December 2017, around 2 months after having Ava, Christmas Day actually. I recall coming down the stairs at my sister-in-law’s house feeling beyond exhausted and thinking to myself, is this what years of motherhood will be like? Fortunately, Judy who was also staying over, looked at me that morning and said to me “Tia, I’ve got a present for you. We’re going to start teaching Ava today!” All I could think at that time was do I really look that tired… but deep down I’d never been so elated to finally get started.
Bearing in mind Ava was really premature, starting that soon meant we would need to be patient with her before she could get through the night by herself. As Ava by this point was only 2 weeks corrective Judy set me up on a special 1 month programme monitoring Ava’s feeds and weight at every stage. I stuck by the programme and lo and behold by February, Ava had her first night with no wakes. I could finally start getting time to myself in the evenings.
Now that I had a structure / routine in place, this made getting other things done very manageable. I could prep her food during nap times, get the house work done and even plan days out with her, knowing that she would still get all the rest that she needed. I mean, even for my mum who’s very traditional in her ways and was at first quite sceptical about what I was doing, certainly had a different viewpoint when Ava would stay round for sleepovers. Baby-sitting has not been an issue ever since!
A year on, I’d finished my maternity and was worried about having to be separated from Ava for long periods. I work in children services and come to face with situations where babies and children are not afforded the benefit of a safe environment. This only made me appreciate more what I had, and the want to give Ava the love and care she needs. Getting back home and doing her bed time routine worked great to solidify that bond.
Now feeling blessed to be a mother to two, I must admit that it was a very different experience with my son Eli. Having him during the midst of the pandemic was difficult as I couldn’t get all the help I had the first time round. I knew how important it was to get into a routine as soon as possible and asked Judy to help me get started when Eli was ready. In the meantime, I would slowly implement some of the fundamentals from Judy’s programme, that would enable him to pick up the habits with ease.
I’m at a point now where I have so much of a better understanding on child sleep, coupled together with what I have learnt on building good habits, behaviourism and child development, whilst acquiring my psychology degree. I would certainly consider it my purpose to use this knowledge in helping families all get their well deserved sleep.