My name is Seema Barua. I am an International Baby and Toddler Sleep Consultant and a Psychotherapist. I run a private practice seeing clients for therapy face to face/phone/skype and I work remotely with families to help their children to sleep. I specialise in Trauma Therapy, Post Natal Depression and Sleep Deprivation. I have 3 little girls aged 6, 3 and 4 months old.
Here I talk about some of the things that hold you back when it comes to investing in Sleep Training and working with me.
I don’t want to leave my baby to cry
I hear this a lot and it breaks my heart to think this is how people define sleep training. Parents hold back on reaching out for help because they think sleep training will mean leaving their baby to cry. Crying it out as its known is only one sleep training method which is called Extinction. You put your child in their cot and walk out and don’t go back in until they are due a feed or back in the morning at 7am. I have yet to work with a family who have wanted to use Extinction. I use 6 to 7 various sleep training methods and combine them for even more of a gentle and hands on approach. I use in room and out of the room methods. Your chosen method is based on your personal assessment of your child. Sleep training is about meeting your child’s needs in th#e appropriate way and definitely not about ignoring your baby or leaving them to cry; knowing their sleep cues, working on their awake times, extending naps, giving them an early bedtime, having age appropriate night feeds, teaching them to sleep for long periods. I do this in the most gentle and appropriate way.
You can find more about gentle sleep training here; https://www.facebook.com/agentlenightssleep/
Babies are supposed to wake at night for feeds
Yes babies are supposed to wake for night feeds. But how do you know how many feeds it should be? What age to drop night feeds and how to do this in the most gentle way? What gap to give between feeds? What’s the difference between a hunger cry and an overtired cry? How do you respond when your baby isn’t hungry but still waking? How do you feel at night when your little one is waking in excess and only settles by feeding or rocking to sleep? How is it affecting your lives?
Sleep becomes an issue when there are excessive wakings and your little one struggle’s to settle even after a feed. We will work together to get your little one on the correct number of night feeds based on when you gave birth, age, weight, medical issues and solid intake. As well as supporting you through my 2 week package to get the right number of night feeds established I will also give you all the information you need to drop night feeds altogether for your little one to sleep right through.
I don’t want to stick to a strict routine
You will need some sort of routine but it can be flexible. Bedtime should be age appropriate and no later then 7/8pm. Any later does cause night wakings as babies have a biological body clock. I do provide you with a routine for your little one but this will be based on your lifestyle and your baby’s age. There is room for flexibility and you can continue with your life as normal with your family. Naps can be assisted out in the buggy and car seat and I will tell you how to manage your little one’s sleep on these days out including how to manage bedtime.
All my mums go to classes, coffee, and do activities with siblings, nursery and school runs and social days out. I am yet to work with a family that stay indoors! Going out and doing things with your family is a normal and vital part of life. Children need outdoor time and that’s key for both physical and emotional well being and health. We also need to get out and about. Sleep does need to be balanced with this; it’s important for babies to have the correct amount of sleep; a good quality restorative sleep. They process information, regulate emotions and develop during sleep. My routine takes into consideration your little ones awake times, that doesn’t build sleep debt and avoids over tiredness which means your little one’s nights won’t be affected.
She will grow out of it/it’s just a phase
Yes your little one will grow out of it. The question is when and how long you can go on for? When a baby or child has a sleep association and struggles to link their sleep cycles you have 2 options; wait for them to grow out of it or sleep train. If you wait for them to grow out of it this usually happens anywhere between 3 – 6 years old (3 years old if you are lucky!). I work with children up to the age of 5 years old who have had sleep associations for most of their lives. How long has this ‘’phase’’ been going on for and where do you see yourself in 3 months time?
There is also a cultural aspect involved in sleep training. Back home in India there are no cots. You co sleep and feed to sleep that’s it. In the Asian community the older generation do not tolerate any tears. You carry your baby and respond to any tears instantly. Many women suffer in silence through pure exhaustion and that’s what they are expected to do. I co slept and fed Debyani to sleep for 2 years. By the end of the first year I used to cry in bed at night whilst she used to feed, I dreaded the nights, she would be latched on throughout the night and every morning I woke up I feel so depressed. I actually felt like I had no life. My husband used to say to me it’s normal and she will grow out of it (at which point I wanted to punch him in the face!), Today Debyani is approaching 6 years old and suffers terrible bedtime anxiety, she hates falling asleep alone. I promised to do things differently with my second and sleep trained her and my 3rd baby girl both at 4 months old!! I am an international sleep consultant and I am being approached by more and more Asian parents who want to sleep train but there is still attached stigma; simply because people do not understand exactly what sleep training involves and often parents/mums are pressured into believing their child will grow out of it and that it’s normal. Excessive night waking and sleep deprivation are NOT NORMAL!
I don’t know enough about sleep training
Sleep training is certainly a controversial topic and not everybody agrees with it. When I ask parents about this and we dig a little deeper there seems to be a huge lack of knowledge around what sleep training really is. Some assume it means dropping night feeds prematurely, some think it means giving up breastfeeding and some think it is leaving your baby to cry. Women and families suffer in silence because they have these preconceptions. It breaks my heart hearing this. Families are shamed for accessing sleep support and made to feel like a failure. The saddest part is they blame themselves because they have tried everything to get their little one to sleep. During pregnancy the focus is around feeding only. Nobody talks about baby sleep, what to do in the first few months, what you can expect, how to settle your little one’s over night, how often your little one should be waking or what feeding schedule they should have. I know first hand feeding on demand can make you feel insane! We invest in expensive buggies and baby products that we hardly use. You rarely hear somebody talking about hiring a sleep coach to create a positive sleep foundation for their little bub on the way. But I can’t help wonder if people actually know enough about sleep training. What if things were different? What if we talked about sleep BEFORE your little one arrived? How would that make you feel? Would there be as many parents struggling with sleep as much as they do now? Would there be as many mums suffering Post Natal Depression?
