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High needs baby – you helped us hang in there

I really want to thank you for all the support your books have given me over the last 13 months. 100 ways to calm the crying and Parenting by Heart were a welcome change to all the negative things I was hearing from ECN’s, GP’s, and good intentioned friends when my son was born. You encouraged me to tune them out and listen to my own instinct, which can be a really hard thing to do when you’re so tired, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. The majority of my mothers group thought I was an idiot for not wanting to settle my son by patting him in the cot as a newborn. I was soft for not doing it, despite the fact that it just made him cry harder. I knew in my heart it wasn’t for us, but sometimes you do question yourself. We had a period of sleeping through, but it stopped with spectacular style.. waking up to 8 times overnight and the only thing that would resettle was a breastfeed. So I did. And we co-slept because it was easier, and we all got sleep. Plus, who can resist all those snuggles in the morning?

Then it got to the point where rocking and feeding to sleep stopped working. Rowan resisted, it was taking so long, it turned into something I resented, so I set out to change it. I used your ideas, but also read Pantley’s NCSS. Over months, we saw improvement gradually. I have been able to get him from feeding and rocking to sleep to self settling in his cot. There is none of this so called “protest cry” at all, he’s happy to be there and drifts off on his own. During this time we also discovered he had an egg and dairy allergy that he was ingesting via my breastmilk. Imagine if I’d left him to cry when he was genuinely hurting from tummy pains or itching! I’d be lying if I said he didn’t cry, but he never cried alone. It makes me so proud that I have made bedtime such a comfortable thing for him, and haven’t made him feel afraid.

I’m writing because there have been many points along the way where I’ve felt so frustrated because it was a case of “two steps forward, one step back”, but you made it easier to keep going and believe I was doing the right thing, so thank you.

Claire Hookham