Babies can wake frequently for a variety of reasons. Baby may be cold or hot, hungry, wet or have woken after a sleep cycle and the environment is different to when they fell asleep. For example, the baby who always falls asleep on the breast and is then placed into the cot, while still asleep. This baby could wake frequently and expect to continue this feed. I would like to stress that this is not the case for all babies but some it is. Babies become accustomed to their environment as they get older and may wake because the music is no longer on, dad is no longer holding them on the sofa, the dummy has fallen out and they have a need for sucking. They then need to return to that constant to be able to fall asleep again. However, if parents desire to make changes and would like their baby to fall asleep independently, I will assist in ways to make this transition. Once baby has learnt to fall asleep independently, you will notice that there may still be wakings overnight that you hear, but baby will be more able to settle back to sleep again on his own.
The most frequently asked question from families. And the answer is yes. Unfortunately, we look at crying in a negative way, rather than considering it in a way, that baby is communicating with us because he or she is tried, hungry, cold, wet, bored etc. If baby has been used to being held and falling asleep in arms, he or she is not going to be too happy, being put down in the cot and being left. Therefore, I promote a responsive approach, whereby we listen to what baby is telling us. Once baby has been laid in the cot, we listen to the cry. Sometimes this can be just a whinge. Sometimes it can be a loud and upset cry, where we need to return to baby and offer reassurance. Sometimes, baby may just need a nice, calming cuddle from the caregiver and that is absolutely fine. The period of time offering this reassurance can vary from baby to baby, depending on what experiences they have had prior to the sleep training. Also, this is dependent on age and developmental stage. I will guide you through this so that hopefully you become more confident in recognising your baby’s cries and working out the most appropriate response for baby.
The programme does vary from family to family, depending on the dynamics within that family. During the initial consultation, I will discuss this with you as each plan will need to be written to accommodate multiple siblings, twins, single parent families, working parents, special needs families etc. I try hard to provide a holistic approach to include and take into consideration other siblings. When there are twins or triplets, it can be a juggling act and I look at ways to make this easier for families.
If you disclose that your baby has a medical condition I will ask more questions to ensure that baby is suitable to undertake sleep training. I would encourage a medical review if this has not already happened and I would need to be confident that any strategies we implement are not going to be detrimental towards baby’s health or well- being. There are a huge range of medical concerns and some will not be affected by the changes we make, but this is dependent on each baby and situation.
If baby appears unwell please let me know and we can assess whether baby needs to be reviewed by a medical practitioner. If this is the case then we may need to stop the programme and ensure that baby receives the correct treatment and care. On an individual basis I will discuss whether there is need for a refund depending how far through the programme we are, or if we decide to recommence the settling strategies once baby is well again. I will encourage any client to see a medical practitioner if I am concerned about baby. At times, baby may be ‘’out of sorts” which can be due to a variety of reasons. We may be able to adapt strategies previously used to ensure that we are responding to baby’s needs, whilst also still being as consistent as we can.
Sometimes, babies make great progress in learning to self-settle and then unfortunately become unwell. This is inevitable at some stage and may mean that baby has some challenges getting herself back to sleep or falling asleep. If this is the case, then I encourage you to try and implement the same approach for consistency, however, you may need to adapt this as baby may need a bit more TLC for a period of time, which is entirely understandable.