. It made me think about what was going on for him, how he felt, and why he was not comfortable. It was very enlightening and educational. I felt hopeful that there would be a solution that I would actually want to try compared to all the other solutions that didn’t work or we didn’t want to try because that seemed too harsh. I learned a lot during the consultation about what was going wrong, and why things were happening the way they were. I was very hopeful that there was something we could do about it to help him sleep independently and to be able to sleep through the night – and also get time back for ourselves too!

“We thought: we don’t have anything to lose, if it actually works we will get a kid who falls asleep independently and through the night, without CIO”

How was your experience with our method?

When we first realized we needed to help him sleep independently, we had a lot of people telling us Cry It Out or modified CIO, or stand next to the crib and patted him a bit, or leave the room and come back… But as a sensory processing disorder child who struggled with self-regulation, that just did not work for Simon. Every time we tried different modified CIO methods it made me feel sick, it felt like I was abandoning him, breaking trust. It just made things worse. We didn’t want to go down that road, and it was just so harsh. Especially as a sensory kid, he can’t calm himself down – well, toddlers cant – but it’s particularly bad for him. And Simon couldn’t figure that one out on his own without a structure in place. That was definitely a huge factor compared to other methods, as it’s not CIO or modified CIO. Batelle is gentle, it is a process and I could see the value in that. I figured it’s not a method that is gonna make him angry. We thought: we don’t have anything to lose, if it actually works we will get a kid who falls asleep independently and through the night, without CIO. I am so thankful that we did.

What were the highlights of your Sleep School journey?

We had a jumpstart on Sleep School because of Simon’s sensory issues. I am amazed at how well he responded to it – I really didn’t think that would happen. I thought we would struggle our way through. Things were done step by step, in small manageable steps that we could understand and small changes he could understand and get used to slowly. We were also building on those skills. He was able to learn as I was learning, and it helped me better understand sleep and what helps him self-regulate. It helped him so much with his regulation outside of sleep, too.

Watching him grow over that first week and adjust to the steps – and being able at the end of that first week to have me outside of the room and falling asleep on his own – made me really proud of him as a parent. He adjusted, and he learned, and we did it together. It gave me a lot of confidence as a parent.

“Simon’s Occupational Therapist noticed a big difference after Sleep School”

Did you notice any other Sleep School benefits?

The biggest thing we noticed is that when he would get angry when playing and not getting his way, he was able to calm down faster and on his own. His occupational therapist noticed a big difference in Simon after Sleep School. He was able to figure out how to regulate a lot faster, which was a huge win. If he can regulate better, I am also able to stay calmer! So we are a lot happier in the household now that everybody is a bit more balanced.

“I love The Hug as it helps him stay put, and he loves it because it’s cosy and soft, and he snuggles in it”

How did you feel about The Hug - our Sleep Sack?

When I first saw it, I thought it was innovative and brilliant and saw how it would be beneficial. But – I never thought Simon would go in it! As a sensory kid, he needs the input that compression gives him but with limits. I was wondering ‘how am I gonna make him get in the hug, and for 10-12 hours at a time?’. But eventually, he got in a couple of minutes at a time to get used to it with Sleep School’s playtime activities. Now, he loves it and it helps him regulate and stay calm. I love it because he is not in a crib, he doesn’t feel trapped and he is also safe in his bed and not wandering around. It helps him stay put, and he loves it because it’s cozy and soft, and he snuggles in it. I am so glad we have it.