Kind & Gentle Sleep Training Is So Important

Kind & Gentle Sleep Training Is So Important

In exchange for a free phone consult, I asked Gina, my other half’s niece, to write me a blog about her experience. Here it is and I think it will help many other mums get help and know they are not alone.

Blog from Gina

I am lucky enough to know Karen and have been given some wonderful advice by her since our daughter (who just turned 1) joined our family. Karen is someone who I have full faith in because I know she is very qualified in this field, understands babies and most importantly she is KIND and loves babies!  To say Karen knows her stuff about baby development and sleep is an understatement.

Waking a lot at night

Last year we brought home a newborn who slept well and from early on was doing long stints of sleep. When our daughter started and kept waking up 4+ times per night at around 4.5 months old, Karen was the person I called as I thought it wasn’t the best idea to just keep feeding her all those times and hope for the best.
I did not want to be at either end of the spectrum – leaving my baby to cry or feeding to sleep every single time, which would not have been sustainable for anyone.
In that call Karen did me a big favour- she gave me permission to not feed my baby every single time she woke overnight (without making me feel like a horrible mother!). Some feeds were ok as she was still a young baby, but some feeds went.

Needs and Appetites of a 4 Month Baby

Karen explained the needs and appetite of babies and how too many overnight feeds can impact day time appetite and get us into a bit of a muddle (which we were in by that stage). With Karen’s tips, my husband and I were able to respond to nighttime wake-ups and be with our baby in a way that was gentle but also didn’t perpetuate a cycle of waking and feeding for months and months.

Introducing Solids

Karen also gave me tips on introducing solids and making the most of awake time – all extremely helpful and valuable information for new parents. The nighttime waking reduced and we now have a very happy one year old who sleeps brilliantly day and night.
Simply put, Karen is the best … she is knowledgeable, balanced and measured in her advice and most of all kind (to parents and babies) in her approach which is really what you want.
Thank you Karen for everything you do  x
Read more here about introducing solid food.
And my new online Nurture Sleep Program.

It will stop the guesswork and give you:
a tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep) ✅
Evidence based ✅
Gentle baby sleep methods ✅
Holistic assessment ✅
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep ✅
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos ✅
Prevention for under 4 months ✅ so no need to do sleep training ever ✅
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time ✅
Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑 .

CLICK on the link below to find out how my new online program can help you and your baby

Nurture Sleep Program

 

We were broken and wrecked until Karen turned our life around

We were broken and wrecked until Karen turned our life around

We were absolutely broken and wrecked until Karen completely turned our life, health and well being around – most importantly she changed our baby’s life too!!!

We enlisted Karen when our bub was 12 months old, my only regret is that we didn’t seek her help sooner.

He was a very fussy eater, cat napper during the day and got to the point of waking every hour most nights. I was breastfeeding him and ready to stop – Karen helped with that transition too. Karen’s wonderful EA Lisa was so kind and nurturing throughout the booking process, in fact, the detailed
questionnaire helped prompt me to make a few changes in the weeks leading up to Karen’s visit (we chose the overnight stay) so the impact on our baby was very positive.

Our baby was mostly happy – but became even happier after he started getting a full night’s sleep. All of a sudden, he didn’t fight to get in the car when it wasn’t sleep time, he was so content going for long walks in his pram (and would stay awake!!) and his gross motor skills became fine tuned soon after. The best thing about it all was that his appetite increased and Karen’s tips helped us introduce him to a variety of foods and food groups.

Everything Karen predicted came true!! We couldn’t believe it. She really is the baby whisperer. Karen has so much credibility from her extensive and passionate career, but we also just loved her and her energy. We were so comfortable having Karen in our home and will be enlisting her MUCH sooner with baby number 2.

Thank you Karen, we talk about you all the time and when people comment on what a wonderful sleeper our baby is – all credit rightly goes to you.

