You CAN improve your baby's sleep!
There is a lot of help available out there for baby sleep, for those who want or need it. These days, we know so much about how sleep works and as a consequence, companies (like ours) have been established to help people through the foggy mist of parenthood in those first few years.
Yes, baby sleep is a natural and biological phenomenon and not everyone believes it's something that can be actively improved (that's fine; each to their own), but I like to think of it like this: over the last century in particular, there have been massive advances in what we know about a whole raft of things and as a result, alternative medicines or practices have been set up to help and support these areas of newfound knowledge. 70 years ago, psychotherapy wasn't a "thing". Men coming back from World War I or II were not offered any sort of counselling, trauma counselling, grief counselling treatment. We didn't know anything about post-traumatic stress disorder. With advances in science, come opportunities to acknowledge, address and respond to conditions or situations we previously had little control over.
These days, all soldiers receive therapy treatment because we, as a society, care about their mental health and perceive that as incredibly important.
100 years ago the flu was a chronic killer. There was no treatment and people just accepted, they knew, that it was deadly - because they had no way to cure it. Decades later, the virus was studied, medicine was developed and the flu became manageable.
The more we know, the more we can change.
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The same holds true for baby sleep. While I'm not likening an unsleeping baby to a soldier returning from war (although it does feel like a battlefield sometimes), we know now what happens when a baby sleeps. Sleep, like PTSD, is no longer a grey area totally outside our understanding. We know how much sleep children need in order to have the best chance of developing, of growing, of regulating apetite, of restoring immune function. We know too how to achieve this good sleep because of what we know about how our circadian rhythms work, how milk/food intake affects sleep, how babies sleep cycles are wired. And because we have this knowledge, we also have the capacity to make positive change. We don't have to accept poor sleep anymore because we know there are options.
If you have the flu these days, you go to the doctor and get treatment so you can recover. If you are struggling with an unsettled baby and poor sleep that is causing anxiety, frustration and affecting your experience of motherhood, you can go to an expert and they can help with your situation. An example is "sleep school" in Australia, which is a very common and popular choice for people experiencing difficulties with their child's sleep. Doctors refer families to sleep school much as a doctor would refer a patient to a specialist.
Unfortunately sleep school is not an option for everyone and even for some people who do attend sleep school, it merely provides a temporary solution.
Better, sustainable sleep is not terribly complicated, if you have the right knowledge and the right tools. It can be achieved by understanding your baby's sleep needs holistically; by using the information available to us to improve your baby's sleep for years to come.
This does not mean sleep training.
This does not mean forcing your baby into a strict routine.
Improving your baby's sleep might be as simple as tweaking their awake windows between naps to lead to easier settling, longer naps and better night time sleep. It might be as simple as capping the late afternoon nap so your baby then settles better at bedtime and stops waking at 3 AM. It might be as simple as offering protein solids at the lunchtime meal instead of dinner in a baby under 10 months to stop them waking uncomfortable overnight.
It might be as simple as making their room darker to encourage more of the sleep hormone melatonin to be released in their body or introducing white noise to help a baby drift more easily between sleep cycles.
This is how comprehensive the knowledge is around baby sleep these days! The more we know, the more we can affect change.
This knowledge is the backbone of our Sleep Programs. We combined the most current research with years of experience around baby sleep to create guides that allow you to become an expert in your baby's sleep needs! We don't have to put up with chronic sleep deprivation and unsettled, unsleeping babies - not these days.
With the acceptance that baby sleep is something that can be actively improved on becoming more widespread, there is a certain confidence, a certain power in our role as mothers. They do say knowledge is power and it definitely is! Our sleep knowledge gives you the power to make positive, lasting change for your family.
"I have been following your program now for three weeks and the difference in my little boy who is 5 months old is amazing, we have a structured day with a morning nap and afternoon nap both in his cot and a bedtime of 7pm. And this week he has started to sleep through the night. I feel more relaxed and have time to catch up on things that before I couldn't do as he just catnapped for 20 minutes at a time. Thank you so much you saved my sanity. Xxx" - Vicky
"A week ago my six month old was catnapping for max 20 mins, mostly in our arms and co sleeping at night. She is now following a pattern with 2-3 naps per day, including 2 hours lunchtime and in her cot for day naps and night sleeps! I've gone from getting up every 30-40 mins to resettle to resettling once or twice at night! Thank you Little Ones!" - Amy