I've been pretty vocal about Ethan's sleep issues. He's just never been a very good sleeper. It's more than just an inconvenience or the fact that neither my husband nor I really like to exist solely in a stage of sheer exhaustion, it's the fact that sleep is important. It's important for growth and development and health reasons and that's always been my biggest worry with Ethan. We've had sleep machines and noise machines and lullabies (and the list goes on) in his bedroom from the start. This is probably a really gross analogy, but I used to work at an animal hospital and whenever the lobby smelled terrible, someone would spray some fruity spray in the air. It didn't mask the scent -- it just smelled gross and like artificial fruit. That's sort of how I felt about the array of sound machines we've had circle Ethan's room: they just sort of make noise without sort of covering anything or filling the room. We just sort of began accepting that at two and a half, Ethan was going to keep waking up three times a night and refusing to sleep past five in the morning no matter what time he (finally) went to bed and the sound of fake thunder and ocean waves rolling from his bedroom were as good as it gets. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be able to attend The Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower Miami and got my chance to speak to the amazing folks at Marpac. They were one of the top vendors I was just dying to talk to -- mostly out of exhausted desperation because, dude, exhaustion feels way worse when you're pregnant. I was so excited when they offered to let me try out a Dohmie!
What the heck is a Dohmie? The Dohmie is the baby version of the Dohm -- the official sleep conditioner for the National Sleep Society. The Dohm (and Dohmie!) helps baby to sleep -- and stay asleep. Just listening to the pride and confidence the Marpac folks had talking about the Dohmie, I was so excited to use it.
Going back to my gross animal hospital analogy from earlier, the noise from the Dohmie actually fills the air and drowns out outside noise -- it doesn't just try to shout over it. Ethan's bedroom is facing the street and this has always been a problem. Not the only problem with his sleep, but a big one -- especially when it's 6 a.m. and a schoolbus is going through the neighborhood or it's ten p.m. and my neighbors are locking their car doors. The Dohmie successfully drowns out every last bit of outside noise which has really helped with Ethan's wake up time. He rarely is up before seven o'clock anymore and is sleeping through the recycling truck, the garbage truck, the kids going to school and anything else that happens outside of our window before the sun is fully up.
The other really cool thing about the Dohmie is that the sound is able to be customized. What that means is that in addition to a switch allowing you to set the sound at a low or high level, the top and center parts of the Dohmie are able to be twisted so you are in control of the level of sound, the tone and the pitch. I took a good week to experiment with the different pitches and levels of sound so it was the best fit for Ethan's room which is a decent size and has hard wood floors. I didn't want a booming unpleasant noise, but I didn't want it too quiet where it couldn't do it's job throughout the entire room. For us, the best fit was the top just a little open and the center part wide open.
After finding the best setting to fit Ethan's room, it's just been just under a month of having the Dohmie on every single night. My final verdict is that it really does make a huge difference. We were averaging several wake-ups per night, some as early at ten p.m., and it would take Ethan a while to be able to fall back to sleep. Most nights my poor husband was sleeping next to his bed on the wood floor just because the time it took Ethan to fall back asleep got to be that long. Of course, regardless, it would be five a.m. and Ethan would be up for the day. Since having the Dohmie, Ethan has slept through the night most nights. Here and there he will wake up once and ask us to lay him back down, but he's usually back out within minutes. Not to mention one wake-up in the middle of the night every couple of weeks is huge progress from several times per night! Every once in a while, he will still have a super early wake-up (I actually think he's only had one since the Dohmie's arrival) but I know there are other developmental factors involved: teething (those darn two year molars!), nightmares, etc. That said, the overall sleep patterns of this house have shifted in the best way possible.
I fully recommend a Dohmie (or a Dohm for you grown-ups with sleep woes!) to anyone looking for a serious sleep solution and we'll definitely be getting one for baby #2's bedroom to kick off good sleep habits early. For more information and to purchase your own Dohmie, visit Marpac online.