Well our time with the sleep consultant ended a few days ago, and while it’s a bit scary to be out on our own I have to say – I feel so much more confident in my role as a mom now that we’ve had her help us. I’ll probably be repeating a lot of the things I’ve said over the course of this sleep training set, but they’re worth repeating for sure.
So first off, I’d like to talk about our consultant Jessica with Happy Little Dreamers Sleep Consulting and the process we went through. I had posted on a local twin mom FB page asking how the moms had gotten their kids to stop co-sleeping. After some really useful responses (not… There were a bunch that were like “good luck! Our kids are 3 and STILL in our bed! Lolololol” wow, so helpful. I’m clearly pulling my hair out and asking for help…), there was a lady that said she’d gotten help from Jessica several times and she was of tremendous help over the course of the I think 18 months they’d had their twins. I’d literally never heard of a sleep consultant before, and I was stuck between thinking it was super bougie and California-style (read:unnecessary) or possibly the most helpful thing that could ever be. Turns out it’s probably a bit of both, but definitely more the latter.
As you likely know, I was dealing with some pretty intense lows in my postpartum anxiety and depression. I knew sleep training was a thing and that I had to get the kids on a routine, but anytime I tried I just got so overwhelmed. One of my issues has consistently been an inability to cope with my kids crying – which I know is silly, they’re babies. They cry. But still any time I tried to put them down and ignore them for x-amount of time, it just didn’t happen. And I knew I was teaching them bad habits by giving into their cries but in my head I had no other options. I had no idea what to do. So Dave and I had talked about it, and how much was going to be our limit on the cost. How much is getting our bed back worth to us? Our sanity? All of that. We have limited savings, and we’re trying really hard to get debt put away and a down payment on a house put together. Is it worth taking a chunk of that and putting it to something that could possibly not work?
Enter Jessica. She was really quick to respond and set up a consult with us to see if she could help us. We chatted on the phone for a bit, told her our story and what the kids were up to. She told us upfront what the costs would be – I expected it to be at least double what we were quoted. Basically there was a flat fee for two weeks of help, on the premise that both kids would be on the same schedule and only require the one routine. Once we established that we were interested in her help, we set up a video consult with her. It took about 90 minutes and we went through eeeeeverything. She had all of the questions for us; stuff that I wouldn’t have even thought about. We decided on a start date and she set to work, sending us a comprehensive routine and set of guidelines the next day. She even set me up with a wellness plan because I was really nervous about how my crazy brain was going to do through this process. That’s one thing I really loved about working with Jessica – There was so much support on every level. Zero judgment about the depression or how anxious I was about all of this. When she was doing check-in’s it was for all of us, not just how the kids were doing with the sleep routine. She was full of advice and breathing exercises, and was clear about how I needed to present a happy and in-control mood when I was trying to put the kids to bed.
I have said this before, and I will say it again. Hiring Jessica was the best money we’ve ever spent. I’m hesitant to say how much we spent because I don’t want to lock her into fees for anyone reading this, but it was well under $400 for the two weeks of help. MORE than worth it. We have our sanity back, we have our bed back, we’re all so much more rested and our family is functioning better. I haven’t had a really depressed day in almost a month, and aside from some lingering anxiety I feel like I’ve gotten my PPD completely under control. The kids are well rested and raising them doesn’t feel like the overbearing chore it used to be. They’re learning things faster and having much better days. Dave is sad he doesn’t get to see the kids as much because of his work schedule but it’s worth it because he doesn’t have to worry all day that I’m breaking down. So often he’d come home from a long day at work to me just sobbing or emotionally wrecked, with two crying babies in my arms. That hasn’t happened in forever. He can go to work and just worry about doing what he has to do. We don’t need to burden my in-law’s with overnighters every weekend (they say they loved the visits but it’s a lot having visitors to begin with, nevermind giving up pretty much every weekend to help with babies!) We can make plans and appointments with confidence, and holy shit – I can meal prep now. I used to set the babies up in jolly jumpers or their chairs and just hope and pray that I could do what I needed to do to get dinner ready in time to cook it for Dave to come home. Then when we ate, we’d either take turns eating and taking care of babies or just eat with a kid on our lap. Now I prep dinner during their naps, and I’m able to cook it when they go down and have it ready by the time Dave is home. Then we enjoy our meal. Like grown-ups! I’ve recently become obsessed with my KitchenAid mixer, and I have time to use it. I made a super bad ass Cookie Dough cake this past week for when my family visited (I will make a post on that as well, cuz god damn!) that took several hours of work over two days. There is NO way I could have gotten that done if we hadn’t gotten the kids sleep trained.
Whether you get someone to help you, or do it on your own – I implore you to sleep train your kids. We didn’t want to ever be fighting with our kids about routine things like bed time. Now bed time will always have been a thing, they won’t remember a time where things were lawless and unorganized. It won’t be a punishment, it will just be the way it is. I’m sure there will still be arguments – they’re kids. But if we stay consistent on bed time and the routine, the arguments will be moot because again – it’s the way it is and always has been.
A lot of you will likely just have one kid. My friend has been sleep training her son for the past couple of weeks after I was evangellically extolling the benefits we’d been reaping, and her boy was having a tough week or so of sleep. I let her know some of the things that we’d been doing with the twins but she did a lot of reading and listened to a lot of podcasts. She found herself some great methods that she’s been seeing some great benefits of. It’s been very exciting to have someone to share this journey with, because those who don’t get it will likely just hear me ranting about my happiness like “oh wow, I’m happy you’re happy.” But this girl and anyone else who’s done the sleep training after a tough run gets it, gets the difference. It is life changing.
So I say to ye weary and frazzled new moms – whether you have one baby or ten babies (holy fuck can you imagine?!) Sleep train. And if you’re too weary and frazzled like I was, get some help. It is 10000% worth the money. If you’re struggling with cost I promise it will seem like pennies in comparison to the benefits you reap from your family being well rested.
Be well, mamas!