$10 off coupon with referral link at the end of this review.
I purchased this product on my own and am reviewing this product not because I was asked to, but because I am so excited about how this product changed my life and my son’s life that I wanted to share this.
Crying. From the first moments of healthy breathing, our newest little man has cried. A lot. And loud. At the hospital, he would scream as soon as I put him down. He’d scream when he realized a nurse had him and not me. He nursed and stayed latched for about 48 hours straight if not longer. My milk came in on day 3 so I assumed Del just cluster fed to get my milk in faster and it worked. But the screaming continued. I say screaming because he never just cried or whimpered. He goes from content to angry in a hot half a second. And you know when he wants something. (I have a feeling we’ll all know where we stand with him all too soon, too.)
For the first month of his life, I sat upright on the couch, pillows all around me and MyBrestfriend attached to me nearly 24/7. Del wanted to nurse often. Every moment of every day Del wanted to be physically attached to me. I assumed this was good because my milk came in early, he’s a boy, boys need tons of food, boys need tons of emotional support from the beginning. I cried. At a month of no sleep and trying to heal my postpartum body, my whole being just melted. I cried out and a dear friend brought me a Rock N Play sleeper. It was the very first night I laid down to sleep since Del was born.
Fast forward to when he was too big for the Rock n Play sleeper… He started sleeping in his bed. We started out okay. Then the nights got worse and worse. At the end of July/beginning of August, Del began not sleeping at all. I was getting maybe 3-4 hours max of total hours of sleep. He wanted in my arms again. He wanted to nurse again. He knew when someone else was holding him and he also knew when I wasn’t near.
We started co-sleeping. Co-sleeping isn’t comfortable to me. I would be lightly asleep and feel him move and I’d wake right up afraid I’d roll onto him. Something had to give.
Mind you in August I was writing and teaching bible study. It was a lot of research, a lot of writing, a lot of reading, a lot of praying– doing that with no sleep broke me. At one point my eyes were in a permanent state of red. The stress showed in my eyes. I was emotional and irritable.
I began Googling because what else does one do in the wee hours of the night? Google is always there. I started searching words like “my baby won’t sleep” and “how to get my 4-month-old to sleep” etc. I started coming across this term “high needs baby.” That description was my baby exactly.
A high needs baby is one that is:
Can’t put baby down
Not a self-soother
My baby to a T. Everything he does is done with intensity. He’s easily excited and entertained. He wants to nurse as much as he can. He has demands and wants them met 2 minutes before he demanded it. He is awake a lot. Does not get a lot of deep, peaceful sleep. He’s unsatisfied easily. Gets bored with things quickly. Sometimes I think he’ll be getting a routine down and then he switches it up. He’s sensitive–emotionally, physically, to stimuli, and even to touch. He does not want to be put down and left alone at all. When he awakes from sleep it’s an instant scream-fest because he doesn’t know how to calm himself down. When it is time to pick up his sister and brother from school he gets so excited to see them that he just coos and talks and giggles the whole car ride home. Daddy walks through the door and he’s all excited and attentive to his daddy.
I am not one to typically reach out to people for suggestions or help with parenting but I did. I reached out to a fellow mama I met through MOPS that has two sensory kids. She prayed over me, we talked through some things to try. I had a family member inbox me some ideas including the Dock A Tot because she saw I really wasn’t sleeping either and felt bad. I emailed our pediatrician and she called me within the hour. She and I talked through some things. Crying it out wasn’t working. Putting him down when he was tired wasn’t working. People started having pity on me. Who was I becoming that people would pity me?
This is my baby. Because he’s this way and we don’t get much sleep I was desperate. Google to the rescue again. I found a page discussing products for high needs babies. I came across this Dock A Tot thing. While it looks like a glorified dog bed and seems crazy expensive, I was intrigued. I followed them on Instagram for probably three weeks. Kept doing research on this product. All I found were rave reviews.
I mentioned it to my husband and after seeing how terrible I was sleeping he said go for it. So I bought the Dock A Tot. It couldn’t get here fast enough. I was already prepared to know the days of waiting on the shipment to arrive because they have this handy map that shows the typical shipping days. Unfortunately I purchased on a Thursday and lived in the 2 day range. UPS doesn’t deliver on Saturdays, just so you all know.
Monday rolled around and I ran like a school child to the porch when I saw our UPS lady driving away. This pretty black box that possibly held my future sleep in it’s cardboard gloriousness.
I didn’t take a picture of it after I opened it, because, well, I was too excited to get it situated and ready for use that night.
This skeptical look is the look that was on his face much of his first four months of life. I had just laid him down to check it out. That night, though, the boy slept. He slept for the first four hours straight we’d had in months. It was so awesome. I felt like a new woman!
Then the next morning I brought the Dock out to the living room. Normally I wasn’t able to go to the bathroom without screaming, but I just laid him in the Dock and went. I came back to this:
He freaking (sorry if that offends you) fell asleep on his own! WHAHHHAAAAAAAT? Yes he did. I took a pic because this is the first time he had ever fallen asleep without me holding him. EVER. I went to the garage where my husband was working on some things and I danced the whole way to the garage and the whole way back.
After he awoke from his nap, he was all smiles. We went from the permanent scowl/skeptical face to genuine smiles.
Del and I co-slept with this thing for the first few nights. Then we transitioned him into his own bed. It fits perfectly in there. We recently traveled out of town to my parent’s house and brought the Dock. It was easy to take with us and the familiar feelings helped Del sleep comfortably.
We are not one of the “miracle” families that experienced 6-8 hours of sleep immediately. In fact we still aren’t at 6-8 hours in a row yet. But that comes with a high needs baby. We may not sleep through the night for awhile yet. The best part of this is I have my sanity back. I’m getting sleep. Del is getting sleep. We are happier for it and learning to transition our life around his personality.
Have you heard of the Dock A Tot? If you’d like to try it and think it might be for you, you can use my referral link and get $10 off your purchase of one.