“Before Patti, our nights were filled with anxiety. Every night I knew when he would go to sleep, never knowing when I would finally get to relax, then wondering when he was going to wake up again”.
Lindsay was worried about her 4.5 year old son, Will, who was struggling with sleeping at night. Even as a baby his sleep was difficult to achieve. Mom and Dad tried sleep training before but he would become so upset, he would often vomit.
Will needed to be read to sleep every night and then would wake up, consistently, between midnight and 2 am. At times he would wake up in tears and crying and crawl into his parents’ bed or others he would be completely calm and say, “Hi Mom” and climb into bed. Mom and Dad tried returning him to his room but he would become inconsolable and would wake himself up so much that it could take 1+ hours for him to fall back asleep. Will even was suffering from occasional night terrors and they were extremely upsetting for Mom and Dad.
Mom felt lost and extremely exhausted. She was trying so many different ways to encourage Will to stay in his bed and fall asleep on his own. She was trying to not offer sugar after dinner, exercise, positive reinforcement, prizes and lastly Melatonin. Melatonin seemed to work to help Will fall asleep faster at bedtime but wouldn’t help him stay asleep throughout the night. If he did wake and be up for 1+ hours in the middle of the night, out of desperation, he would get another dose of Melatonin. Mom was advised by professionals, “that if it was working, why stop”.
Mom was at the end of her exhaustion and also had her baby daughter to tend to. Dad’s hours at work vary and that was also contributing to Will becoming more unsettled. They felt like they couldn’t travel or even get a babysitter because of not knowing how bedtime and the rest of the night would go. Mom tried making his room comfortable, whatever made him feel safe and secure and also tried a weighted blanket. Nothing seemed to help.
“I felt completely helpless. We were using Melatonin everyday just to help and that only ensured us that he would fall asleep eventually, not stay asleep, or get a good nights’ rest.”
Finally, Mom contacted Patti. They chatted about everything that was happening from his sleep environment, nutrition, school, etc. Patti needed to make sure they were addressing every possible area that could be contributing to Will’s inability to fall asleep on his own. She could feel that Mom was absolutely exhausted and defeated. Dad was working 12-13 hour days and didn’t have the strength to stay awake at night. Will was becoming more anxious with his broken sleep and was more and more afraid to be alone even in his own home. After talking Mom and Patti decided that the Phone Consultation Package was best suited. It was just enough support for Mom to feel comfortable with executing the plan but also Patti was there for any phone call, text or e-mail.
The process definitely wasn’t without a lot of patience and perseverance. Patti’s plan instilled healthy and clear-cut boundaries for Will, so that he knew exactly what was coming and what was going to happen. Introduced some foods into his diet that would start to help his body produce more Melatonin (naturally). Included a lot of positive reinforcement to keep him motivated (which he very much liked) and this helped him to feel somewhat in control. Lastly, Patti used light therapy to ensure his body had the very best opportunity to start producing maximum Melatonin every day before bedtime.
Mom said, “it was a crazy mix of emotions. The exhaustion was unreal, but because I knew it was coming it seemed much more bearable. Quite honestly, Patti’s encouragement and empathy really resonated with me and helped me to keep going. I had let it go on for far too long and had to put in the hard work to help my son have healthy sleep habits.”
Mom and Patti, together, decided that a more gradual approach would be best for Will. They both didn’t want him getting overly upset, vomiting or waking his baby sister up. The first night Will was awake for 4 hours in the middle of the night. He was testing Mom to see if she was going to interact with him, feed him breakfast or take him back to her bed to sleep. Second night was a little better and but had multiple wake ups and by the third night, it seemed to click that this was going to be the “new normal”. He still had wake ups but he started accepting his new place to sleep. After 10 days, Will started to consistently sleep through the night and he no longer takes any Melatonin supplement!
Mom knew she had a very strong-willed child and in the beginning a little confusing but he excelled and was so proud of his achievement every day! Mom said the first thing that she noticed was “He grew up in one week! His emotions matured right away, he all of a sudden knew how to handle himself so much better. He really had built a new confidence. He knows exactly what is going to happen every night and is very confident in himself and no longer afraid.”
Life After the Consult with Patti: “AMAZING!!! My husband and I quite honestly didn’t know what to do with ourselves!!! There is now time for me in the evening. I knew I had a lot of anxiety at bedtime but I never really knew how bad it was until it was gone and it was much worse than I allowed myself to realize. I sleep so much better now as well not worrying if/when he was going to wake up and what kind of nights sleep we were all going to get.”
Lindsay would like to let all Moms and Parents know that. “I think as parents we all think we can figure it out without help or others think we are just doing something incredibly wrong, but they are both false. I am still kicking myself to this day for not calling when we first started having trouble. There’s so much more to it then an earlier bedtime or just returning them to bed. As parents we fail everyday at all kinds of things, it’s completely normal. There are some things you leave to a professional and for us this was most definitely one of those situations!”
Thank you Lindsay and Will for sharing your incredible journey. Lindsay your determination, strength and openness is truly inspiring and humbling. Thank you for taking that step to such positive change in your entire family’s life and especially in Will’s.