You have a choice.
Health care professionals often advise controlled crying techniques for sleepless infants because they have little knowledge of – or training – in the holistic, gentler or more nurturing techniques. I prefer to support parents in understanding your baby’s behaviour, and provide you with the tools, that nurture and support your baby or child through change rather than leaving them to cry alone. Traditional Sleep Training is a challenge and hard for both parent’s and child. Many mum’s contact me with a fear that they will have to go through trauma themselves and create trauma for their baby or toddler when they decide to choose to sleep train. This is well emotional well being steps in. A simple acknowledgement and respect that in regards to sleep, a step by step approach which is nurturing and holistic, and implements approaches, strategies and techniques will encourage your baby or child to sleep well.
So if you sort emotional well being first, sleep will gently follow. Sleep Challenges provide the perfect opportunity for family’s to maintain and strengthen a strong, secure, and healthy emotional bond between you and your child- and get some SLEEP!
YOU guessed it-MY BABY WAS NOT A ONE SIZE FITS ALL APPROACH!
Welcome to Groovy Babies and a new approach to baby and toddler sleep consultancy in Australia! (oh and I LOVE BABIES- guaranteed that I WILL be in tune with your family’s needs)
Well actually my title is Diploma in CERTIFIED Maternity and Child Sleep and Settling Consultancy (mouthful I know but covers it all)..uh so what does that mean exactly you might ask…
By definition: A Certified Sleep Consultant is a professional that is trained and educated in specialized (yes specialized) sleep education, that works with families from antenatal-postnatal, babies and children to age 5. A certified sleep consultant is up to date with current evidenced based practice and research. A certified sleep consultant is educated to provide parents with skills, knowledge and support in empowering them to guide their children to develop healthy sleep patterns, that are age and developmentally appropriate. To be objective and promote informed decision making. Families that require help are often in an emotional and vulnerable state from sleep deprivation. An empathetic, patient and respectful nature is required. Education is lacking and families are crying out for such professionals, with appropriate qualifications and accreditation.
A Certified Sleep Consultant is bound by codes of ethics, and knows boundaries of practice: “when in doubt refer out”. They do not diagnose, treat, examine or medically advise clients, or replace advice of the family’s medical practitioner and pediatrician. In fact we work along side by side. Client confidentiality is also part of boundaries of practice. Any client has the right to have their privacy protected and avoid any disclosure of information into a public domain.
So my description is as complicated as baby sleep or the science of sleep- so if you are confused about why your baby or toddler is having issues with sleep you are not alone!
Did you know there are at LEAST 26 types of sleep experts…what 26?…I thought there was just 2..cry it out or controlled crying or versions of those…till NOW!!
So what are the most commonly known sleep approaches and methods?
-some are baby led or parent led. All wish to help families get some sleep, and work on encouraging a healthy sleep pattern.
-some are scientific/research based and some personal experience based.
-some are seen as “gentle” sleep approaches.
-involve routines and timed schedules.
-cry/or no-cry or combination.
-age appropriate or not.
-short term solution/long term solution.
-all have some method/guidelines to follow.
What are the similarities and differences amongst the variety of sleep approaches and methods?
All aim to help families.
All aim to educate parent’s on what their baby needs to go to sleep or return to sleep upon waking.
All aim to educate parents on sleep patterns.
Gentle sleep approach combines no-cry and periods of crying to teach gentle independence.
No cry methods believe that leaving a baby to cry creates a negative sleep association which maybe detrimental to the child’s emotional health. Crying is acknowledged as the baby’s primary way of communication. The methods work to combine many tools (nursing, rocking, co-sleeping, responding to crying, altering feeding/sleeping patterns) to improve sleep patterns.
Extinction believes that by allowing a child to cry indefinitely at bedtime and up to 1 hour at nap time, the child learns quickly to fall asleep and return to sleep unassisted. Argues that the consequences of poor sleep habits and inadequate sleep far out way the short term emotional health the child experiences whilst undergoing this type of method.
Controlled Crying or Ferberization: parents respond in increments of time to child’s cries, in limited duration.
Parent led approach: parents set the daily agenda or specific time table of sleep, feeding and playing.
Baby led approach: feed, play sleep is parent’s following the baby’s cues of natural schedule.
So here are some guidelines that I suggest a family considers in regards to using a Certified Sleep Consultant:
-check have they actually have a qualification in the science of sleep.
-what sleep approach is best suited for you and your child and family?
– write down what methods you know, read and have tried.
-write down what you know works for their baby.
-write down what you know does not work for their baby.
– take into consideration age of your baby.
-take into consideration if you are breastfeeding or bottling feeding.
– write down if you wish for a parent led approach or baby led approach- be honest.
– write down if you feel more comfortable with a no-cry, cry or combination of both method.
– AND CALL ME, I guarantee I will bring back a peaceful night’s sleep to your home.
Transitioning between sleep environment’s for you and your child.
Our baby’s sleep in many different environments around the world, and all mum’s with newborns soon find out that whether bed sharing (sleeping in the family bed), is the right thing for them and their family. It can be a permanent, conscious decision from the outset of birth, or a do what you need to do situation to get sleep.
But what happens when this is not working for you or your baby anymore- what is the easiest way to transition from the family bed?