Lauren and baby Vincenzo

And if you’re battling with getting your little one to sleep… You need to know about my NEWLY launched online Nurture Sleep Program 💤😴 .

It will stop the guesswork and give you:

A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families)

Evidence based

Gentle baby sleep methods

Holistic assessment

Nurture & Nourish nutrition program

Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen

90+ Facebook Live videos

And all at a low $97 for a very limited time

Nurture Sleep Program

I kept telling myself that his sleep would improve

I kept telling myself that his sleep would improve

Case study

I just had to share this amazing case study of a family with a 14 month old toddler, Christian who was waking many times at night. Mum was so exhausted she’d lost her confidence and was co-sleeping and breastfeeding to sleep. Mum kept telling herself that his sleep would improve. Unfortunately it rarely if ever does unless you do something about it. Here is their story.

Kirste, Alan & Christian

When we first welcomed our beautiful boy Christian into the world, we naively thought that when you put a baby down to sleep, they simply just slept.  We also thought that as he got older, his sleeps would become longer.  Although I had read a little bit about babies’ sleep cycles, as first-time parents, we were definitely in the dark in relation to sleep.

In the first 6 months of Christian’s life, I probably took the term “demand feeding” literally and this was impacted further as we were living in an apartment at the time, so whenever he woke at night, I would feed him back to sleep.

Short day naps

As the months rolled on, I kept telling myself that his sleep would improve when we moved him to solids or when we moved him into a cot or into his own room or out of the apartment and into our house.  However, with these transitions, the frequent night wakings and short naps throughout the day continued.

By the time Christian was 12 months old, we had been to a residential sleep program, had a sleep nurse visit our home, conducted an overnight sleep study in hospital and purchased countless toys, CD’s and booklets from the internet.

Waking 6-8 times at night

At 14 months of age, the night wakings had escalated and were as many as 6-8 times each night and I was so exhausted that I had started to bring him into our bed to co-sleep and breastfeed.

toddler sleepI had lost a lot of confidence in this aspect of my parenting and I really didn’t know how I was going to turn this around, but a chance catch-up with friends, resulted in a referral to Karen.  They had brought Karen into their home some years before when their son was 2 years old as they were experiencing similar problems.  Upon contacting Karen, the decision to bring her into our home was further reinforced by a recommendation from Lisa, Nurture Parenting’s Client Relationship Manager who had also utilised Karen’s expertise.  I was convinced even further when I sent through a list of questions and Karen took the time to phone me personally and to answer every question in detail.

 

Learning skills and self-soothing

Karen is an angel and we will be forever grateful to her for teaching all of us the skills to ensure Christian sleeps through the night and has longer day naps. This is a key point – you will learn skills and your child will learn how to settle. This is especially important because when your child is sick and you divert from the sleep training methods, then you need to be able to get things back on track when your child is well again.

Karen’s philosophy blended perfectly with ours in that we did not want any form of controlled crying and we wanted to maintain the bond and trust we had built with our Son and to improve his sleep in the kindest and most respectful way.  Karen did just that – she is firm but very kind.

Overnight stay

Karen stayed for one night at our house and our world changed on the second night when Christian slept for 10.5 hours straight, without waking.  Christian continued to sleep through every night.  Even when we came across fevers and ear infections, and I diverted slightly from the sleep training methods, I was able to get him back on track within a week of him being well again.

Karen has also provided advice to us on weaning from the breast and toddler behaviour when she didn’t have to, but she kindly took the time to do so.  She has an abundance of knowledge, insight and expertise in sleep but also in all areas that relate to babies and toddlers.  She is highly qualified and experienced and she is honestly the only person I would recommend.  If you are hesitating or thinking about using Karen, stop thinking and call her as it will be the best investment you will ever make and she will change your lives for the better.

We can’t thank you enough Karen!

