Secrets from a Sleep Consultant

I have the pleasure of introducing a very special guest blog from Lucy Barker the Infant & Child Sleep Consultant at Zoë Clews & Associates who are a team of hypnotherapists and experts offering advice and treatment from sleep training to hypnobirth, based in Harley Street London

home with the buckleys

What’s the secret to successful sleep training?

Getting rid of the dummy? Stopping/starting co-sleeping or dropping night feeds? Ramping up the white noise or swapping them into a big bed?

Know what? All of these have a place when you’re trying to get your little one to sleep, but each child is an individual: some can sleep peacefully with a dummy while others will wake several times a night searching for it.

Likewise, some families thrive on co-sleeping, while others wish they’d never started. And I’m all about white noise for settling stubborn snoozers. But that’s the detail.

If you’re choosing to sleep-train your child, there is One. Single. Thing. you can do that will ensure that the plan you choose works: be absolutely 100% consistent with your approach, and don’t give up.

Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

What are the methods?

There are lots of different sleep training methods out there. Some parents go long-haul with a four-week fade out approach. Others go cold-turkey and simply shut the door.

But whatever you choose to do – and I make no bones about this – it will be tough. Sleep-training isn’t easy, and the process will challenge you all. And I can guarantee that you’ll want to ditch it at least once a night for the first few days – usually at 3am when you’ve been sat like a statue on their floor since 1am and they’re still telling you REALLY, REALLY LOUDLY that they do not approve of this new arrangement.

Sleep associations such as feeding or rocking to sleep are life-long habits developed by a child who has often known nothing else. Change is always hard. For all of you. Which is why it’s really, really important that the plan you choose to implement is the plan that you can stick to.

Will it work?

Because every child is different, what worked for your best friend’s baby may not work for yours – in the end, you’re the expert on your child: find something you can give absolutely 100% to for two-to-three weeks because it can take that long for your child to establish a secure self-settle (the foundation of a confident sleeper).

That doesn’t mean that your plan should be easy, but that it will be tolerable with a clear purpose and outcome.

So, my top tip for successful sleep training? Find your plan and stick to it like glue for as long as it takes. Don’t give up after two or three nights, know that you’re in this for the long-haul and you’re giving your child the best skill ever. I’ll say it again: don’t give up. You will get there and trust me. Life on the other side of sleep-deprivation is every bit as golden as you remember.

By Lucy Barker, Infant & Child Sleep Consultant

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