I had a friend text me the other day asking, “so what’s the sleep consultant do?” My initial response was two words: Saves. Lives. I was joking, but in all honesty that’s a cold hard fact for the Edwards. For our family, she really has made a difference in the quality of our lives. I’ve already posted plenty on the horrors of sleep deprivation. Most parents jump into parenthood well aware of the fact that your sleep will never be the same, but we never once expected the shenanigans our daughter has put us through. My husband has always wanted a large family and for the most part I’ve been fairly open to a largerish family as well, but that sweet lil girl very quickly prompted me to close down my uterus for business until further notice. Seriously, she was a tough cookie to figure out. To make matters worse our son was absolutely nothing like her so it felt like we were first time parents all over again. All the tricks and routines that worked for our son she gave a big fat middle finger too. I’m dead serious too, sometimes I literally felt like that very tiny lil girl was telling me to eff off. It sucked. For me, for my husband, for our relationship, and I’m sure for our son too. Needless to say we tried what felt like every single sleep tip available. We read articles, books, asked doctors and friends, you name it, but for whatever reason nothing ever seemed to work. So here’s why I believe a sleep consultant is worth every penny.
This is similar to Rowan’s version of the middle finger.
For starters, we were sleep deprived. Aka not human. Aka surviving by a thread. I could barely remember to brush my teeth on any given day, let alone remember what the hell that article I read at 3am told me to do to get my baby to sleep. And advice from others? Well most of those people were probably busy sleeping instead of being available to support us through our own sleep woes. Cue sleep consultant. She has literally been a living, breathing encyclopedia on sleep. No book to read, or article to reference, she’s all the library you need. And when in life do you get 2 weeks of unlimited questions and support from the author of your go to parenting manual? I’m going to go with never. I mean I certainly haven’t heard of anyone emailing and calling with Dr. Sears or Harvey Karp on the regular. In my opinion, a sleep consultant is almost like a personal trainer. They provide personalized guidance and motivation to help you and your baby sleep and are educated on different methods and strategies to help you figure out a plan that will best fit you and your baby’s needs. Plus, they give you the time and space to work through your plan and help you adjust and make edits when needed. I’ve literally emailed this woman 100 times. Sure, she may think I’m the most annoying client ever, but she won’t say that. Her job is to be available and support you each step of the way.
Here’s another reason I support sleep consultantism. At least our sleep consultant for that matter. She won’t sugar coat things. One strategy we’ve tried multiple times is CIO. Unfortunately, that tiny human is as loud as they come and more than once during her lung exercises she would wake up our son. Obviously those nights were particularly fun because instead of one tiny human awake, we had two. That experience was about how I might imagine drowning would feel. Yep, a slow painful death. With that said, whenever that would happen we’d back down from the CIO method. So basically we would do a little crying, then stop if it interfered with our sons sleep, then try again a few nights later. Well no wonder this girl wasn’t figuring out how to self soothe. We were confusing the ever little daylights out of her! And that’s essentially what our sleep consultant told us. Whatever method we chose, it needed to be consistent. She also added that siblings have to get used to each other and their individual personalities and sounds so the longer we kept tip toeing around our sons sleep, the longer our daughter would keep not sleeping. Believe me I was definitely whiney and argumentative, like really lady one kid asleep is better than two kids awake, but she held to her guns and reminded me that obviously that was not where I wanted to be. What I wanted was two sleeping kids. Period. And if we wanted to get there, we needed to start letting our kiddos adjust to each other and their different patterns.
Of course the ultimate reason I believe our sleep consultant experience has been worth it is because we are sleeping. My child used to NEVER nap. Now she takes two, two-hour naps a day. My child used to wake up every 2-3 hours at night. Now she’s giving us 6-8 hour stretches. It’s still not perfect and the new tooth she just got certainly threw a tiny wrench in our plan, but that’s what gives me a sigh of relief, the plan. I’m your typical type-A, hyper organized, everything needs a plan and routine person so when my daughter refused to follow suit, it was difficult to function. But this lady took the time needed to learn about our family, our parenting style, and our needs, and created a customized plan to fit our family. It’s still only our second week since we started our sleep training journey, but so far I feel good about where we are headed and I’m optimistic about our future as a well-rested family of four. Unless my husband sneaks one past the goal line, then I will have to mourn the death of my sanity.
Just taking notes on future pregnancy announcements in case I get pregnant before I get sleep.