Kirste, Alan and Christian xxx

baby sleeping

 

 

 

 

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/superfine-merino-sleepwear-is-better-for-baby-than-cotton/

And if you’re battling with getting your little one to sleep then… You need to know about my NEWLY launched online #nurturesleepprogram 💤😴
.
It will stop the guesswork and give you:
a tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep) ✅
Evidence based ✅
Gentle baby sleep methods ✅
Holistic assessment ✅
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep ✅
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos ✅
Prevention for under 4 months ✅ so no need to do sleep training ever ✅
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time ✅
Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑 .

CLICK on the link below to find out more about the online program and how it can help you and your baby.

Nurture Sleep Program

Lucy was always crying and wouldn’t sleep

Lucy was always crying and wouldn’t sleep

Lucy, Rachel and Tom’s Story

Just after the clock ticked over, on the first of January our little baby Lucy came into the world. She was a beautiful and determined little spirit, our first baby. We were enamoured by her and spent our early weeks in a sleep-deprived happy baby love bubble.

Like most new parents, we had heard the stories of those sleep-deprived early weeks. “Oh, it’s so hard! You just walk around in a daze. It’s a major achievement if you manage a shower each day”. And so it was. We happily muddled our way through revelling in the minutia of our baby’s development in the way that only parents can.

Sleep Deprivation wears you down

However, the sleep deprivation does wear you down. Those of you with challenging babies know this. This wearing down was a slow process: Lucy initially woke every two hours for a feed. Tom and I told ourselves that “it all gets better after week six”. And so we kept trudging along. I tried to bear the brunt of the wakeups, as Tom had to go to work each day.

Week six came and went and Lucy still woke up a lot. I mean A. Lot. In fact, it seemed she was getting worse as she was waking up during the night, and then she slept less and less during the day. Her periods of sleep during the day were traded in for crying. Looots of crying. I was visiting the Early Childhood Centre constantly for help, aware of the risk of postnatal depression in new mums. I developed a kind of RSI in my elbows from pushing the pram back and forth.

People kept promising

People kept promising things got better after certain milestones however these milestones came and went and Lucy still cried and cried and didn’t sleep. Six weeks, two months, three months, four months. Crying crying crying. They started to investigate medical reasons. We were sent off to sleep school and we were told she was very unsettled. I recall one particularly harrowing day at the sleep school trying to put Lucy to sleep with her screaming for two and a half hours and begging the nurses “could we just stop” because I was so exhausted and I needed to eat and have some water.

Another thing we noticed was that we were getting diminishing returns for the effort we were spending getting her to sleep. We would get a tidbit of advice from one of the many professionals we visited, like “you should just use a dummy”, or “sing her to sleep”. These tricks would work for a little while, but their effectiveness would eventually wear off, and then she would want all that, and more!

Frustration

I became frustrated with the advice from others whose babies apparently slept badly (i.e. waking every two hours). To us, two hours sounded like bliss! Lucy was waking every sleep cycle and had to be fed back to sleep because nothing else worked. She slept on top of me while I went through the nightly torture of lying in a dark room trying not to move.

I also began to wonder why no one told you how awful parenting was: People told me “this will pass” but I have to say, that advice is only helpful when it is delivered after the storm has passed. It doesn’t help you when you’re losing the plot from sleep deprivation. I was a soppy neurotic sleep-deprived version of my former self.

I won’t bore you with all the details but you will have to trust me when I tell you we tried every possible thing a parent might try to get baby Lucy to sleep. I googled and googled and googled all day long. I felt like a broken person.

Baby sleep problems

Exhausting all avenues

After exhausting all avenues, when Lucy was almost five months old we decided to get a sleep consultant. I had heard about Karen, but to be honest, we weren’t well off and baulked at the cost. And would it really work?

Karen’s help was honestly a turning point for us.

Karen came into our home and was so confident that she would get Lucy to sleep. I was sceptical, and I told her so. I had heard this confidence before from others. However, Tom and I were mobilised to do anything to get a few hours of zzzzz.

