When it comes to your baby’s sleep, there is an abundance of information out there and it can be really overwhelming and difficult to work out what type of sleep help would be most suitable for your baby and your family. As with all aspects of parenting, what suits one family may not be the best choice for yours.
I often get asked what is the difference between sleep training with a baby sleep consultant and enrolling in a sleep school? Having chosen baby sleep consulting as my profession, not surprisingly, I see more positives in the way baby sleep consultants support parents in helping their baby develop healthy sleep patterns. Whilst many of us practice gentle sleep training, it’s important to keep in mind that our approach may differ slightly.
Most baby sleep consultants visit your home, which works well if you want to learn how to settle your baby in their usual environment. I believe it is also beneficial for me to see how the baby’s room is set up. Often there are elements in their room that are causing the sleep issues that can be easily addressed. If you attend sleep school, they are relying on information given by often very tired parents who are at their wits end.
I feel baby sleep consultants can better tailor their advice to the family’s specific situation, their lifestyle and family set up. Perhaps one parent travels often, both parents work, other siblings etc. The advice I offer considers the family situation. There’s no point setting up goals that are simply unachievable. This would only lead to the parents feeling worse. For example, if other siblings attended kinder/school, I would not suggest that baby needed to nap only at home. This would be impossible come pick up time. If dad didn’t get home from work till 8pm each night, I would help develop a routine for the family so that the baby had some valuable one on one time with dad. At sleep school, the routines given are more rigid and some parents like that. If the routine suits your family, it can work really well for you. If it doesn’t, maybe sleep school is not right for you.
At sleep school they offer sleep advice for the age that your baby is at time of enrolment. If you enrolled your first born into sleep school at 9 months, you would not learn about the benefits of the dream feed. When baby no. 2 arrives, you would naturally follow the routine that you were given for your first born, not aware that a dream feed could help stretch out your baby’s night time sleep. I always provide advice for all ages, this way, parents are set up for future children and I find it also gives them a better understanding of the process of developing healthy sleep patterns.
I see my role as empowering parents so that they feel confident in dealing with any sleep issues that may arise down the track. As your child grows, their sleep patterns will likely change due to reaching certain milestones. By having the knowledge and tools for all age groups, you will be better prepared to deal with any possible sleep regression that may occur, and be better equipped in setting up healthy sleep routines for subsequent children.
You will know which way is best for you and your family, whether it be sleep school or sleep training with a baby sleep consultant. It’s important to do what suits your family. Success does require commitment, but if you choose the path that suits you and your baby, there will be a much greater chance of success, and that’s what all of us want for you.
All the best and sleep well, Natalie x