A friend of mine gave me a copy of Dr Brian Symon’s book when I was pregnant with my first child. I read it from cover to cover, and it all made so much sense! I had seen friends struggling with years of sleepless nights and lack of routine with their babies, and had noticed the affect this kind of exhaustion had on the babies and their mums. So I wanted to give my baby the best possible start.
The first four weeks were easy enough, but as my baby became more alert he seemed to struggle against sleep – which led to over-tiredness, lots more crying and a very stressed mummy! I would hold him, rock him, feed him…he would drift off, then startle awake and the cycle would start again. I‘d pop him in the cot and after 40 minutes he would be awake and crying again. Nothing I tried would work, and I blamed myself every step of the way.
Our first visit with Brian (when our bub was 6 weeks old) was a breakthrough. He focused first of all on checking the baby’s health – size, weight, development. We shared our worries and we talked a lot about feeding. Brian supported my choice to breastfeed, and gave me confidence that my bub was chubby, healthy and doing well. Then he walked us through his philosophies, explained the reasoning and answered a million first-time-mum questions!
I think the most important tools he shared with me were how to ‘read’ my baby, to know the signs of when he needed to eat, sleep or be cuddled, and how to respond gently and confidently. I had been scared that the ‘rules’ would be to walk out, close doors and not go back, but it was the opposite. There was plenty of opportunity for reassurance, touching and supporting my baby to sleep when he needed to sleep. There were options of when and how to support our baby, and lots of focus on what we, as parents, felt was right for us too.
Armed with the knowledge that our bub was healthy and we were doing everything right, we embarked on Brian’s teachings with confidence. That night after bath and dinner, we wrapped and popped our sleepy bub down for bed at 6pm, then waited for the usual onslaught of crying (both baby and me!) as we trudged back-and-forth to his bassinette for the next two hours. But it never came. After just a few minutes of crying he was off to sleep… and we had to wake him again at 10pm for another feed! It felt like a miracle, and we have never looked back.
Brian’s approach focuses on both mum and baby. At every appointment he asked about my wellbeing, my feelings, my stress levels. As a new mum it’s easy to feel ‘swallowed up’ by mother hood and baby, so it was always a bit of a shock to be asked about myself! When I was starting to feel seriously lost and overwhelmed after a few months, I emailed Brian, who responded within hours from an overseas holiday, and had me in at his clinic the following day for support and assistance.
Five years, two businesses and two babies later, our family is thriving, happy, healthy and enjoys LOTS of sleep! With Bria n’s ongoing support and the confidence that they are thriving and healthy, we have transitioned through each of our babies’ ages and stages without a hitch. Brian has a technique or suggestion for every situation that pops up, and his decades of experience means he’s seen almost every situation before. He asks about the wellbeing of our entire family on every visit and his calm approach and gentle manner means he’s popular with the boys too. It’s great to feel as though our entire family really matters. We are lucky to have support like this.
Our family, friends and the boys’ carers at kindy and child care always comment on our happy, bubbly babies who rarely cry at all. Both boys sleep from 6.30pm to 7am every night, and I could count on one hand, the number of interrupted nights we’ve had in the past 6 months (all due to illness).
Bedtime at our place is stress-free and positive – and the boys enjoy going to bed! This means they face each day feeling confident, happy and well rested. They love to cuddle, are full of love and their confidence radiates.