• Adrienne Fenton

What is Sleep Coaching?

Sleep Coaching or Sleep Training is the process of creating positive sleep habits; identifying techniques that support baby to sleep; and building confidence within parents so they trust their own instincts once again.

Sleep Coaching is about learning how to respond to baby’s changing needs while also allowing time and space to discover how to do something new (like sleep) for themselves. Like many other developmental milestones, some babies figure it out on their own, in their own time. And others need more help and support while they learn their new skill.

As a Sleep Consultant or Sleep Coach, I am here to support you, educate you and encourage you while you navigate your child’s sleep development. Together we look at all facets of baby’s life such as feeding, nursery set up, solid food intake, their weight, their age, their temperament, family commitments and more! We combine what we know about your baby, with what we know about sleep science and we wrap it all up in a Sleep Plan designed for your family, with your parenting style in mind.

Sleep Coaching teaches us to pause and listen to baby’s needs before we respond. In this way we learn the difference between their many cries and how best to respond to baby’s needs appropriately.

What are the benefits of Sleep Coaching?

As you learn about sleep science and your baby’s sleep cues you will find you become more and more attuned to your baby’s needs. You’ll also find that as baby becomes more familiar with the routines, if they have a day here or there that is a bit off kilter, they will be more patient and tolerant of the disruption. This is because they are typically better rested and can bounce back quicker.

When we work with baby’s own biological clock, hormonal changes and development we see;

· Reduced crying

· Reduced stress

· Increased sleep duration

· Quicker settling time

· More consistent naps

When do you start Sleep Coaching?

It is never too early to start creating good sleep habits for your little one! What that looks like depends on the age and stage of your little one.

For a newborn we ensure we understand Awake Windows, have feeding well established, ensure that the nursery promotes sleep, introduce effective hands on settling such as Shush Pat and understand the concept of the Fourth Trimester. We focus on what we can do for baby. We focus on how we can create consistent sleep cues that we can build on in later months. It is unfair to expect a newborn to settle on their own or fit into any kind of programme but by considering a variety of factors we will be giving baby the best start to sleeping that we can.

After around 4 months old, we build on what we started with our newborn and we start to look at ways to promote independent sleep. We continue to support baby throughout the entire process and enable them to trust that sleeping in their own space is ok. We look at settling techniques that rely less on physical contact from Mum and Dad. These methods can be in the room or outside the room depending on your preference. We can start to identify patterns in baby’s feeding and sleeping needs and align these with their biological development.

I believe that just as it is never too early to be considering positive sleep habits, it is also never too late to be either. If you are happy doing what you are doing, and it is working for you and your family, keep doing it! But if you’re current methods have stopped working and you think some things could change, then perhaps now is the time for your family. Whether you want big change, or little change, the choice is yours. If the time seems right then please contact me to arrange a free 15 minute consultation and discuss how best to begin.

Are the myths about Sleep Coaching true?

Many people believe that Sleep Coaching is all about Cry It Out (CIO). Or that Sleep Coaching will damage baby’s attachment or ability to connect. The myths that circulate Sleep Coaching often cause parents to hesitate rather than reach out when they need it most. Trust me now, Sleep Coaching will cause your baby no harm and I will never tell you to close the door and leave them to cry alone all night.

Yes CIO can be an option. But honestly it is not one that we use very often. There are several other techniques we use and we decide which is right for you by looking at baby’s temperament, what you may have tried before, baby’s age, family situation, parenting style and so on. No one baby is the same and so no one Sleep Plan can be the same!

Science proves that Sleep Coaching will not harm your baby and in fact, it proves the opposite is true! A well rested baby thrives, grows and develops better. And a well rested parent is less likely to suffer depression or mental health issues. Sleep Coaching helps everyone feel better and is one of the best things you can do for your family.

If you would like to learn more you may be interested in the following articles;

Behavioural Interventions for Infant Sleep Problems: A randomised controlled trial

Five Year Follow up of Harms and Benefits of Behavioural Infant Sleep Intervention: Randomised trial

Four Eye Opening Things Science Tells us About Infant Sleep

The Lifelong Effects of Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress

Developing Circadian Rhythmicity in Infants

Why should you choose The Night Shift?

Parents suffer a lot of judgment from all sorts of places which often leaves parents feeling isolated. The Night Shift is not one of those places! It is so important to me that you feel supported and empowered to achieve your sleep goals while still maintaining your own voice and your own family’s values.

Parenting can be hard, but we do not have to accept that we must be sleep deprived to be a caring, nurturing parent. Sleep is a biological imperative, for all of us. Without good sleep it is easy to focus on the “parenting is hard” aspect and miss the wonderful moments that parenting brings. Let me be part of the Village that cares for your family. Let me help you and your family, rest well to live well.

Contact me today to discover how I can help you and your family.

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