Lack of sleep. It's totally evil isn't it. We all turn a little bit crazy when we're tired, it can do really awful things to us. Putting keys in the fridge or tea on your cornflakes (yup, I've done both of those many times) - even packing everything into the car and driving away only to realise that your baby was actually still in her car seat on the pavement. (No, I would never do such a sleep deprived crazy thing......... honest...)
We've ALL been there, and it's pure torture (and ignore that annoying lady at baby class who says HER baby is perfect & has slept through the night since day 1. Not true.) That one thing can dictate how we feel emotionally, physically, how we interact with our children, our spouses, how we cope with daily life.
So it's really little wonder that there seems to have been a massive rise recently in people turning to Sleep Consultants to help them work out how to encourage their babies and children to get into better sleep habits. I recently got to chat to a lovely local sleep consultant named Zoe Payne, the owner of Baby Sleepy Dust, and I found out what it's all about, here's what she had to say:
Hi Zoe, would you tell us how you became a Sleep Consultant?
I had a terrible time with my own daughter as by the time she was 9 months old, she had been waking every hour of the night for about six months. I looked into getting help from a sleep consultant and through my research, I discovered that I found the issue of baby and child sleep fascinating and wanted to find out more so that I could help other people like me. I completed two courses over the space of a year of training and research. Of course I was able to immediately correct what was happening with my daughter's sleep - she now sleeps like a dream at night and during the day - and I was also able to help many friends and family by using them as case studies while I completed my training. I have now been helping families with sleep issues for a year and a half and I love being able to support parents through this process to the point where their children are getting the sleep they need.
What exactly do you aim to do for your clients?
All babies and children are different so my first aim is to find out as much as I can about each family's routine, needs and preferences before I design a sleep plan for them. Through my training and ongoing research, I am extremely well informed on a variety of techniques of 'sleep training' so I can put together a programme that will suit each family rather than just offering one approach to everyone. The most difficult thing for parents when trying to adjust their child's sleep is continuity and consistency, especially in the middle of the night when they are exhausted. There are often a few nights where it feels like things are getting worse rather than improving and so once I have provided the sleep plan and discussed it in great detail, my role is to support parents through the process as much as they need me to and I always continue to do this until they are completely happy with the results.
Who are your clients, and is there an age limit for the babies?
I have designed a workshop for expectant and new parents that gives them the tools to gently introduce good sleep habits in the first six months. I identified this as a key stage in sleep development and it is a gentle way to gear your baby to sleep well and through the night once they are weaned at around 6 months old. This workshop promotes independent sleep and should mean that parents can avoid certain sleep habits creeping in which may require 'Sleep Training' once their babies are over 6 months old. I also provide sleep plans and ongoing support for parents of babies and children from 6 months to 5 years old.
This sounds amazing! So how long does it usually take for people to see a difference in their babies sleep habits?
It really depends on what is happening with each baby's sleep, what methods the parents are comfortable using and age is also a factor. Parents of younger babies, between 6 months to a year old, should start to notice things greatly improving within 5-7 nights. With slightly older children it can sometimes take up to 2 weeks. The main reason for there being any delay in the progress will be down to a break in the consistency of the sleep plan.
What happens if it doesn't work?!
This is a difficult question to answer! I have never had an occasion where we have decided that it hasn't worked - there have been occasions where parents feel they can't carry on with the original sleep plan; when this happens, there is no point pushing them to continue as they need to be behind what they are doing 100% in order to make it work. If this is the case, I help them adjust things until we find a way that will work for them before continuing until they are happy their child is getting enough sleep. Once or twice people have decided that the process isn't what they want to do at that time and I always say that I'm happy to pick up where we left off sometime in the future if and when they would like to.
How does it all work practically?
I offer an initial consultation free of charge over the phone - this is important as parents need to be absolutely sure that this is something they want to do. If they decide to go ahead then I offer face-to-face, telephone or Skype ongoing support packages once I have produced the sleep plan. The ongoing support is unlimited and continues until everyone is happy with the results.
How should people get in touch with you if they'd like to find out more?
I have a website so people can find out more on there at: www.babysleepydust.co.uk
If they would like to arrange the initial consultation or if they have any questions I am available on my mobile from 8am until 9pm on weekdays and 8am until 5pm on weekends - 07584 493 580 and the same hours on email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to offer a 15% discount on all my services to anyone who contacts me via Hannah at Calm Births so please mention this is where you heard about me in order to take advantage of the discount!