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Sleep consultants - any recommendations? Very very tired and really need some help.

(14 Posts)
snickersnack Mon 28-Jul-08 22:13:03

We're at the end of our tether with DS - he's waking two to three times a night and screaming hysterically for up to an hour at a time, whether or not we're holding him. Not only is it exhausting, it's emotionally draining as well. There's no way of calming him except giving him milk (he then goes back to sleep) but I don't believe he needs 3 bottles of milk to get through the night. And he's still waking to start the day at 5.30am. Grrr.

Anyhow, although I know in theory a fair bit about sleep training, I also know we can't do this without moral and emotional support. When dd was little (also a dreadful sleeper) we had a wonderful HV who made some fantastic suggestions and gave us lots of support while we did gradual withdrawal and she was sleeping through within a week at 11 months. But this hasn't worked with ds - and we need someone who knows what they're doing to help us through this, I think.

We tried Millpond when he was quite a bit smaller - I wasn't that impressed, as even though we followed their suggestions to the letter he was still waking hourly (though was more easily settled than before) and they basically washed their hands of him when we said we weren't prepared to do controlled crying.

I've looked at the websites for Naturally Nurturing and Andrea Grace - any others? Are either of these any good?

puffylovett Mon 28-Jul-08 22:26:23

Hi snickersnack, you haven't said how old your LO is ?

snickersnack Mon 28-Jul-08 22:39:14

Sorry, he's 13 months. And he's never been a good sleeper, but it's getting worse and worse...

hester Mon 28-Jul-08 22:44:37

I've used Andrea Grace and she was brilliant. I found her by personal recommendation from a friend who also found her advice and daily support really worked.

snickersnack Tue 29-Jul-08 09:11:32

Hester - does she advocate controlled crying? I'm really keen to avoid it even if it takes a bit longer.

cestlavie Tue 29-Jul-08 09:15:58

Snickersnack: whereabouts do you live? When DD was having an absolute sleep fiasco we were both so tired we got a 'night nanny' in for a night. She was fantastic and we still use her for babysitting all the time now. The company, I think, is called Night Nannies and are based in the South East though I guess they may have branches elsewhere. They can do one-offs whenyou're just really shattered (like for us) or they have a night nanny come in for up to two weeks to help the child learn to sleep through. From what I understand, all their nannies are fully qualified and specialise in helping children sleep through. They're not cheap for sure, but even as just a one-off to get a little sanity they're brilliant.

3littlefrogs Tue 29-Jul-08 09:16:24

Have you considered cranial osteopathy? Just a thought - but could he be in pain?

Did you have a straighforward labour and delivery?

(Ds1 woke up every 2 hours till he was 14 months, so I do sympathise. He outgrew it eventually, and I also did a sort of gradual withdrawal - this was nearly 20 years ago, so there was less information around).

justaphase Tue 29-Jul-08 09:20:10

I used Naturally Nurturing and was not impressed.

snickersnack Tue 29-Jul-08 10:09:23

cestlavie - it's something I wish we'd done a while ago, when he was smaller. Unfortunately now separation anxiety has kicked in big time, and I think he'd freak out totally if someone other than one of us appeared (he went completely crazy when my MIL, who he adores, tried to setttle him the other night). Also, the house isn't huge - short of going and staying in a hotel, I'm not sure I'd get much sleep while he was wailing.

3littlefrogs - he had cranial osteopathy when he was tiny as the cord was wrapped round his neck and he was distressed. It really helped - not sure if it's something we should revisit. I have wondered if it's teething, but he clearly hasn't been teething his entire life and actually his sleeping wasn't too bad when the last couple came through.

justaphase (like the name!) - can I ask why not?

3littlefrogs Tue 29-Jul-08 10:17:16

Ds1 had the cord wrapped very tightly round his neck. I often wondered if he had problems because of this.

I would revisit the cranial osteopathy if you can - you never know, it might help.

There is a very good book called "My child won't sleep" by Naomi Richman and Jo Douglas.
It was the book that saved me.

bundle Tue 29-Jul-08 10:19:24

friend said millpond saved their lives

justaphase Tue 29-Jul-08 12:38:32

Naturally Nurturing - I found the woman very flaky.

She took payment in advance. Came to visit. Talked through the issues and promissed to send us a personalised plan within 3 days. A week later we had not heard from her so tried to phone but could not reach her. She called another week later and said she had lost her mobile which is why she was not answering (and her landline always went to voicemail). She also said she had e-mailed us the plan but something must be wrong with our e-mail address.

Anyway, we eventually received the plan - it was obviously a document that she had used for someone else and then quickly edited but not carefully enough. There were things that were completely irrelevant - for example she was saying that DS was overstimulated by the number of toys in his room but actually he only had one teddy bear there.

The advice was mostly common sense and nothing that we were not doing already anyway, except for maybe one or two very minor things.

She was meant to come for a second visit two weeks later which she cancelled and then we had such trouble getting in touch with her again that I felt it was not worth the hassle so left it.

On the whole, she was a pleasent woman and talks common sense (plus does not use cc) but I felt she ripped me off and did not really help that much.

dinkystinky Tue 29-Jul-08 12:39:32

I used naturally nurturing with DS when he was around 5 months - it worked a treat and they were always available on the phone when I needed them. Couldnt really do the controlled crying thing so it seemed a good alternative to try and did really help us. Hope whoever you end up using helps you as know how awful it can be when a child isnt sleeping!

hester Tue 29-Jul-08 22:18:56

snickersnack - Andrea Grace specialises in 'gentle methods', which was brilliant because I was absolutely not prepared to do controlled crying. There WAS some crying, because she was cross and tired and didn't know how to settle herself, but I was with her throughout, stroking her back and talking to her. As Andrea put it, how traumatised can a baby be if its mother is right there with it?

She charged about 100 quid, though I think I heard that her charges have gone up since. For that, she came and spent two hours in our home, really talking through everything. She then sent us a detailed plan, and was available to talk on the phone every day for up to a month. This was the really valuable bit; the actual plan wasn't rocket science, but I was so sleep-deprived I was functionally stupid and needed that hand-holding every day.

We had some crying on the first two nights (not more than an hour) but dd was sleeping through by day 4 and we've not had any problems since.

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