Hiring a sleep consultant is just not something that is spoken of openly, it is almost ‘frowned upon’ (well that was how I felt).
With our second baby (Little Sis), I started thinking of hiring a sleep consultant. We engaged with a sleep consultant (Good Night Baby) when she was 6 weeks old.
Now, you might think that it is too soon. However, it was a positive experience for me as I had someone who could guide me into how to start with healthy habits from the beginning.
Let me get a few things out the way before some people get upset.
At this age there is NO sleep training. There are NO reducing of feeds. There is NO hard and fast rules about soothing your baby.
The only rule is to be gentle, loving and soothe baby when she needs it. The point of establishing good healthy habits from the start is that it negates the need to do any sleep training later on.The point of establishing good healthy habits from the start is that it negates the need to do any sleep training later on. Click To Tweet
My first born (who is four years old now) slept well from an early age. Or maybe I just had the time and energy to try out different things? I am slightly OCD when it comes to routines.
Returning to work after maternity leave
One motivating factor for me is that I wanted my baby to be on a routine by the time I returned to work from maternity leave.
For me, this was important.
I trusted our nanny; however, I wanted to be able to know that my baby will get the sleep and feeds she needs during the day. I needed to establish a flexible routine that also helped my nanny in her day with my baby.
What does a routine for a newborn mean?
For me it meant, being consistent and building healthy habits from the start.
With two girls home with me, I found it hard to be consistent. Bedtime was stressful as I was running around with the two girls.
When thinking of hiring a sleep consultant it is important to discuss goals with your sleep consultant.
Utterly overwhelmed, everything got to me.
You see, I am not a ‘natural’ when it comes to parenting – everything is just hard and so was transitioning to two.
I was also snapping a lot with my eldest (who was three years old at the time). I wrote here about how hectic it was coming home with baby number two and then when I calmed down, I wrote here about my tips and learning about juggling a three-year-old and a newborn. You see, I evolved.
Establishing healthy sleep habits is good for baby and the family.
With Little Sis, I was more motivated to seek out a sleep consultant. I did not have the energy and time as I did when I had only one child. With two children things needed to happen. I operate well with some form of structure. I know myself.
How did it work?
As soon as I started thinking of hiring a sleep consultant I contacted Good Night Baby online, and I received a questionnaire to complete. Carla (the sleep consultant) emailed me, and we arranged to meet at my house.
- the sleep space for baby, where she slept at that point.
- Current bedtime and bath time routine (this was a disaster so after this I implemented a consistent routine)
- We chatted about my parenting style and how my baby was doing (I felt this was important because each baby is a unique individual)
- I was given tracking document to fill out during the day to pick up patters. I appreciated this.
- We also discussed follow up support, if I had any questions or concerns.
A newborn action plan (which was not sleep training) contained:
- Tips on how to soothe my new baby
- What type of routine is suited to a little one
- What to expect at the various stages as she gets older
- Understanding sleep
- How to put her down to sleep
- We fed the baby as per usual, as at this age there is no reduction of bottles and baby stayed her 2.5 – 3-hour feeding routine for a long time until she started solids
Based on our circumstances, Carla developed newborn guide document for me. It had a structured way to approach the day, but included personalisation.
As the baby is a newborn, there are no hard and fast rules it is just a gentle approach to building healthy sleep. Example, at the time, I sat with Ava when she fell asleep with my hand on her, so that was factored in.
A sleep consultant also served as an accountability partner to ensure that I could feel confident in doing what I needed to do. I did not think my husband, family or friends wanted to discuss my newborn sleep issues. As all consuming as it was for me, it was not interesting for other people. We are supposed to ‘enjoy every moment’ at that point. Right?
So, I liked having someone I could pop an email to in need. Someone who got what I was trying to do.
Once the littlest was on a routine, I also had more time to spend with Big Sissy too (she was only three years old and needed me too).
And did it work?
By the time I went back to work she was able to put herself to sleep for naps and bedtime. The naps were still 30 minutes only. But when I returned to work it lengthened by itself – like it was a developmental stage.
Little Sis is 18 months now, and she has always been a darling sleeper. Of course she has her moments of regression and issues now and then. But we keep track of her routine and adjust it as she grows up.
I bet as soon as I hit publish Murphy’s Law will change my darling sleeper!
Tell me, have you been thinking of hiring a sleep consultant?