I sleep trained my baby in secret, because I was afraid of Mum shamers...
Sleep training from 4 months worked brilliantly for my baby, we set up a nap routine, a bed time routine, and I taught him to self settle.
I was a happier parent, I needed to know what was happening each day, I craved sleep, and I need my baby to sleep so I could sleep.
He was happy and healthy, his plunket nurse cooed over how happy and smiley he was, my mother in law commented about how happy and smiley he was, and even my coffee group friends loved his infectious smiley nature.
But they all quickly frowned upon me when I mentioned sleep training.
When I was pregnant my antenatal teacher talked about sleep cues, and that instinct would allow me to nurture my baby to sleep.
They showed us how to use a baby carrier, and how to breastfeed lying down to encourage sleep, but they didn't tell me how to actually get my baby to sleep, and all the extra feeds I used to help get off to sleep made him gassy, unhappy and colicky in the first 12 weeks.
I quickly realized this wasn't for me.
Parenting was a blur of anxiety and exhaustion.
I couldn't make it through the day without crying, and my baby was miserable.
He wasn't sleeping well, couldn't settle to sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time, and was waking almost hourly at night.
I called Emma when Max was 16 weeks old, and she explained that I was feeding so frequently I was interpreting Max's tired cues as hunger cues. He was wanting to suck, because he wanted to go to sleep.
He was over tired, and I was over whelmed.
Emma created a routine for us to follow, which was both fluid and fixed.
Fluid in that if Max was hungry before a feed was "due" I fed him.
But fixed in that if he didn't show any tired signs, he was still going down for his nap. Turns out tired signs can be hard to spot, easy to misinterpret, and some times confusing for tired first time mums!
I started to realize that my boy was crying from exhaustion not just hunger, and sometimes me feeding him when he was tired was contributing to his tummy hurting, and blocking him from actually being able to sleep.
Elated with what I was learning I tried to share at my Mum's group, but the other mothers looked down at me, and said schedules and routines would damage my baby.
Already I could see this wasn't true as he was so much happier and well rested within just a week of his new routine.
When I started working on self settling I wasn't in the mood to be shamed, instead I chose to remain silent. My confidence was growing, and I actually didn't need anyone else's opinion.
I was the happiest I had been since my son was born, and I didn't need those mum shamers bringing me down, or making me doubt myself.
At 6 months old I joined a new playgroup and met a new group of mothers who had older children as well as babies, and these mothers seemed a lot more open to what I was doing.
They had been around the block, and had some experience with sleep deprivation, and sleep training. I felt no shame sharing my experience with them.
I had found my people!
My mother in law still doesn't know the secret to her grandsons amazing sleep, and happy nature, but that's OK.
Feeling such a huge pressure from a group of Mum shamers was part of why I didn't discuss sleep training with them. I was a new mum, in a vulnerable state doing the best for my baby, I didn't need to be made to feel like a bad mum.
Finding my people was such a relief.....if you feel alone in your mother's circle, keep looking!
Your people are out there too.
Anonymous.................because I still don't like exposing myself to mum shamers!
Our Baby Sleep Program helps tired parents TO DEVELOP HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS BY FOCUSING ON NAPS, SETTLING AND NIGHT SLEEP.
- Empowered: Feel empowered as a Mum as you learn to understand your growing baby's needs and cues.
- Simple effective settling: Gentle, proven self settling, evidence based techniques.
- Content happy baby and parents: Better sleep creates content babies & happy parents.
- Freedom: Predictable routines and longer nights creates freedom. Solve your sleep problems for more freedom.
- Work with your babies circadian rhythm: Work with your babies biological clock for faster easier results.
- Awesome naps & nights: You'll create consistent naps and nights with our support.
Try our online sleep program, complete with FREE email support.
My baby has reflux can you help?
When your baby has reflux, feeds can be difficult and your baby can be in a lot of pain both during and after feeds. This pain can cause feeding aversions and failure to thrive. This is why true GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) needs to be treated by a doctor. Once your baby's doctor is satisfied your baby is feeding well, and you have the right medication or formula then we can start a sleep plan and you will be successful.
My baby has colic will this help?