After meeting Lucy and comprehensively understanding her situation and personality, Karen set about suggesting numerous changes to Lucy’s routine, diet and our parenting approach. Karen stayed the night with us (we were too exhausted to do it alone by this stage).

That first night

That first night after starting the sleep training she slept from about 7.30pm to 2 am.

I was honestly shocked and kept waking up thinking “is she ok?”. She had never. Ever. Slept that long in one stretch.

It took some work and self-discipline to reformulate what we were doing but to be honest, it really wasn’t so hard. Nothing was as hard as what Tom and I had been suffering through.

Things improved for two weeks but then Lucy developed a cold. We were back to where we started. I was depressed that we had put in so much effort and were back at square one. But the difference was: this time we had Karen to call on. I could call her to ask her how to get back on track. Karen checked in regularly and offered additional suggestions and advice. And we worked our way back to Lucy’s blissful sleep. She woke three times a night, and absolute achievement compared to where we were.

Since then, Lucy has slowly but steadily improved. Three wakings at night, then two. Now one. Occasionally she gifts us with sleeping from 7 pm to 5 am. Her catnaps are slowly disappearing. She is able to self-settle.

Pleasure in parenting

I finally began to take pleasure in parenting, as did Tom. I understood now that parenting wasn’t something to be endured, and I could see why people enjoyed it. And Lucy’s personality changed from being a demanding, grumpy little thing into this peaceful baby with a lovely temperament.

Karen described to us during her visit that we would be giving Lucy a gift in teaching her to sleep. This was true, though it was of course also a gift for us. There were the immediate benefits to our sleep and sanity, however, there was something longer term that we carried with us about how to parent our child.

Tom and I have had many insights about what happened with Lucy in those first five months now. At the time we really needed someone to come and pull us out of the trenches that we were stuck in every day.

If you can relate to this story, I would really encourage you to call Karen. Your sanity is worth every penny.

Thanks, Karen <3

This is the Happy Ever After Picture of Lucy, Rachel and Tom

baby sleep help

 

 

 

 

And if you’re battling with getting your little one to sleep then… You need to know about my NEWLY launched online #nurturesleepprogram 💤😴
.
It will stop the guesswork and give you:
a tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep) ✅
Evidence based ✅
Gentle baby sleep methods ✅
Holistic assessment ✅
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep ✅
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos ✅
Prevention for under 4 months ✅ so no need to do sleep training ever ✅
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time ✅
Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑 .

CLICK on the link below to find out how my new online program can help you and your baby.

Nurture Sleep Program

Complex medical cases and sleep training

Complex medical cases and sleep training

Skull surgery and sleep training

Occasionally I come across a very complex medical case I’m asked to help sleep train. My job as a baby whisperer is most definitely not for the faint-hearted. After 29 years as a registered midwife and nurse, I’ve seen a lot of rare and complicated cases as well as the run of the mill to sleep train. I’m really grateful for my medical training as it helps me understand babies at a more complex and deeper level. For example, I’ve worked for many years in neonatal Intensive and special care looking after extremely premature, ventilated sick babies.

Medical cases I’ve helped

Tetralogy  of Fallot

Some examples of complex medical cases I’ve helped include a 6-month baby, Tilly with a congenital heart defect – tetralogy of fallot. This comprises a VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect – hole in the heart) with Pulmonary Stenosis, with the Aorta “Overriding” (sitting ‘astride’) the VSD and with Right Ventricle ‘Hypertrophy’ (thickening of the muscle). These babies appear ‘blue’ or cyanosed and often require surgery in stages. Tilly had surgery not long after birth and then recently at 2-3 years old.

Reflux with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and CPAP

I’ve also helped a few babies with very complex reflux requiring ventilation via Continuous Positive Airways Pressure to help their obstructed sleep apnoea.

https://www.parentingscience.com/baby-sleep-problems.html

complex medical cases

Being a mum instead of a paediatrician

What also sets this story apart is the mum is a consultant paediatrician. As I tell many parents, when emotion comes into parenting it affects your judgement to make decisions and to be able to sleep train. Many of you know I have helped many doctors, GP’s, and about 100 psychologists, including child psychologists with their babies and children’s sleep. At the end of the day, these are parents first and foremost. Parenting is the biggest leveller of life.

