Eithne Healy was referred to Tresillian when her daughter Lucille was about 16 months old and was prioritised for a residential stay at a centre when Lucille was 18 months.
“Lucille was a terrible sleeper and was quite happy to be awake all the time, I on the other hand was not! I would resort to rocking her to sleep and then putting her into her cot. She usually would wake 45 minutes after being put down to sleep and on a good night would be waking three to four times – 10 times at her worst.”
After seeking advice from the local baby clinic, and employing a sleep consultant at home, things did improve, but only marginally. Finally her GP referred the whole family to do a residential stay at Tresillian for several nights.
The family found that the residential stay was a positive experience with staff who guided them through maintaining a routine, which resulted in a quick improvement in Lucille’s sleeping habits. Eithne also says it was good to speak to other parents who were having problems at home, and in some cases relieved that their problem wasn’t as bad as some other families’. “It was hard to hear other mothers crying, as they struggled to respond to their children’s difficult behaviour.”
Eithne says she would definitely recommend using a centre like Tresillian. “It was much better than I expected and they never let her cry for more than a minute before I could reassure her. When Lucille woke up at night, I felt confident to follow the nurses’ lead on how to reassure her, but give a firm but caring response, which sent the message that it was sleep time and she was OK.”
A dad’s perspective
Lucille’s father Dayne Steggles says he found the Tresillian experience a lifesaver for the whole family. “While Eithne was the primary respondent to Luci’s never-ending waking, it still was very disruptive during the night and I often took up the slack during normal waking hours outside of work hours. I also felt a little helpless as the sleep deprivation took its effect on Eithne.
“To put it in perspective, we’ve never had another night of disrupted sleep from Luci, except when she has been sick. It’s like Luci was just waiting for the right kind of direction and support from us so as to learn how to go to sleep soundly, alone and with total confidence.”
A work in progress
When Jo Levy's baby girl Noa wasn't sleeping for more than 20 minutes at a time, she didn't hesitate to seek help. “I was going downhill fast. I wasn't functioning or coping at all.”
Jo contacted her local baby health care nurse for help, and was referred to Tresillian. Jo says she was unsure about going to the centre as she'd heard some negative things about the place and didn't want to put her baby under stress. “I was concerned that they would leave her to cry it out, but the nurse reassured me that their approach was very gentle.”
She says that her day stay at the centre was a positive one. “It was much better than I thought it would be. You do need to have a good relationship with the nurse you work with – and in the residential they are very supportive.”
Jo says it took a couple of attempts to get Noa to sleep on her own.
Noa is now 10 months old Jo says that while the techniques she learned at the centre have worked well for day sleeps, nights are still tricky. “At times I’ve been tempted to try other things but I think this is a good routine and worth sticking to.”