Tuesday, September 29, 2009

God of nations at Thy feet...la la la

Yes I am singing the praises of this little (but great!) nation, I now call home. In particular, the public health system. Coming from South Africa, where basically nothing is free, I am stunned by how much is available at no cost at all.

Let me tell you how this all started. A few months back, I was very sleep deprived, about 8 weeks pregnant, insanely hormonal and totally stressed out. I was not coping very well. And so I found myself at the doctor begging for something to sedate my little boy, to make him sleep better at night. She would not prescribe anything but instead refered me to Starship Children's Hospital to see a paedeatrician. Great help, was my sarcastic reply (in my head of course).

So anyway, the letter arrived a couple of weeks later informing me of my appointment with a Dr A. Along I went, feeling a bit sheepish. I mean, aren't there more pressing needs than a toddler's sleep problems? Dr A turned out to be a lovely lady who patiently listened and offered great advice, not making me feel this was a waste of time for one moment. She asked lots of questions and examined Turbo in detail - from his skin to his teeth.

But I had to hear what I didn't want to hear. Turbo's sleep problems can only be solved by going back to the good old behavioural training. In other words, teaching him (again!!) that if he wakes at night, he can go back to sleep by himself. Last time hubby and I did this training, it took 3 weeks of horrible crying (when I was advised it would take no longer than a week). I didn't want to hear this but deep down, I knew it was true. Going with the flow just does not equate with a boy like Turbo.

Another great bit of advice she gave us was to reduce his day time milk intake to help him eat more during the day and hopefully sleep better at night. We had already begum to reduce his night time milk and had successfully halved his night feed. But I was giving him as much milk as he wanted during the day. He loves it and it's good for him so why not? But reducing it worked like a charm! I now only give Turbo one bottle in 24 hours instead of three or four. And he eats a whole lot more. In hindsight, I feel kind of silly for not realising this myself...I mean, duh, of course milk fills your tummy up. Anyway.

While in the appointment, Dr A also checked his ears, which were red once again. Poor thing. So she refered him to an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) which is also free of charge. But wait there's more! Dr. A asked me if anything else about Turbo was challenging and I mentioned he was particularly strong and full on. So she refered me to a child psychologist! At the time I didn't quite know why, but I said yes to everything that was offered to me.

To top it all off, Dr. A threw in one free and one minimal cost parenting course that hubby and I can take if we chose to, which she highly recommended we do.

So I embarked on the sleep training with much trepidation. I decided to do it while hubby was away and I was staying at my mom's house because it's much quieter and Turbo sleeps in a room downstairs...so I didn't have to listen to him crying right next door to me. Aren't baby monitors great? They have volume buttons that can be turned down : )

Note: please sit down if you are not already sitting as this news may stun you

Turbo responded within a few days! And apart from last night, has slept like a dream ever since. We're talking 11 to 12 hours a night with a few whines and niggles in the early hours of the morning. The only thing I can put it down to is that this time, HE is ready. Not us. HIM. He's decided he'd quite like to sleep all night and so he is. Celebrate good times, come on! hmm hmmm

In saying this, I am ever more aware that the journey with Turbo's sleeping is not over. We have to remain consistent no matter what. I think in the past this has been our downfall. We've thought he was 'fixed'. We now realise his sleeping can easily be undone by any number of things (summer heat, teething, sickness etc.) and that consistently is key. No more quick fixes or giving in.

So I guess the Sleep Chronicles will continue. But hopefully with a lot less drama.

1 comment:

Gail said...

Yay! I'm glad you've had some great full nights of sleep recently - and some good advice!

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