Last updated: July 24, 2015

Sleep Problems & their Solutions

Diane Pawsey
Written by: Diane Pawsey

Case Study 1

A little girl aged 19 months old had co-slept with her parents since birth. The parents had decided it was time to move her into her own room. They wanted to take it very slowly as it was a huge transition for mum and daughter.

Baby girl trouble sleeping
Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

We started by putting a bed next to the cot in the nursery. This was so the mum could co-sleep for a couple of nights, to allow the baby to get used to her new room.

From there we used the Gradual Retreat Method. her mum sat next to the cot on a chair and held the child’s hand until she was asleep. This was repeated each time she woke up during the night, reassuring her by holding her hand.

Gradually the chair was moved away from the cot until it was out of the room with her mum only going into the room to reassure her. There are alternative methods that could be quicker, however I feel that the parents needed to lead the process and choose what felt right for them.

Case Study 2

A little boy aged two and a half was suffering from night terrors. Three times a week at around 10pm he would wake up screaming with his eyes wide open and be sitting bolt upright in bed.

Frightened little boy
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

His mum would go in to him and try and talk to him. She said it was awful to watch. He would settle down after three or four minutes and lay down and go back to sleep. His mum was so upset she was sleeping in his room all night.

Night terrors happen in the early part of the night during deep sleep. Even it the child appears as if they are awake, they are not. I explained to his mum that he would not remember anything, so not to talk about what had happened the next day. She should stay with him, hold his hand and reassure him, then making sure he was settled, leave the room.

Sleep deprivation can play a big part in night terrors, so we introduced a longer nap after lunch and no screen time an hour before bedtime. I suggested to his mum to rouse him out of sleep at 9.45pm, to interrupt his sleep.

It is called Awake to Sleep method. It was used every night until there was a a whole week clear of night terrors. In this case altering a few key practices and using the method has stopped him having night terrors.

Case Study 3

A little girl aged nine months old was waking 5 to 6 times in the night.

Her mum was breastfeeding her to sleep and throughout the night her daughter was waking and looking for the breast to put her to back sleep. She was only feeding for 2-3 minutes each time and then falling back to sleep.

Baby girl under blanket
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

I suggested to her mum to use a comforter muslin or teddy and to hold it between them when she was feeding, so that it would get the smell of the mother on it and the baby would get used to the muslin being there as a comforter.

This was to be given to her daughter at bed time and nap time. The first step was to look at her day time and bed time routine. After making a few changes and shortening her bed time routine, we set two feed times during the night. In between those times her mum was to use the Pick Up Put Down technique then slowly reducing the feed times until no milk was offered and her mum was just using the technique to get her off to sleep.

It didn’t take long before the baby started going longer in the night and sleeping well during her naps in the day. Within a week she was sleeping through the night without any feeds

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