I’m excited to share this blog post with you! I am interviewing Maura, who is not only a mama I formerly worked with, but she’s now another sleep consultant working with me here at Via Graces!
We’re going to dig into the “before” sleep training, the “during” sleep training, and the “after” sleep training, to hear what the process was like for her and her family.
Tell Us About You and Your Family
My name is Maura Stitt and I joke that I’m a “geriatric” mom! I am a 40-year-old mom with an almost 3-year-old, James. My husband and I have been married for eight years and struggled with infertility, and we were so thankful to finally get our miracle and loving little boy!
Because of my husband’s job, we have moved a lot and don’t live near family, which often means we’re on our own little island as parents. We can’t lean on local family members and don’t have a local “tribe” like some do, so we’ve had to figure out our resources differently. This is one big reason we hired a sleep consultant when we needed help with James’ sleep!
James was also born during the pandemic, which was even more isolating. But the beauty of working with a sleep consultant is it can all be virtual and they can lift us up when we need it!
I found Lauren on Instagram as I was doing a midnight scroll during one of James’ many night wakings, I was trying to nurse him (which was a separate challenge all on its own), and I had already tried different avenues of sleep help.
What did sleep look like before we worked together?
Having a new baby was a beautiful time and a hard time. It was full of such beautiful bonding, especially since we had been waiting so long for this sweet gift of a baby. When he was first born, he was sleeping in a bedside bassinet, and then we transitioned him into the SNOO.
James thankfully slept a lot as a newborn, because we moved when he was 8 weeks old and were in temporary housing until he was around 12 weeks old, so his environment changed a lot. He didn’t have his own room set up until he was around 6 months old, so we tried to keep things as normal as possible, despite all of the changes.
I naturally like to prepare, so when we were trying to get pregnant and while we were pregnant, I read a lot about babies, including a lot about sleep! My friends had all already had babies, too, so I had a lot of knowledge about sleep and I paid close attention to James’ cues when he was born.
And his sleep was pretty manageable until around the four-month mark! Overnight sleep wasn’t terrible (although we regularly had to put the pacifier back in his mouth), but naps were especially tough/non-existent. James was still sleeping on me most of the time and we were still figuring out the best feeding path.
If I laid him down, he would only take 20-minute naps and I couldn’t get anything done! I love to write but couldn’t write, let alone get water and eat something before he was awake again.
What made you decide to hire a sleep consultant?
We tried a “one size fits all” course, but it wasn’t the right fit for us. So when James was 7 months old, we decided to reach out to Lauren.
Mental health is important for everyone, and sleep is so closely connected to mental health. And for me, I just wasn’t getting the sleep I needed to have that solid baseline.
Not to mention the “value of life” – I had no time with my husband, I wasn’t working out, and I didn’t have time to write. Even when I could have tried to sleep, I’d find myself thinking, “He’s going to wake up soon,” and it kept me from sleeping.
So for my husband and me, it really came down to what was worth it for us. We didn’t have a community to help us thrive, so we decided to build it up and take the plunge to hire a sleep consultant.
What did the sleep training process actually look like?
Most importantly to us, we knew we’d be in good hands working with Lauren.
Working with a sleep consultant kind of felt like working with a caregiver! The intake questionnaire was so well thought out that just by answering the questions, we felt calmer and at ease that our needs were going to be met in the sleep training process and that we’d be heard.
And for the seven months leading up to working with Lauren, we hadn’t felt “heard” by James’ pediatrician, lactation consultant, or friends when it came to his sleep.
Being able to have that free discovery call, choosing which package was best without any pressure, and going through the intake process helped us feel confident going into sleep training. And it helped us all prepare for what was coming.
Then we had the consult call to run through the step-by-step sleep plan, and it made the process feel “easy” and doable.
The actual sleep training process went a lot smoother than we thought! James caught on more quickly than we anticipated and surprised us along the way. We were nervous to take the pacifier away, but it went really well and we saw a big difference within just 2-3 days.
I was so glad we were able to use a sleep training method where I could stay in the room the first few nights because I was really nervous about him being on his stomach. And I was thankful I could be in there to support him to sleep.
At the end of the two weeks, we had reached our goals and felt like we had our own time back and mental clarity!
What has James’ sleep looked like since sleep training him two years ago?
Through more moves, sickness, and daycare, James has been a consistent sleeper, and it’s because of the great foundation he has. Sleep training gave us the awareness of how to respond versus how to react, and that’s really helped.
I’d say the “stickiest” point was when he was transitioning to one nap. He seems to have higher sleep needs than many babies and toddlers, so we weren’t quite sure how that would work on a one-nap schedule.
We had a refresher call with Lauren to help us think through when to make the transition to one nap and how to navigate it, and it helped clarify what James truly needed and what our life actually needed at the time.
Now James is almost three years old and still takes a 2-3 hour nap every day!
Overall, that foundation of independent sleep has been there. If he stirs in the night, he knows he is safe and calm and goes right back to sleep.
Anything else you’d like to share?
When I think about our sleep journey with James, it’s nice to look back and take a sigh of relief knowing that we’ve gotten here from where we were. I’m just so proud of him!
If you feel like you’re in a similar place that Maura was with James – maybe your baby is sleeping in the SNOO or will only nap on you. Maybe they’re a chronic short napper or you play the pacifier game all night long.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to stay that way! Maura and I love working with families who just want the extra help to reach their sleep goals.
If you’re curious about what it would look like to work with a sleep consultant, check out how we can help so you don’t have to figure it out on your own!
Lauren & Maura