Firstly I suggest work out your why? Make sure you are choosing to move bub out because it is not working for either of you. Not because someone said so, make sure you want this and are ready for it to be a permanent change, and that you feel great about your decision- not guilty on any level.
Secondly work out your where? Where is bub going? To a bassinette, cot, mattress/bed in your room or own room. Is the transition going to be easier on your feeding pattern. Make sure you are not going to resent you or your partner having to get up walk up 2 flights of stairs in the middle of the night- 3 times. Work out if your baby monitor causes you more anxiety than having your bub in closer proximity. For the older toddler transitioning to a “big” bed, safety is the number one priority, then creating a cosy sleep environment the next. This often begins with a mattress on the floor (or on your floor) with the original cot still in the same room. Start with role play, give examples to your child about what is going to happen and what new and exciting changes are about to occur for him/her. This can include anything from new exciting sheet sets, clocks, pillow pets, books etc.
Thirdly work out your when? Depending on the age of your bub, will depend whether you do night sleeps, day sleeps in your baby’s new environment. I always say start with your child’s best sleep time. Never make a change around sleep environment around any other large changes in your household, make them 4-6 weeks before any major event. Most common example is baby number 2 coming. The more you mention the transition, the more your child will have time to process, think, and become aware that bedtime is going to change soon. Consider starting these conversations and reminders at least three to five days before you plan to begin the transition.
Fourth, work out your bub’s personality. Is bub sensitive to any change, or easy going. A change in sleeping environment will take any child some time to adjust, no matter how chilled your bub is. Be prepared for a 2 week transition and have support in process as you make these changes.
Fifth– make a list of every step you take to help sooth your child till relaxed enough to full asleep peacefully. Then replicate it in the new environment. Know that a child that feels nurtured, safe and calm at bedtime will show little resistance to settle. Are you feeding to sleep? Do you need to introduce a comforter, or is it time for bub to move from swaddling to a sleeping bag. Is your bub on the appropriate wake/ sleep pattern for age and development? What sleep comfort’s is your child used to and will they still work in the new environment. If you think a particular settling method maybe required then research which one will suit your parenting style (there are at least 26 types), or consult with a certified sleep expert for a individual consultation- like me!
Before I was a Mum
I never looked into teary eyes and cried
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.
Before I was a Mum
I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn’t want to put her down
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn’t stop the hurt
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much
I never knew that I could love someone so much
I never knew I would love being a Mum.
Before I was a Mum
I didn’t know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn’t know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby
I didn’t know that bond
between a mother and her child
I didn’t know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.
Before I was a Mum
I had never got up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay
I had never known the warmth,
or the satisfaction of being a Mum
I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mum
I remember when our first born was about 4 weeks old and my hubby wanted to have the experience of feeding her. She was a little gobbler- but had the tiniest mouth, cherry shaped- ala mini Angelina Jolie! I had been a midwife for over a decade then so was used to several types of bottle types (avent, tomee tippee, natures first, pidgeon, and medulla systems), so had a little of understanding about flows, suction, colic reducing techniques etc)- couldn’t be that hard huh?
So at 5 weeks of age after 1 week of traipsing around baby bunting I had selected my bottle system, had my electric sterilizer ( gift at birth), and my hand expressing machine! All set- pumped away, proudly got 50mls (hell would that be enough?) and put it in the bottle all ready for the next feed for hubby- and guess what all hell broke loose. It was on- it took 5 weeks…5 weeks before my child finally took a bottle!
So here are my tips for introducing a bottle 101:
– Make sure your bub is showing hunger cues- you want to make sure you are feeding at the right time and that your baby is hungry.
-stroke around the bubs mouth to elicit the rooting reflex- bub will open mouth wide.
-Put a little of your breast milk on the tip of the teat
-offer it a little earlier than your normal feed time so bub is hungry but not starving and likely to crack it and refuse out right!
– get hubby or someone else that the baby knows to give him/ her the bottle- less likely to cause immediate confusion as to why she is not getting the breast.
-Position, position, position- the bottle feeding position on a bub is more upright, so support around the back of the neck (head in the crock of your elbow) until bub is comfortable sucking and swallowing is important.
– test the temp of your milk- I just shook a little onto my forearm or wrist- now it will be body temperature if it is just come from you..
-bib on- highly likely with the first time bub might spit up.
– put bottle in baby’s mouth- making sure that the milk always covers the inside of the teat to prevent bub sucking air.
TOP TIP- look at Mimijumi Bottles- with these the baby has to suck and draw back just like breastfeeding. [su_permalink id=”http://mimijumi.com.au/”][/su_permalink]
Simple huh? Any refusal- patience- let bub lick the nipple and play, most times bub will just start to suck.
Try again at another feed but remember introduction of a bottle can take time- so if you have an event to attend or are going back to work allow at least 2 weeks of trial.
Remember it will be easier the earlier on you introduce a bottle for a smooth transition- but if your bub is older don’t anticipate a fight- bub will sense this. The number 1 main reason for bottle refusal is the difference in learning how to suck with a bottle.
Groovy Babies founder Amanda Bude is one of Australia’s most highly qualified baby & child specialist specialising in baby & child sleep, HypnoBirthing® The Mongan Method, infant massage, attachment parenting and a range of holistic parenting strategies.
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