During our baby or toddler sleep consultant session, we will work with you to develop a customized plan to help your baby or toddler sleep better and stop them waking early. This will include discussing you baby's current sleep patterns, identifying potential problems or challenges, and developing strategies to address those issues.
We will also provide education about sleep science and how to establish healthy sleep habits for the child. Things like discussing the importance of a consistent bedtime routine, creating a sleep-friendly environment, and addressing factors that may be disrupting the baby's sleep, such as feeding, teething, nap length or crying.
You will also receive guidance on how to respond to the baby's needs during the night, such as how to help them to gently learn to safely soothe themselves when crying so that they can fall back to sleep, and eventually do this on their own. We will also help you to understand how to reinforce the learning of this skill during the day, making it easier for your baby to practice it at night. You will learn how to handle night feedings, understand how often your little one needs to feed at night, how to cut out unnecessary feeds, and how to respond to them at this time. We will help you to understand why you are doing this and why they will respond in the way they do and ensure that you are empathetic at this time.
Overall, the goal of a baby or toddler sleep consultation is to help you to understand your child's sleep needs and develop strategies to support healthy sleep patterns for the whole family.
Some parents find it surprising that we do 99% of our sleep consultant sessions DURING THE DAY and not during bedtime, like some other sleep consultants. This is because the way a child behaves at bedtime and during the night will be reflected during the day, as it is directly related to their daytime behaviour, even if this may not be obvious to you. If you do not tackle this, often subtle, behaviour during the day, you will not be able to deal with the more extreme behaviour at night as you will be giving your child mixed messages - "this behaviour is fine during the day but I don't like it at night" - and this is really confusing for them. This can then heighten their fight or flight response, making their sleep worse, and leaving them feeling insecure.
Typically, a session will look like this:
Initial phone call: We will speak for 10-15 minutes so that you can tell us what you're having trouble with and what you would like to achieve. We can discuss any concerns you may have, and myth-bust if necessary - sleep training is NOT about letting your baby "cry it out" any more. This is just one option, and not a method we tend to use.
Initial consultation: Prior to meeting with you, we will send you some forms to fill out which will ask you about your child's current sleep patterns, including how long the they sleep at night and during the day, how often they wake up, and any challenges or problems you are experiencing. We will also ask about their routine, feeding schedule, and any other factors that could be impacting their sleep. In addition to this we find it helpful to have a bit of background information about your child's birth, allergies, medical history (brief), as well as some other bits of family background. You may be surprised what can impact you're child's sleep!
Assessment: During the session, based on the information you provide, we will assess the baby's sleep needs and identify any potential issues that may be disrupting their sleep. This may include evaluating their sleep environment, routine, and feeding schedule, as well as any medical or developmental concerns that could be affecting their sleep. We also look at how you respond to them when they cry, get cross or frustrated, and how you help them to soothe. With toddlers, we look at how they ask for things and how you respond to their requests, whether they have tantrums and how you respond to these.
Recommendations: After completing the assessment, we will provide recommendations for how to improve your baby or toddler's sleep. We usually do this during the session so that you can start putting them into practice immediately, and so we can ensure you're doing it correctly. This may include suggesting changes to their routine or environment, providing guidance on how to respond to their needs and demands during the night AND the day (so that you are consistent), suggesting strategies for establishing healthy sleep habits and ensuring they feel totally secure.
Customized plan: We will work with you to develop a customized plan that takes into account the specific needs and challenges of your little one, AS WELL AS your emotional needs and preferences in how you parent your child. The plan will include a step-by-step guide for implementing changes to the their routine, as well as strategies for handling sleep challenges such as night waking, difficulty falling asleep and early-rising. It will include details about how to help them learn to self-soothe and fall asleep independently, how to respond to them when they wake and how to ensure they feel secure as you make these changes.
Follow-up support: We will provide ongoing support for up to 8 weeks to help you implement the customized plan and address any additional sleep-related concerns that may arise. This support is usually by regular phone calls and a WhatsApp group for you and your baby's main carers.
Overall, the goal of a baby or toddler sleep session is to provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to support your baby or toddler's healthy sleep patterns and create a better sleep environment for the whole family.
The results of the session will depend on the specific needs and challenges of the baby and the strategies implemented as part of the customized plan. However, some common outcomes of working with us include:
Improved sleep patterns: Your child should start sleeping for longer periods of time at night and during the day, with fewer, and ultimately, no wake-ups and interruptions.
Improved bedtimes: They will go to sleep, in their own bed, on their own, without getting distressed.
Greater consistency: Their sleep patterns should become more predictable and consistent, allowing you to better anticipate and plan for their needs.
Improved quality of sleep: They should experience deeper, more restful sleep, as a result of the changes made to their sleep environment and routine. And so should you!
Increased sleep duration: They will start sleeping for longer periods of time, both at night and during the day, as a result of the strategies implemented to improve their sleep patterns.
Improved overall health and well-being: These changes will result in improved overall health, development and well-being , as sleep is an essential factor in physical and emotional development.
Ultimately, the goal of working with any baby sleep consultant is to help your baby and your family get the sleep you need in order to function at your best and for you to feel like a better parent as a result of it too.