Banished & replaced by a new sibling!
A brand new baby had just arrived and within that first week of being home with the newborn, Mrs Anderson decided that things had to change because she could not get any sleep between feeding and soothing a newborn and the disturbance this caused to the 15 month old next to her.
At 15 months, Isla was sleeping in her parents bed and that’s the way it had always been. If you took her anywhere near her cot, she would scream the house down so it had been the easy option.
Mrs Anderson was concerned about how to move Isla into her own cot without her feeling alone after all these months. With a brand new baby sister, we also did not want Isla to feel she had been replaced or removed to make way for the baby.
Any mother of a newborn is going to feel tired but working on sleep with a 15 month old at the same time, was truly admirable.
Mrs Anderson decided that she was surviving on such little sleep anyway that she was prepared to take action now and reap the benefits as soon as possible by at least having a 15 month old that sleeps soundly so that she could manage the demands of a newborn too.
Getting Isla to sleep in her own cot after being in the parents bed her whole life was going to be a big move and this meant a change in room as well. To take things very slowly and gently, we made sure Isla had some of her existing soothing strategies such as her dummy and bottle at bedtime.
I asked if she had a cuddly toy for bed but she hadn’t needed one because she had had her parents to cuddle instead. I suggested introducing one now as it might, in time, be accepted as a new bedtime companion.
Having been in such close contact with her parents for sleep, it would have been too much for her to cope with to just leave her on her own in a new room, so we contracted our plan to start with a parent laying down on a bed next to the cot in her room so they were as close as they had always been.
This got Isla used to sleeping in the new sleep space of her cot and the new environment of her own room. She began to settle more easily each night and would only stir and resettle quickly in the night.
Once adjusted to the new place for sleep, we began the process of weaning Isla off the need to have mum right there next to her. This was a slow and gradual process, always monitoring Isla’s progress and responses to ensure we went at the right pace for her.
As the nights went by, Isla began settling so much more happily at bedtime. She finally knew what to do, how to lay down and go to sleep! She had learnt how to put herself back to sleep in the night if she woke or stirred and she would wake up happy and refreshed after a good nights sleep.
This was a huge load off Mrs Anderson’s shoulders who gained the peace of mind that her 15 month old was getting the sleep she needed for her health, well-being, cognitive development and, well, happiness.
Mum could handle the disturbed nights that come with having a newborn knowing she would be taking care of a much happier 15 month old and in a more relaxed state herself too!
Note: The names in this case study have been changed to protect identity
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Lucy Shrimpton, "The Sleep Nanny"
Known as The Sleep Nanny®, Lucy Shrimpton is the mother of two young children and one of the UK’s leading experts in child sleep. As a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, Lucy was trained and mentored by “The Sleep Lady” Kim West, and studied the most extensive professional sleep programme available, working with doctors, attorneys, lactation counsellors and family therapists. After studying the methods and philosophies of pioneers and experts in child sleep, Lucy has developed The Sleep Nanny System™, which gives parents the information and tools they need in order to find a solution that suits the individual personality of their child. With The Sleep Nanny System™, Lucy has already helped hundreds of parents and children worldwide, discover the gift of sleep.