The exhausting and lucrative world of childhood sleeping makes great retail. Did you know there's a whole industry designed to help tired parents train their babies to sleep? And it's not cheap.
It’s not the same kind of advice you can find on the world wide web. That place is often saturated, contradictory, and too general for a topic that requires concrete action. It’s also not the stuff that your social media solicits. That place is full of acquaintances with no children, who used to be nannies.
It’s a well thought out, carefully planned, and wildly effective sleep guide, prepared by a certified sleep consultant for desperate parents who are running on no sleep and a little too much caffeine.
Think first trimester exhaustion on crack, with a side of perpetual zombie.
I used to grit my teeth through the delirium and sleep deprivation of having a baby. If you needed me 10 days ago, you’d find me paddling to my baby’s bassinet at an hourly interval. We used to co-sleep, and every hour or two I’d find him wailing through a sheet of tears and mucus, while hurling his body against the crib like a moth thumping a porch light.
For months, I spent all night rocking, bouncing, and feeding this tiny human to (not) sleep. But I didn’t mind. The new mum in me was all for it. The bazillion Instagram memes reassured me this was what parenthood would feel like. However, the realistic (and still functioning) part of my brain knew this wasn’t going to last.
In the haze of sleeplessness, I visited the good ole Dr Google, in search of an answer that’s not a generic “let them cry” or, God forbid, “try swaddling!”. Instead, it was ‘sleep consultant’, a foreign term to me back then, that cropped up.
Sleep consultant, sleep trainer, sleep doctor, whatever you call it.
To say I was sceptical would be an understatement. I couldn’t fathom the idea of spending money on training babies to sleep. Who’d do that? Would it work? And how would it be any different than all the sleep training methods that are available for free on the Internet?
Sleep training is a massive and ungoverned space full of techniques, books, and apps. There’s the ‘elastic band method’, ‘controlled crying’. ‘modified extinction’ and ‘cry it out’ techniques. There’s a similar Ferberization technique with varied waiting time. Or perhaps you’re a softie and prefer the chair method/camping out. As I was about to dive deeper into the black hole of baby sleep training, my six month-old started shuffling and huffing. All I felt was fear, and I reached out to a sleep consultant.
Spoiler alert: it was the best money I’ve ever spent.
One phone call, two weeks, and almost $1000 later…
My wildest dream came true: my night owl of a baby started napping during the day and sleeping through the night, without my presence.
It was Lavinia, a sleep consultant, founder of Our Little Chicks sleep solution, who made it happen. She comes to you in crisis and offers the obvious. She provides services to families struggling with behavioural childhood sleep problems. From nap resisting, to night wakings and unwanted bed sharing, she troubleshoots a wide range of sleep hassles. But she’s not Mary Poppins, who arrives all sweet and singing. She didn’t even come at all. Her consultation was virtual, and her daily guidance took the form of texts and emails. She provides you with a sleep plan, stays with you on the phone until your baby falls asleep on the first night, and answers any questions you have every night and day afterwards for two weeks.
If I’m being honest, the first night was extremely difficult. My heart was palpitating as the clock struck 6.45pm. As I put the baby in his crib and closed the door behind me, he started howling. While I was repeating Lavinia’s plan in my head, the crying intensified. Torn between my motherly instincts and the need to strictly follow the plan, I found myself pacing in the corridor that led to the nursery. I almost gave in. Eventually, all the crying stopped. And he has been beaming ever since.
Sleep is crucial for baby’s physical and mental development. That we can all agree on.
Babies, like adults, function more efficiently during the day if they have a good night’s sleep. Have you seen yourself in the morning after a night out? Yep, a total mess. Babies are the same. They’re happier, more energetic, and have a bigger appetite when they have enough sleep. 12 hours of sleep at night will prepare them for the big day ahead, full of learning and growing.
Babies’ brains double in size during their first year, in which they develop rapidly. Sleep allows babies to strengthen their memory and process the things they learn while being awake. Thus, good childhood sleep has been associated with better memory in adulthood. Furthermore, a lack of sleep in children has been linked to diabetes and obesity, as well as other attention issues later in life.
Sleep training is no magic, it’s just a little bit of structure and a whole lot of accountability.
In terms of a sleep training method, Lavinia really doesn’t f*ck around. If you think about it, two weeks is a short period of time to say, encourage babies to fall asleep and stay asleep in more intricate and sensitive ways. There’s no time for that. She rips off the band-aid and changes everything you’ve been doing. She reassures you the crying, which seems endless at the start, will soon decrease in intensity. What she gives you, is a fool-proof, non-sugar-coated, and surprisingly common-sense type of guidance, to get your baby to sleep and stay asleep. She tells you what you probably already know, and helps you reinforce it.
Lavinia doesn’t train the baby. She trains you.
If you’re necking your sixth cup of coffee after a long night of battling with your tot, it’s time to give Lavinia a call. We promise it will change your life! You can find her at OurLittleChicks.