It is no exaggeration to say that The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan was an absolute game changer for me and for my daughter. It was a helping hand when we needed it most, a wise voice that rose above the noise, and a guide that offered me some semblance of control when everything felt overwhelming. It is no small thing to find yourself suddenly responsible for a lovely little human, and the challenges of those early months at times felt immense. I turned to Alison’s first book on a really bad day, and it gave me hope. I have since recommended it to many new parents, and they have come back to me in their droves to say thank you and that it was game changer for them too. If you’ve read it already, then you likely know what I’m talking about!
But, much as we’d like to believe otherwise, there are always new bumps in the road of infant sleep. Your napping new-born is suddenly a one year old, and they aren’t needing quite as many naps now. Perhaps they aren’t sleeping as well as they once did. Or they never really found their routine.
Alison’s first book has been my sleep bible for the first year of my daughter’s life, and I am so relieved that The Sensational Toddler Sleep Plan is here to see us through the next few years. For all the parents who found help in The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan, this is the book that will keep you on track. And for those who haven’t read the first book and who have either been struggling with sleep for over a year or who have hit a difficult patch, this is the book that will fix things for you!
There are stories from other parents who have been helped by Alison in these pages – and I hope that by the end of this book, you’ll have your own story too – but I wanted to share mine here.
Sienna was breech – which means that before she was born she was positioned with her head above her feet – and this is known to sometimes cause hip problems. We were therefore offered a routine scan when she was twelve weeks old to check how her hips were developing. We weren’t expecting any problems. But we left that appointment feeling shocked and quite distressed. We were told that she had hip dysplasia and were given a harness that she had to wear for twenty-four hours every day for at least the next six weeks. It was horrible to see our cuddly little girl with her legs strapped up and to the side like a frog. She was very uncomfortable for the first few days, and I felt miserable that I couldn’t make it better for her.
I expected that things would improve as Sienna got used to being in that position, but that wasn’t at all the case. Instead, the things that had been difficult beforehand – the sleepless nights, the crying, the fussy feeding – all became much more challenging. I knew that Sienna had displayed some of the symptoms of reflux in the past, but I’d never been particularly worried. We’d been told time and again that all babies struggle to sleep and that there was nothing unusual about a particularly tricky ‘witching hour’ in the evenings. But the fixed position of the harness exacerbated every symptom, and she was crying for hours before eventually falling asleep, completely exhausted.
I was so grateful when a lovely friend whose child had also experienced hip dysplasia and sleeplessness reached out to offer support. In our conversation, she mentioned a book that had been hugely helpful: The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan. I bought it straightaway. I was desperate to find a solution and to help my poor daughter. She wasn’t sleeping well at all, which meant that she was overtired, and that in turn made her even more miserable!
And, if I’m honest, I was struggling too. I’m not ashamed to admit that there were tears from both of us on quite a few occasions. I felt so guilty, like I ought to be doing more to help her. And the lack of sleep was challenging for me too. I was lost in a fog, doing stupid things (like putting my coffee in the freezer!) and feeling completely detached from myself.
In The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan, Alison covers so much more than just sleep – much as she does in this book – so that her readers can be absolutely sure that they are doing the right thing for their child. I remember reading about the signs and symptoms of silent reflux, and recognising almost every single one. I reached out to Alison, and she called me almost straightaway. She promised that things would get better; all the information was in the book and she was on hand to help me too.
The relief was incredible.
With her guidance, we saw a doctor who prescribed medication to assist with reflux, and the change in Sienna was almost instantaneous. She was calm, settled and so much happier. She couldn’t have slept while so uncomfortable, and I’m so grateful that we were given the right tools with which to help her. Her sleep gradually began to improve, but we still had no routine whatsoever, and it meant that planning our days was very difficult. I was also really keen to have my evenings back; I wanted some time to myself to unwind after such full-on days and to eat dinner with my husband again!
I knew that Sienna wasn’t uncomfortable anymore, and so I felt that it was the right time for us as a family to start focusing on a routine. Alison gave us some further advice, and encouraged us to use the tools outlined in her book. After a few days, Sienna was sleeping through the night. I cannot tell you how incredible it feels to have your first full night’s sleep in months. And it takes so little time to get there!
I started to feel more and more like myself again. It was as though the fog was lifting and, beneath it, I was happy and relaxed. We had a regular routine for our days, peaceful evenings, and we were all sleeping solidly through the night. And, of course, Sienna was happier than ever too. She clearly had more energy and it was so reassuring to see how smiley she’d become.
Alison remains a wonderful source of support and guidance for me and my family. We have had bumps in the road and it is inevitable that there will be more going forwards. Typically, as soon as we’ve mastered a stage, a new change comes along. I look at my daughter now and she isn’t a baby anymore, but almost a toddler. I am so enjoying watching her lovely little personality emerge. And she’s discovering that she has own wants and that she can push our boundaries with her cheeky smile. I am so relieved that we’ll have The Sensational Toddler Sleep Plan in hand when she decides that she wants to read just one more book or have just one more sip of water before going to bed!