You can find my post on Post Natal Depression and Sleep Deprivation here on my Face book page: https://www.facebook.com/agentlenightssleep/
So what does Sleep Training really involve?
I take a holistic approach to sleep training. Your sleep plan will look at routine, naps, food and milk intake, age appropriate awake times, your baby’s temperament, and your parenting style; sleep hygiene/bedroom environment, night feeds and how to address overnight wakings. This means that I suggest a sleep method, routine, nap and overnight plan based on your little one’s personal and comprehensive assessment. You don’t need to second guess what your little one needs in the middle of the night! I help you stay on track, review your sleep logs and give you day to day solutions until your little one is sleeping through the night and on the right number of age appropriate night feeds.
- We will work remotely and I will prepare you for sleep training making sure that you are your family are 100% confident and clear before you start
- You fill out an assessment form
- I put together your personal sleep plan based on your assessment
- We go through your sleep plan together before we start sleep training
- We then work together for 2 weeks to implement your sleep plan. You have me at the end of the phone and email giving you guidance and support every step of the way throughout your follow up support. We have 2 calls per week
- I review your sleep logs every 2 days and provide your feedback
- You will receive your sleep plan, sleep method and handouts on: Sleep Regressions, managing teething, travel, sickness and nursery, age appropriate routines up to 4 years old and Nap Transitions. I will also send you further information based on your personal circumstances that I feel is appropriate to you
To find out more about what sleep training is visit my website www.seemabarua.com
I have already tried sleep training and my little one was hysterical
I have a lot of parents tell me they have tried sleep training before and it hasn’t worked.
When you sleep train you are teaching your little one to fall asleep independently. That means resettling them overnight when there are night wakings until they finally sleep through. You don’t know how long this will take and sleep deprivation makes your head foggy. Sometimes it can be 5/6/7 days before you see long stretches overnight which means by day 3 and 4 you are shattered. It’s a day 3 or 4 that many people give up. You chose a method that you ‘think’ is suitable and your little one ends up crying hysterically. They then think ‘’Sleep Training did not work for us’’. It’s common mistake many people make. I will give you a sleep training method that does not compromise your parenting values and takes into consideration your schedule, your baby’s temperament, your other children and how to manage them whilst you sleep train so they are not left alone and your family situation as a whole.
Often parents are confused about awake window’s which means your little one is not on an age appropriate routine. The hysterical screaming is often overtiredness. It’s impossible to teach a baby to self settle who is overtired. Lots of things need to be taken into consideration including timing of nap, length of naps and a big one is how many weeks you were when you gave birth. If your baby was premature I will help you work out their corrected age and have them on an age appropriate routine.
When you are exhausted it’s too easy to cave. You doubt yourself and you question’s every reaction. Sometimes it’s hard to know various cries and it can be overwhelming knowing what your baby needs and how to respond when they are waking frequently. During our sleep training I will be reviewing a 24 hour log every 2 days and providing you with feedback based on your sleep plan. Throughout the 2 weeks using this feedback along with our support calls you will have the tools, knowledge, reassurance and confidence to know exactly what to do, when to do it and how to do it. 80% of my parents see a massive improvement by night 2 of sleep training.
Often parents don’t realise that there is a regression on night 3 or 4 of sleep training. These can be the toughest nights of training. I provide you will clear instructions on exactly how to work through and manage this.
The crying will disrupt my elder son/daughter and my husband goes to work
You are reading this because things in your house are already disruptive and not what you would like them to be. How long can you maintain this? There may well be disruption in the household during the 1 – 2 weeks of sleep training. However I will work with you to minimise this as much as possible. I have 3 children myself all under 6 years old so I know how hectic the evenings and bedtime can be! It’s honestly a mad house here. The way you want to look at it is this; it’s a short term disruption for a long term gain. 80% of my parents get results on day 2 of sleep training with many coming back and telling me it was easier then what they expected. If you are consistent with your sleep plan your little one will be sleeping through the night by the end of sleep training. You will have your evenings to yourself, the kids will be sleeping through the night and more importantly they will be self settling. So in the cot, kiss good night and you are back out!
I don’t know what my friends or family will think
You need to weigh this up with what’s more important; outside opinions or finding a solution for your little ones sleep and your sanity? Sleep Training is like a dirty secret! Yes we know it’s a controversial topic. Yes some people think it’s abusive. But do they actually really know what sleep training is? No, no and no! And that’s were people get all high and mighty judging women for reaching out for sleep support. I have worked with parents who have chosen not to tell anybody that they are sleep training. Again I have to say this is heartbreaking. Not because of their choice. But because people have made them feel that they have to hide it.
So what’s the other option? Suffer in silence behind closed doors? How long can that continue for and how does that make you feel on a day to day basis? Why do you not feel worthy of speaking up? Why do you think you should just get on with it? Do you really believe it will work for you?
I don’t believe a woman should suffer in silence.
Have a read of my post; I share my bad days with you and how hard it is!
I can’t afford it
What is your priority?
What are you scared of?
Are you ok with waiting it out for your little one to start sleeping through the night naturally?
Or do you not know enough about how sleep training works?
Or do you believe that it won’t work for you?
Have a look at some family feedback here from parents that I have worked with and see how life changing sleep training has been for them:
If you are ready to sleep train your little one and transform your life call me on: 07581 410015 or drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org