I have been there! And I am sure a huge line up of parents will agree on this one! How many of us have dreamt of having back our uninterrupted, peaceful night’s sleep and of our babies having the rest they need to grow and develop?
And no, your baby will not outgrow it eventually, nor will he suddenly or magically become a better sleeper without making crucial positive changes to his sleep. So what should you do?
Eliminate the problem from its root!
If it has become clear that your little one needs your help or intervention to fall asleep at bedtime, during the night and for his naps, then it’s time to accept that what needs to change is your behaviour towards your child’s sleep needs. Recently experts are using quite elaborated names to describe “bad sleep associations” such as: Sleep Onset Association Disorder, Behavioural Insomnia, Sleep Behaviour Therapy, Inappropriate Sleep Onset Association, etc. I would rather use a more simple, family-friendly name such as Negative Sleep Associations. Allow me to break it down: Negative sleep associations typically involve a parent nursing or bottle feeding to sleep, rocking or bouncing the baby to sleep, holding the baby until he falls asleep, driving around or pushing the pram/buggy to help him sleep, stroking the baby, etc. And then we have the Positive Sleep Associations such as sucking on his thumb or fingers, rocking back and forth, lifting his legs into the fetal position, turning his head side to side, bitting, rubbing or holding his blanket or lovey, humming and singing. Do you see where the difference lies? There are also things that set the scene for sleep such as the cues leading to bedtime/naptime, winding down time, dimming lights, blackout curtains and soothing music.
Ok, I am sure your next question is: “how do I eliminate the Negative Sleep Associations, and start improving my family’s sleep? I have tried everything!”
Don’t be too hard on yourself – asking for help is a strength!
My name is Vanessa Ramirez, I am a Certified Sleep Consultant and a member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants. I started this journey into sleep coaching 11 years ago when my first born was a difficult sleeper and would wake hourly through the night. I understand the struggles and challenges of implementing a sleep plan by yourself and finding the process frustrating, emotionally overwhelming and confusing.
When I come to help your family to improve your child’s sleep, we become “partners” in this journey, offering you a completely hand-held, personalised service from beginning to end. We will successfully replace all “negative sleep associations” while remaining supportive and comforting as your baby learns his new strategies to fall asleep independently. Within days you will witness how your baby begins to put the pieces together of his sleep puzzle and become a wonderful, confident sleeper.
So how does it work?
Our sleep training journey begins at bedtime when we implement the process together and I guide you, either physically or virtually, overnight through all of your baby’s wakings (12 hours). The following day, we will put in place the nap training process discussed the night before during our consultation.
I will support you through the process for one week, giving you timely advise when you need it. To help you with daytime naps, I will provide you with a Daily Nap Tracker, this is a useful tool for us to be able to pin-point any challenges and give you accurate, daily feedback on naps and night time sleep. At the end of the first week, we will re-evaluate our progress and decide next steps. My aim is the give you the necessary tools and share all my knowledge so you become your baby’s own sleep expert! After the first week the follow up support will be unlimited, as and when you need my support and advice, trust me, there will be little bumps on the months to come.
Will sleep training work for my family?
It will. But you have to put in the work and remain positive. My success rate is tied to your level of commitment, consistency and perseverance.
My motto is: Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.