Many parents can relate to those sleep-deprived days and dark nights after your baby is born before they finally start sleeping through the night. But for Skye Tokhi, this "phase" turned into a three-year reality thanks to her fussy baby girl.
When Amaya didn't start sleeping through the night, Skye tried to wait it out at first. Unfortunately, this Melbourne mom was consistently kept up without any signs of progress. Amaya regularly woke her parents up multiple times a night, every night, and her bursts of tears and energy could last for up to four hours each time. "No matter what we tried to do ourselves — we read books, we sought advice from family and friends, it was to no avail," she told Daily Mail Australia.
Despite being pretty exhausted during this period, Skye and her husband had another baby, even though their toddler wasn't getting any closer to sleeping for long periods of time. "We decided to go on to baby number two, and it was a running joke through my pregnancy that this one was going to be our sleeper, the one that would bless us with a full night's sleep one day," she said. "We named her Iyla and it means moonlight — we even tried to choose a name to help us, that's how desperate we were!"
However, Skye's youngest followed in her sister's footsteps and also wasn't a fan of bedtime. At this point, Skye was functioning each day after only one to two hours of sleep per night. "You develop an anxiety around falling asleep because you anticipate that child waking again, over and over, and it seems easier just not to go to sleep," she said. "I was walking around in a fog every day, trying to just put one foot in front of the other and look after my children."
Skye finally hit her breaking point and enrolled herself and Iyla into a four-night sleep observation program at Mitcham Private Hospital. This "sleep school" was a major success for both mom and baby. Along with other families who were participating, Skye went through the program, which focused on the science of settling in children and self-care for moms. It also created a support network of moms for Skye along with access to a psychologist.
"Iyla is now sleeping up to 11 hours straight at nighttime," Skye said. "It's heaven, it really is — I actually can't wipe the smile off my face."
Although Amaya is still working to change her sleeping patterns, Skye couldn't be more pleased with the success and urges others in the same situation to ask for help as soon as they need it. "Mothers should know they're not alone. There are a lot of us dealing with sleep deprivation and the torture of sleep deprivation," she said. "It can have a real effect on you as a mum, physically, emotionally, and in your relationship."