Craniosynostosis is a rare medical condition, where the skull bones fuse prematurely and usually requires surgery. In my career I’ve come across 6 cases of this condition, 4 I identified myself. If you’d like to read more about it here is a link.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/craniosynostosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354513

https://www.chop.edu/treatments/surgical-treatment-craniosynostosis

Mums story

Karen came to help us with our 6-month-old, little girl. She’d had major skull surgery at a very young age (traumatic for everyone) and had spent a significant amount of time in the hospital. She was waking at least hourly all night and the only way to settle her was to feed her. After what she’d been through we didn’t want her to suffer anymore and couldn’t see any other solution, but everyone was exhausted and we had a hyperactive 2-year-old at home as well.

Karen had helped us with our first, so tentatively we asked if there was anything she could do to aid the situation. Karen was very empathetic but was able to interpret Cara’s cry and reassure us that she wasn’t in pain. We never left her to cry, we sat with her whilst she settled, sung to her, did some hands-on soothing and amazingly the length of time she spent crying was actually far less than one of our ‘normal’ nights!

The first night she only woke twice (previously hourly!!) and within a week she was going to bed happy and sleeping through the night 7-7. She was much happier and so were we!

baby in helmet

She had to start wearing a helmet shortly after, for 23 hours a day. I was dreading it and thought it would return her sleeping habits to old ways. Amazingly it didn’t affect her at all, she slept just as well in the helmet.

Had we not got Karen in prior to introducing this I think her sleep would have just become worse as we’d have interpreted every cry as discomfort. Having a baby with medical problems has a huge emotional impact on the family; sleep deprivation added to this only makes it harder. Seeing how much happier Cara was after learning to sleep made us wish we’d addressed it sooner. We also had the energy again for our toddler.

We are very grateful to Karen for restoring some normality to our family, thank you!

And if you’re battling with getting your little one to sleep then… You need to know about my NEWLY launched online #nurturesleepprogram 💤😴
.
It will stop the guesswork and give you:
a tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep) ✅
Evidence based ✅
Gentle baby sleep methods ✅
Holistic assessment ✅
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep ✅
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos ✅
Prevention for under 4 months ✅ so no need to do sleep training ever ✅
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time ✅
Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑 .

CLICK on the link below to find out how my new online program can help you and your baby.

Nurture Sleep Program

7 things you need to know about day naps and baby sleep

Baby not Sleeping and Waking a Lot at Night?

Eylem & Ava, 6 months

Eylem & Ava, 6 months

We have a gorgeous daughter Ava. Up until 5-6 months she was an ok sleeper, with a dummy or breastfeed generally able to soothe her back to sleep after waking up during the night…but all of a sudden something changed!

Ava was refusing the dummy and my fail safe solution (breastfeeding during the night) stopped working. Ava was waking nearly every 2 hours during the night and we just couldn’t get her back to sleep. At one point my husband and I were having to camp out in her bedroom taking turns lying next to her cot so she would go back to sleep.

The lack of sleep meant the whole family was cranky and exhausted. We knew that something had to change and we needed some help. My sister recommended Karen. We spent half a day with her and she talked us though Ava’s routine and teaching her how to get herself to sleep. I liked that she provided a holistic solution – looking at Maya’s diet, play and sleep routine. I must say it wasn’t easy and Ava was not happy with the initial change in approach!

There were many frantic phone calls to Karen seeking encouragement and feedback and she was always there to help and provide guidance and support. The hard work paid off – Ava now loves her sleep, is a much happier baby and mum and dad are getting some well earned rest – we can’t thank Karen enough and I would definitely recommend her.