Recently I have been asked about the concept of developing a programme for postnatal parents to help them with their babies and get them into a routine and better sleeping patterns. I will never do this because I often see the damage that these programmes can do to families.
Programmes are great and can have many great advantages for the families that they help. Unfortunately like most things in life there is not a one size fits all programme that will work for everyone. Everybody and every baby are individuals with individual needs, as is every family. How then is it possible and okay to sell plans to families in need claiming to help when they cannot possibly know what you as a family need.
I have worked with many families and I can honestly say that I have used a varied plan for each one. I am lucky enough to have developed my skills over years of training and working with families. I am continuously learning, and I still look critically at my own family dynamics and routine. I try to put my professional hat on and see what can make life run more smoothly. I adjust the way we do things when needed and generally find that life gets easier. Sometimes it’s hard to see the wood through the trees, which is where my fresh perspective and experience help.
If you buy a generic plan and it doesn’t work, how do you think it would make you feel? Annoyed, angry about the waste of money and the false claims? Yes, very possibly but what if you are a family that’s in desperate need. Perhaps you have been struggling with months of sleepless nights. For these families they can feel like failures and feel even more insecure about their ability to parent. They may think that there is something wrong with them or their baby. It can even push people down that path of postnatal depression. This is the last thing I want anyone to have to go through. I want to be able to offer support and a sounding board, often talking a problem through helps. I work out a plan that suits your family’s needs and I take things slowly. There is no point changing everything at once because then you are unaware of what worked or didn’t and it can be traumatic for everyone concerned and cause anxiety. I work with you as you know your baby better than anyone and I’m just there to guide and aid. I also understand that I don’t know everything and am happy to recommend other services that I work alongside to ensure that you have the best care possible.
The other aspect I have seen is that parents follow a plan and forget to listen to their baby and their instincts. I have unfortunately seen first-hand babies being brought into various clinics with problems feeding or not gaining weight and sometimes this is connected to the babies being put onto a plan at too young an age. The first six weeks is a time of learning and adjusting to your baby. Feeding when they need to be fed not encouraged to sleep longer. The aim is for 8 – 12 feeds per 24 hours when newborn. They have very small stomachs so cannot take in huge amounts and need to feed regularly. They have also come from a warm cosy environment where all their needs were met instantly, into a much colder harsher and scarier environment for them.
The last thing I would like to mention is that when a baby is in the womb it tends to be rocked all day as the mother goes about her daily routine and then when the mother goes to sleep at night baby wakes up and has a party. When a baby is born it’s of no real surprise that they think night time is party time. It’s going to take a while for them to adjust.
I am not criticising anyone for buying a plan, please don’t get me wrong and as I’ve said they do work brilliantly for some people and make you feel more in control and boost your confidence. I’m just saying be cautious and aware.
The more we relax and enjoy the ride the easier it will become. If you need help or just another person’s opinion, feel free to get in touch. You may be one of the lucky ones and a generic plan works, but how disappointed will you be if it doesn’t. Follow your parental instincts, it can get you far.
This is a testimonial from one of my clients,
“Jo has been amazing for us. We have used many sleep consultants and got nowhere – often left feeling as if we had failed because the advice did not fit with our family or baby. Jo has arrived with a holistic view and complete understanding of the complexity of sleep deprivation on general life and wellbeing. Jo has always followed us up, kept in contact and provided an expert ear for all issues.”