At the start of the year our boy/girl twins were coming up 16 months and sleep was an issue. Our boy has bronchiolitis and is regularly ill, so struggles to sleep or settle himself. Our girl is usually a good sleeper but had recently become clingy and was refusing to go down in her cot. I therefore dreaded bedtime and worried about how we would get them back to sleep if they woke in the night. We could not remember what a full night's sleep felt like but longed for it.
In the middle of a particularly bad bedtime, where we ended up putting both twins in the car to get them to sleep, I broke and text Karen. I confessed that I was fed up, that I felt like a failure and we needed help. Karen was brilliant, she immediately made me feel like there was light at the end of the tunnel and it wasn't a train. She came to the house to speak to me and my husband. We confessed to everything such as the trips out in the car and the milk in the middle of the night and Karen never once judged us. Looking back this meeting was really important and felt like a release. We both got to speak about what it felt like and discussed potential solutions, including what we thought wouldn't work. It meant we were both bought into the process, rather than one sorting it out and the other having it happen to them.
Karen went away and really thought about the needs of each child and our particular circumstances. She felt it would be best to take our girl first, as she was likely to be the easiest and then the confidence from this would give us the strength to tackle our boy. Karen sent us the first plan, talked us through it and with support at the end of the phone (including at night when it all felt hard) we gave it all we had. I am surprised to say our feisty little girl reacted really well and she really responded to the plan. We then took a couple of weeks to psych ourselves up to dealing with our little boy. Karen sent us a new plan, which was a bit different, and talked us through it again. Realistically it was always going to be harder, so we waited until we could commit to being at home together for a number of nights, as we knew it would take a lot of energy from both of us. The first night was really hard, but it gradually got easier and I am really proud of how well he is doing. Things are not yet perfect, but I feel more confident in dealing with him and as I now get more sleep, I find it easier to cope with everything.
Two months ago I couldn't face booking a family holiday because the sleeping situation was too much to bear thinking about. However, now things feel better, we have booked a few days away as a trial for a proper family holiday in the summer.
I am really grateful to Karen for her guidance and support through this process. The interesting thing is the logical part of my brain knew some of the things we were doing were not helping our situation and I had a fair idea of what we should be doing, but I just couldn't translate it into action. It was only by working with Karen and her breaking it down into steps, then providing support to encourage us, that we managed to make it work. I really would encourage anyone who wants to make a change and help their child sleep better to work with Karen as it really can transform your life.
Karen continues to be like a fairy godmother to us all - she is amazing with our twin boys, who in turn adore her - and she is always there to help and answer all my questions. Very highly recommended.
Karen is a true gem, with a warm, knowledgable and calm demeanour. Perfect for when one needs some assistance with little ones! My situation was a challenge even for the most experienced with children. Someone recommended Karen to me and what a wonderful soul, with practical advice and patience. Karen is very responsive and provides a lot of encouragement to boot. Together, we established what was bothering my little one and slowly got her back in to a routine and myself out the door again.
I would highly recommend Karen and her business for support and advice for parents and babies.
As first time parents you get lots of unhelpful advice, especially when you have a problem. Our problem was that we hadn't had a full night's sleep for 20 months and the cracks were really showing! Our daughter would need cuddling to sleep and would wake up every night, at least once, for around 2 whole hours. Lots of people told me to let our her cry herself to sleep but that felt wrong to me, it hurt me to even think about it so we carried on cuddling her to sleep and hoped one day she'd sleep through the night by herself. My husband has a demanding job and I am pregnant again and looking after an active toddler, we started to feel like we weren't fulfilling our roles properly, like exhaustion had become part of our personalities and we were totally different people. We were unhappy, stressed and parenting became harder and harder. The disturbed sleep must have been having the same effect on our daughter. Karen was recommended to me by two friends so I thought she must be worth a try! She took the time to get to know my daughter and I, how we worked and all about our history, she made me feel absolutely comfortable and totally respected and understood why I didn't want try any method that'd leave my little girl feeling insecure. She spent time with my girl too, I felt like Karen LIKED her and that gave me confidence that she would do her best to help us all in a kind and gentle way. She gave us a very comprehensive sleep plan specifically for us, it was very detailed and she went through it with me to make sure I understood and was comfortable with each step. My initial thought was "ha! Yeah right, she'll never sleep!" however my husband and I were absolutely determined and we started the plan with positivity. On the third night our little night owl slept straight through, then every night since (except when she's been poorly or teething). The only reason we were able to stick to a sleep plan is because we had the reassurance and support from Karen, we wouldn't have had a clue how to do it on our own and would have lost our resolve after the first night had it not been for the supportive texts and calls - she doesn't just give you a sleep plan and leave you to it, she recognises that it's a huge change for you as a parent too and gives you the strength and motivation to keep trying, as well as practical advice. It has been life changing, when you become a parent you understand why sleep deprivation is used as torture (I have previously Googled "can you die from exhaustion?") - but now life is just totally different! I have more patience, I give my little girl more fun on a daily basis, I can do maths in my head again and I no longer do stupid things like put my purse in the fridge and the cheese in my handbag. My husband doesn't fall asleep on trains anymore and has been far better company too! Don't hesitate asking Karen for help, it's truly awful being sleep deprived and it's so easy to remedy with the right help, which Karen most certainly is. I wish we'd found her sooner!
I went to Karen's course at The Kings Stag and heard about it through some friends. I can honestly say I think Karen is amazing and has helped me with any issues I have had with my daughter. At first she have me some great advice whilst Olivia went through the 4 month sleep regression phase and next I had issues with Olivia not wanting her milk so Karen advised that she may have silent reflux and to switch her milk to comfort milk and stretch her feeds to 4 hourly. It worked wonders. Her courses are fab and she knows all there is to know about babies!
I first met Karen during one of the Parents & Co baby group she holds in Bushey. In a few sessions she covered everything from weaning, teething to sleep training. She has been such a find and has provided me with endless advice and assistance. I've stayed in touch and even though my lo is now 2 she is still providing me so much support. She's such a lovely, patient and calm lady and I feel she really wants to help with what ever is troubling you. I feel calmer and more in control just speaking to her. I cannot recommend her enough for first time parents.
Karen has literally given me my life back. Her advice, support and in particular sleep-training is invaluable. I love how she was smart in how she approached me, seeing I was cautious but then allowed me to see what really needed to be done in order to get my 2 and 4 year old daughters to respond more positively to my parenting. I can't thank Karen enough. She is an absolute credit to have on this earth with her kindness and determination. The relationship I now have with my children is so much happier.
Thank you Karen for providing an invaluable insight into some hot topics surrounding the care of newborn babies. I particularly enjoyed baby sensory, I have noticed my little really enjoying playtime now, the stimulation has also promoted better sleep too.
It was a pleasure to take part on the course, I will be lost on Wednesday mornings now! I would highly recommend the course to new mums looking for some friendly advice/hoping to expand their mummy circle….
Karen has been such a great support, she is the expert in all things baby! She has so much knowledge to share and great tips that have made such a difference!! I can not recommend her enough, plus she is super personable and great to chat with!
Karen's always very punctual and reliable and I can't recommend her highly enough. She is very interactive with babies and has a genuine interest in their wellbeing.
We aim to be flexible and supportive in our approach, so please just ask. Karen@parentsandco.co.uk