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Baby fed and held to sleep: a case study

Baby fed and held to sleep: a case study

When Rosie first contacted our team of baby sleep consultants she was anxious to say the least. She was almost certain that we would tell her that we can’t help her 7 month old girl Elke sleep at night if she wasn’t willing to leave her to cry alone and wanted to keep an overnight feed in – but that’s just not how The Baby Sleep Company rolls…

The problem

Elke is Rosie and Tom’s third child and despite being a healthy and thriving little girl, she was not a great sleeper. To say that Rosie was bone-numbingly tired would be a drastic understatement. As a fulltime stay-at-home-mum, she not only looked after Elke all day and night but chased after a very energetic 2.5 year old boy and was, for the first time ever, having to navigate the expectations and logistics of daily prep lunches, drop offs and pick ups. Baby Elke was exclusively breastfed and had started and taken to solids like a boss. The only problem was that to go to sleep, Elke had to breastfeed and be soothed to sleep on the couch in the second (quieter) living area. Every. Single. Sleep.

This involved Rosie having to excuse herself from the family evening around 6.30 and sit in the other room with Elke for as long as 2 hours to get her ‘properly’ asleep which meant she wasn’t involved in her older children having their dinner, bathing, story reading and lovely unwinding. While it might sound like a welcome break for a tired mother it really was a source of constant frustration for Rosie that she was tied to this process every single night.

It didn’t end there though – Elke was waking between 3-5 times overnight and needed the same thing again: back to the sofa for a breastfeed and cuddle to sleep. As you can probably imagine Rosie was really starting to resent the whole thing and was finding it hard to be the mother she wanted to be.

Rosie’s dilemma

Despite having seen our many reassurances both on our Facebook page and website, Rosie remained skeptical that we wouldn’t try to force her to drop night feeding altogether and to leave Elke to cry alone. Elke was on track with her growth and developmental stages and was over 6 months so it wasn’t medically essential for her to have milk overnight but it sure was emotionally essential for Rosie. This was her last baby and there had been some trauma when she was born (they nearly lost her and she spent over a week in the NICU before being allowed home)…Rosie just wasn’t ready to let go of those feeds and there really was no need to. The sofa though? That needed to go.

Rosie was ready to reclaim her evenings and nights but not if it meant Elke would have to cry alone and not be ‘allowed’ night feeds. That emotional cost was too high for her. 

The results

When we asked if we could publish this case study Rosie laughed at the irony that her sleep success story would now be read by skeptically hopeful mothers (like she once was) but she asked me to tell you that’s it’s “REALLY TRUE!”.

Our baby sleep consultant worked with Rosie to come up with a sleep training solution that meant that at no point would Elke every be left to cry alone AT ALL. Not for a minute. No timed checks, no crying all night alone, no vomiting NO HORROR SLEEP TRAINING STORY. Just calm reassuring, some stroking and soothing and a plan to get Rosie gradually out of the room.

Elke took to it like a charm and within days was only girzzling at bedtime and Rosie was now free to enjoy dinner with her older boys and talk about their days. She felt like her time was more evenly divided between her children and that her beloved job as their mother was more balanced again. Mama was back.

Rosie checked back in with us three weeks after our visit to let us know how she was going – in short, she was over the moon. Elke was now settling with no crying of an evening and waking only once for her feed but then going back to sleep alone until 6am each morning. WIN!!

“I can never thank you enough for giving me hope with Elke’s sleep. I still pinch myself when I put her down AWAKE in her cot in the evening and don’t hear a peep. She sleep solidly from bedtime until our feed at 1am but even then I just pop her back in her cot and she rolls over and drifts off all by herself! I know we put in work to get to this place but it still feels like a miracle and that we hit jackpot when we spoke to you. Thank you so much for helping tired families with your work, you are truly amazing.”


Say! You might also be interested in reading one of these equally enthralling articles:

Toddler waking in the night: a case study

Common sleep training mistakes: part one

Sleep training at 8 weeks: our stance



If you would like personalised help with any sleep issue for a child, newborn to 5 years, contact The Baby Sleep Company today on 0457 473 725 or click here to send us an email.


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