What is it?
My service is called sleep coaching because I think it’s as much about setting the right expectations to parents as well as about the baby. We can’t expect to know everything or get it correct straight away when we have had a baby. I have had many years training and I’m still constantly reading, studying and learning more as society and science discover and change to fit our modern world. I help educate parents and give them some tools as well as try and unravel why their baby may not be sleeping and sometimes it may just be a developmental stage they are working through, so all we can really do is support them.
Why would you need it / want it?
It is incredibly difficult at times (sometimes all the time) when you have a baby that doesn’t sleep. It can affect how we feel both emotionally and physically. I absolutely understand why sleep consultants can have a bad reputation with medical fields and Plunket nurses etc. The reason being that a lot put every baby in the same box and don’t look at the individual needs of the baby or the family.
I was asked whether I thought a baby should sleep through the night, and I put the question back on the Mum and said what do you think? If you are comfortable with your baby waking in the night, then it is completely fine. Every baby/child will eventually sleep for longer and longer periods of time. Some babies and adults are lighter sleepers than others and some people need more sleep than others. Let’s not try and put people into a mould that society thinks is right. Do what you feel is right for you and your family.
You cannot make a baby sleep and you cannot make a baby eat - Fact.
Social media puts a lot of pressure on us and what we think our baby should be doing, but I believe it should be about how you feel and what you want. If you are okay feeding your baby as and when they need during the night, then that’s brilliant and I would encourage you to continue to do so. Your baby will eventually sleep for longer when they are ready. However, for some people this doesn’t feel possible. Perhaps they are someone who really needs their sleep, or they have returned to work and are struggling to function, or they have multiple children and are struggling with staying a relaxed parent through lack of sleep. Whatever their reasoning, that’s okay and I can hopefully help you! I dislike the fact that parents can feel ashamed for getting help for sleep or for feeding. I do not judge.
All sleep specialists have their different approaches and methods. Please check their credentials and do your research. Ask if they follow a prescriptive approach (this means they send everyone out the same plan depending on the baby’s age), if they use the cry it out method, if they support breastfeeding, etc. Go for what you think sounds the best approach for you and your situation.
My approach is very much about looking at the full picture. This means background, personal family set up, any challenges recently (other than sleep). Sometimes this takes a couple of weeks to unravel as you need to trust me and feel safe to tell me things that sometimes can be difficult to say out loud. It’s important that I understand as much as I can about what’s happened and what is happening so that I can help you in the best way I can. Sleep can be tangled up in things such as whether you have suffered postnatal depression for example and although I’m not a specialist in this particular area I have some wonderful people/services I can refer you to, if we decide together that that would be beneficial for you. I like to build up a relationship with my clients so that they feel comfortable and are able to talk to me so that we can slowly unravel what could be some of the underlying problems as to why your baby isn’t sleeping.
Together we come up with a plan of how we are going to approach things and what is going to work for your family. I explain a bit about what common occurrences in babies of a similar age are, while stressing that we are all individuals. After we’ve had our chat, I email you the main points of our conversation and our plan for the week. I will then check in with you to see how progress is going and we will tweak things as we go.
Progress can be, and often is slow, but sometimes on the first night we have a breakthrough and we have success! Those nights I do a happy dance! For many others it may take a couple of nights, to a week or two weeks to finally see some improvements. I wish I could give all families a magic wand to improve their babies sleeping overnight, but it just doesn’t work like that. You can’t make a baby eat, nor can you make a baby sleep!
In conclusion if you are struggling with sleep it is completely okay to ask for help and to reach out. I not only offer sleep coaching, which is tailor made to your circumstances, but I also offer a group Sussing Sleep course. This is because I think parents want to learn and know what to expect and how to help their baby sleep in a calm and relaxed atmosphere before deciding if a personalised consultancy is what they need. This is great for if or when challenges do crop up in the future because if the truth be told there are not many babies/children who sleep through every night from 12 weeks!
Babies sleep changes as they grow and develop. There are things we can do to help, but love and care for your baby and things will get better. Good luck!
For more information on the Sussing Sleep course and the next dates check out https://www.blissfulbubs.co.nz/book-online/sussing-sleep-1