CASE STUDY | 7 MONTH OLD WAKING UP TO 13 TIMES A NIGHT
Kelsie Heemskerk @mrsheemskerk is a Gold Coast mother with two beautiful little boys and a gorgeous stepson. Kelsie opens up about her experience with her firstborn and his lack of sleep and why she promised herself she would seek help if her second baby wasn’t sleeping well. She survived sleep deprivation with her first son, she knew she couldn’t go down that path again. We sat down with Kelsie to chat all thing sleep.
Q - Can you tell our community about your first born, Hunter, and his sleeping habits?
Hunter just did not sleep. I honestly don’t think there is any other way to put it. He drove me to complete mental and physical exhaustion. He was a catnapper from the moment we brought him home from the hospital, he would wake every 45 minutes around the clock, even overnight. Imagine, every 45 minutes you are awake, every night. When I look back on this time I don’t even know how we survived. It was brutal.
Q - Did you consider seeking help for Hunter?
We did, I was actually accepted into a sleep school for a week after I saw a midwife for our health check. She was worried about my health and well-being, and how little sleep we were all getting. One week before we were due to visit sleep school I cancelled. My pride got the better of me. I was too ashamed to receive help. It has always been one of my regrets because we didn’t start sleeping well until Hunter was over one year old.
Q - That sure is a long time surviving on little sleep. You poor thing, you mentioned physically and mentally you become exhausted, Can you share a little more about how the sleep deprivation affected you?
I get quite emotional when I think back to that time. I didn’t enjoy my first year of motherhood, It was so unbelievably tough. I didn’t have any friends who had babies. We had no family close by and I felt like each day was just another day to “just get through” on no sleep. I was gaining weight because I was reaching out for foods with high sugar and high caffeine content to help me survive. I knew I wasn’t being the best version of myself because I was so damn tired. I feel as though the closeness my husband and I had always shared was compromised because of our exhaustion.
Q - Did you have reservations about using an online sleep program?
I did my research and read a lot of reviews about the potential pros and cons. The Sleep Mama program was always at the back of my mind though. I promised myself the second time round that if we struggled again with sleep, I would seek help. I now had two little humans to care for and I would not allow sleep to be my undoing, not again. Huxley was a great sleeper, and then we hit the 4-month sleep regression. He was waking up to 13 times a night and I felt like I was losing myself again. We began spending hours walking around the house. We would rock him to sleep or feed him to sleep and after a month of this we decided we needed to do something, and we purchased The Sleep Mama program. It has been the best thing we have ever done, In 3 days we saw drastic improvements.
By the third day, I had a new baby. All I wanted to do was cry, happy tears. How had I spent so long telling myself that this was normal? That being an emotional wreck on no sleep was okay. I can’t even remember the last time we needed to help him to sleep. He goes down for his naps and bedtime awake and sleeps so well. It allows me to know when something isn’t right with him because he sleeps so well if he has a disrupted night I know he is teething or in pain because his “normal” is just so good. Life is really good,
Q - Would you recommend the sleep mama programs to your friends?
I have people ask me all the time if I would recommend the programs or if I think they should buy them and honestly I can never say a bad word about the programs because they worked amazingly for our family. I will say that every household is different, and so is every baby and when it comes to purchasing the programs my one piece of advice is to have support and stay committed. My husband is incredibly supportive and we worked as a team. Make sure your partner is also committed to making the changes and if you put in 100% the outcome is so worth it. He's turned into such a predictable baby. It's amazing. He's chilled, always happy, and a real delight to have. Our little boy has come such a long way, simply by implementing The Sleep Mama program. It's funny, my husband and I were sitting on the couch the other night after both kids had gone to bed and said: "remember when we use to take it, in turn, rocking Hux to sleep!" Like it was a distant memory.