This is one of the greatest Feature Friday's I have ever had the privilege of writing. This beautiful family has allowed me to share their story to help others who may be going through this similar situation. Kendal is an 8 month old beauty who slept in 2-hour stretches at night from the time she was 4 months old and only napped when held. Rene, Kendal's mommy, would take her out of her crib after having her cry for a little while and had her sleep in their bed. This habit had been going on for the last 4 months!
Everyone in the household was tired and irritable. Kendal's sleep, or lack there of, was causing a lot of tension between Rene and her husband, Tim. Rene is one of greatest people I have ever gotten to know. She is honest and real! One of the first things she mentioned to me was she needed this to work or Tim was going to leave her. My heart broke. Tim is a sweet man who just wanted order in the home and not to mention sleep. They weren't able to have alone time together and communication started to fly out the door. Date nights were in extinct due to the fact Kendal was exclusively breastfed and wouldn't take a bottle whatsoever. With her chaotic sleep schedule, they couldn't have a sitter watch her. Their marriage had been the last priority. But they did both agree on this...They were ready to change their bad habits and get their family back on some sort of good routine. Starting with Kendal's sleep.
I am not going to lie, I felt the pressure on this one. I had to do something for this beautiful family. I knew they were just really tired and couldn't think rationally. But either way, Kendal was going to learn how to sleep on her own, in her own bed. That was my mission!
We created the perfect technique for Kendal. Rene was willing to do anything. She suggested we just give her a full cry it out but I didn't think she truly needed it. Kendal's personality showed me that she just needed a little reassuring during the times she was waking up, so I decided to do the Controlled Crying method by Ferber, where she cried but with checks. We created three set check points, 2 mins, 5 mins and 10 mins. After Kendal reached the point of crying for these amount of times, Rene would go in and lay her back down, rub her back for 10 seconds or less, and walk out the door. Rene and Tim both wondered if Kendal would know how to fall asleep. We all sat at the dining room table listening, watching the monitor and talking. And then all of a sudden she was quiet... asleep! We were so proud. She figured it out. Kendal cried for 41 minutes that very first night. I knew she was capable of falling asleep on her own, but that gave them the encouragement to continue.
Night two, these two were prepared for another long stretch of crying. However, at bedtime Kendal was asleep – alone – in FIVE MINUTES! They couldn't believe it and were in utter shock. They laughed, they cried, and they talked for hours over putting their marriage as a high priority. They finally had the time for each other. In all of sleep training, there were only five times when Kendal was actually upset enough to comfort check her. Most of it was moderate to light protest crying. More whining than crying. Rene realized during sleep training that Kendal wasn’t crying out of hunger or pain or fear but out of protest. She was able to see just how tired Kendal really was. This made it much easier for Tim and Rene to handle emotionally.
Pure joy and tears ran down my face after night four of training when Rene said to me, "Melissa, Tim told me we can do this! As in keeping our marriage. He said he love me and our baby girl so much and that he was sorry for even thinking of giving up on our family." Rene was so happy they decided to go for it and sleep train Kendal. Kendal is sleeping throughout the night without any tears whatsoever. Her naps are now consistently 1.5 hours twice a day. Words can't describe how amazing this precious family is. They didn't give up when times were hard and sought to find a solution to the madness. So proud of you all and have the sweetest dreams!