Colic is defined as 3 or more hours of crying per day in infants. Crying subsides in the second second trimester. If you are still experiencing colic symptoms speak to your baby's doctor about whether this could be reflux, an allergy, or over tiredness. We can help you work on better sleep with this program at the same time as your doctor investigates the pain and crying.
What if the program isn't working?
We have a dedicated help line to ensure your success. Just email our team via the details in your program and a certified, experienced and friendly sleep consultant is ready to stare you in the right direction to ensure your success!
My baby was born early, can you help?
Sleep is neurological so we always work off your babies neurological age, that is their corrected age. When you look at our sleep programs purchase the program that your babies corrected age fits into.
What if I have questions or need more help?
Our sleep programs come with private email support. You don’t have to post in any public forums or groups, just email the exclusive helpline that our team of certified sleep consultants look after and we’ll answer all your questions and help you on your way.
Can this program help with my babies night sleep?
Yes, all our online sleep programs contain night sleep plans. We will teach you how to move from multiple night feeds to 2 or 1 or none (depending on what is age appropriate and appropriate for your baby.) Don’t worry we will show you to figure this out too. If your baby is unsettled at night but not feeding, our plans will help you with consolidate night sleep and self settling when age appropriate.
My baby is cat napping can you help?
Cat napping is a very normal physiological stage that your baby goes through. At this stage (3-8 months old), cat napping can start to be a long term issue and compound into over tiredness and affect night sleep and your babies happiness. Good news, this is a great age to work on re-settling, self settling and better longer naps!
I have 3 children, can this work with my family?
I totally understand how busy life is with 2, 3 or more children! Even if you need a flexible schedule we can still work on settling regular naps (some on the go!), and better evenings and night. Flick our consultants any specific questions about your family's schedule of activities and we can help you work out what is possible nap wise.
I don't want a fixed routine, can you still help?
Yes. A fixed routine is one option, regular naps and regular awake times is another. Both are valid and you are welcome to do what works for your family. We understand you are all different and what works best for one family won't be best for another.
I'm formula feeding, can you still help?
Yes we have specific advice for formula feeding parents, and we support your decision to feed any way you choose. We even have a special video series on formula feeding and everything you need to know. Just ask our consultants about this extra if you need it.
I'm exclusively breastfeeding, can I follow your plans?
Yes! While breastfeeding babies need to feed frequently they still need quality sleep day and night. We have specific advice for breastfeeding mums and an exclusive discount on Julia Daleys breastfeeding course if you need extra help.
I'm bed sharing, can your program help me stop?
Yes. We often fall into bed sharing, we call this reactive bed sharing. Or we have simply changed our mind, and moving on from bed sharing we need some support. Our programs and consults will guide you through gentle sleep methods, which are more appropriate for most bed sharing babies who are moving towards independent sleep in the cot.
I'm feeding to sleep, can you help me stop?
Yes. Feeding to sleep is a common sleep association and one that works well for lots of newborns. Often we need to move on from feeding to sleep when it starts to cause short naps, or prolonged settling or frequent night wake ups as baby looks for their association to go back to sleep over and over again at night. We can teach you how to teach your baby to self settle and move on from feeding to sleep when the time is right.
I'm rocking to sleep, is their a solution?
Yes. These are common sleep associations, we refer to this as assisting to sleep. Let us show you ways you can develop independent sleep and settling strategies with our online sleep program, or one on one consult.
Is this program based on Cry It Out?
No. Cry it out is the common name for a sleep training method where you put baby down and don’t respond or check until they are fast asleep. There is no CIO involved in this program as we feel this should be only done under proper supervision. Instead we have included all our very gentle approaches and more mainstream techniques for you to choose from.
Is this based on Science or Art?
Both! As a scientist I (Emma) have spent over 8 years researching the science of sleep. I have educated and certified over 500 consultants around the world as sleep consultants, and have worked with thousands of clients. I love the scientific explanations of why we see the sleep patterns we see, and this science helps us to shape plans and solutions that we know will work. But there's an element of art to getting a baby to sleep, understanding the right combination of things that will work best, and this is where your instinct comes in.
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