Helping your baby develop good habits

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Sleep, or lack of it, is frequently a worry for new parents, and, as their baby grows bigger, sometimes for not-so-new parents too. Sleep is such an essential part of all our lives - your baby needs that time to process and make sense of all the amazing new experiences they have had whilst they have been awake, and you need that time to recover and feel human in time to do it all again the next day. Constant and consistent sleep deprivation is not fun for anyone, but with a new baby it becomes a part of life, and our bodies adjust to the reduced hours of sleep we have.

Newborn babies are designed to wake regularly through the night, as they need frequent feeds, and their sleep cycles are significantly shorter than those of their parents. Trying to “train” a young baby to sleep for longer stretches is not only unlikely to succeed, but might actually be detrimental to their development. Leaving a small baby to “cry it out” so that they “get used” to settling themselves back to sleep usually just results in everyone getting more upset, as babies don’t have the capacity to understand the cause and effect that you are trying to teach them. They may stop crying at some point and fall asleep, but this is because they have given up on being heard and responded to, not because they have learnt that it is time for them to sleep. For this reason, it is not a good idea to try any sort of “sleep training” before a baby is six months old, as this is the youngest age that they might make these connections.

How we can help

If you are struggling with the effects of lack of sleep before your baby is six months, and would like some overnight support, we are happy to come and help out, either on an ad hoc basis or a more regular one. We will discuss your individual requirements on the phone in advance, to make sure we can provide what you are looking for. If your baby is bottle fed, we can do all the night feeds so that you can have an uninterrupted night’s sleep and have a chance to recharge your batteries. If your baby is breastfed, we can sit with you during a feed and keep you company, and then we can take your baby to wind them and change their nappy, so that you can go straight back to sleep, and have a slightly less interrupted night. These “sleepovers” are not designed to help your baby to develop better sleep habits, but just to give you a bit of a break.

If your baby is over six months old, is still feeding frequently through the night, you have started weaning and are hoping for less disturbed nights, we can provide a more structured sleep support method called controlled comforting. Working with the parents, we encourage a parent to stay with their child and teach them to fall asleep themselves in their own bed/cot. By remaining with their child, the parent will know that their child is safe and well, and the child will not feel abandoned or frightened. If this is the sort of support you are looking for, then we will have an initial consultation with you to help us to establish what is currently going on at bedtime and overnight in your house, and then use that information to help develop a system that works for you and your family. As your baby will be learning a new skill (to get themselves to sleep when they rouse during their sleep cycles), it is likely to take several nights to embed the new learning, and it is important you don’t give up during this time, or see it as “not working”. All new habits take a while to bed in. Obviously each child is different and it also depends on the age of the child when you start it. It’s definitely simpler with a 7 month old than a 4 year old! 

What it costs

If you feel you need a bit of help for any sleep challenges you are experiencing, please drop us an email to info@birthbabybalance.co.uk to book our free fifteen minute phone consultation. Please let us know where you live and how old your baby is.

After we have chatted together, you can decide if you just need some more verbal support over the phone, or some more physical support with us in your home. You can then either book our hour long planning consultation phone call at £47, or some overnight support.

If you choose to have us in your home, the cost starts at £185 per night. We will discuss what is best for you when we chat, so that you know you are getting the right support at the right time.