Amanda and Nicky met when they were 15 years old and at the same high school in Auckland, New Zealand. They quickly became friends. Being a year older, once high school finished Nicky went off to university and her and Amanda lost touch a bit as their lives were steering them in different directions. Amanda went on to university and graduated as a medical professional. Nicky completed her first bachelors degree then went back to university and gained an additional post-graduate qualification in Education. They branched out in their respective fields, traveling, working, achieving a lot of professional success. Some years later, the girls went on to marry and start their families. Fast-forward a few more years and Nicky and Amanda’s “little ones” (their youngest children) were newborns and their close friendship rekindled over their babies and the daily challenges associated with parenthood.
Across the span of their older children (Nicky has 3 kids and Amanda has 2), they had separately dealt with and learnt a heck of a lot about baby sleep. Independently, they had researched, analysed, tried several different methods and routines, assisted countless friends, extended family, colleagues and coffee group mums with their baby sleep challenges and by the time their newest babies arrived, Nicky and Amanda had cumulatively amassed quite a lot of knowledge! Between them they had had babies who didn’t sleep, babies who slept too much, babies who wouldn’t settle, babies with pacifiers, tummy sleepers, side sleepers, babies with reflux, colic, tongue ties, allergies, intolerances. Babies who were breastfed, bottle-fed, slept in bassinets, hammocks, swings, strollers, frontpacks, arms. Babies who woke all night, babies who needed to learn to self-settle. And so, naturally, with their renewed close friendship came a 24/7 dialogue about their babys’ sleep patterns and ideas and suggestions about the complex world of baby sleep.
The idea for Little Ones was born.
Nicky and Amanda had used private sleep consultants in the past, so they knew how that area of the baby sleep industry worked and knew there could be a better way that the advice around baby sleep could be delivered and still be relevant as the baby grows. They had strong beliefs and values that all mums should have access to affordable, instant, reliable resources, which would provide them with all the information they needed to get their own baby’s sleep on track and would be relevant as their baby grew and changed.
And so the hard work began!
Amanda, with her background in health science could analyse the scientific side of things, taking on board all the relevant research and experimentation they had both done over the last 5 years. Nicky, being an educator, understood the behavioural side of babies and knew how to effectively convey information to educate people. It was a winning combo.
After searching for and finding no formal or regulated qualification in the area of baby sleep, they soon realised their research, their backgrounds in health care and education, amassed real-world experience and the success of their methods was enough to develop their ideas into something tangible.
Months and months of writing, rewriting, reviewing and editing took place before the first version of the Sleeping and Feeding Guides was ready. Quite soon after launching the business, Nicky and Amanda discovered they needed additional products to go hand in hand with their Guides, and the Settling and Self-Settling Guides were created and the whole lot was packaged up into comprehensive Sleep Programs. Every few months all products are reviewed and updated according to current research and methods and based on information, frequent questions and common troubleshooting queries within the closed support group: the Little Ones Village. In keeping with their primary company values, all customers receive a free updated version of whatever they had purchased when the updates are released.
Once the success of their Programs started spreading, the girls branched out into audio creation and developed their own series of white noise tracks. White noise is an important element in settling your baby and they wanted to be able to give mums all the tools they could. You can now find their white noise album, Perfect Sounds for Baby Sleep, on iTunes, Google Play Store and Spotify.
After a good 6 months in the market and having spread beyond New Zealand to Australia and the UK, Little Ones needed some more team members! The support group had grown so large and Nicky and Amanda wanted it to remain a place mums could access advice about the Little Ones methods for free, so they went searching for some like-minded ladies to help them out… And found Jen (a registered nurse), Rhyanna (a consultant) and Michele (an early childhood educator)! These wonderful gals now manage and facilitate the Little Ones Village, offering advice and guidance to mums around the use of the Little Ones Programs. The group has now grown into an incredibly supportive place where over 9000 mums meet daily to help each other on this tricky journey of parenthood.
Just like Amanda and Nicky did, not so long ago.
And the story hasn’t ended yet!
Little Ones is now endorsed and recommended by Kate Johnson, Ph.D. Sleep Physiology and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and SRI (formerly Stanford Research International).
Little Ones is an accredited and regconized member of the IACSC (International Association of Child Sleep Consultants) and the Little Ones Team is trained in baby sleep neurology and behaviour, age-appropriate settling methods and best sleep practices.
(For a full list of our references click here.)
The team has big plans for the future, more exciting products, more ways to make it that much easier for a tired mum looking for a solution. Despite the growth and success of the company, their fundamental goals remain the same – to assist parents to be more confident in their ability to respond to their baby’s needs. And for everyone to get more sleep!
And from the 30,000+ families they’ve helped so far… Little Ones definitely seems to be achieving that goal.
We believe in a holistic approach to baby sleep; that when working to improve a baby's particular sleep issue, you look at the whole 24-hour period and consider all sleeping and feeding within that window. In this way you are able to establish lasting sleep skills through consistent, positive sleeping and feeding practices.
Between 0-3/4 months: This is the time to start setting up some good sleep habits. Settling your baby fully to sleep, especially prior to 3 months, is totally fine. If you can settle your baby to sleep in her bed this will help teach her that her bed is the place she goes to sleep. Using our Baby Sleep Shhh audio track for all sleeps will help settle your baby so you mightn't need to actively settle them unless they aren't asleep before the maximum awake time in our Sleeping and Feeding Guides. Using a swaddle, dark room and time to wind-down will help your little one learn its time to sleep.
Between 3/4-6 months: From this age onward, if your baby can’t self-settle, we recommend gradually reducing your input of helping your little one to sleep and allowing them the chance to fall asleep unassisted. Following our Self-Settling Guide in conjunction with the Sleeping and Feeding Guide in our Sleep Programs will help allow your baby to learn to self-settle when they're ready to.
Over 6 months: If your little one cannot self-settle, they are now very aware and will protest very loudly if they are tired and need to sleep and you don’t give them the sleep association they want to go to sleep, ie rocking or feeding to sleep. This is a sleep habit and is the only way they know how to go to sleep. This can be where proper "sleep training" comes in; where you can teach them to put themselves to sleep, which will lead to better napping and overnight sleep. Following our Self-Settling Guide in conjunction with the Sleeping and Feeding Guides in our Sleep Program will help with gradually teaching your little one these skills.