Dr. Sarah Mitchell
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10 things I’ve Learned Doing Sleep Consultations

I’ve been doing sleep consultations for over 2 years now and I love every new case that I engage in.  I think it comes from my days in healthcare of solving the mystery of what is happening.    I love the challenge of unraveling why the baby won’t sleep, making a “diagnosis”, creating a plan and then helping parents set it in motion.  And then the outcome!  What could be better than better rested parents and children, all of whom are much happier afterwards.

List of 10 Things I’ve Learned Doing Sleep Consultations

Here are 10 things I’ve learned doing sleep consultations and talking with Moms at different outreach events.

  1. Everybody’s got something.  Yep, everybody has something that bothers them to some extent, but people have different thresholds for fatigue and/or the time it takes to put their kids to bed.  Maybe rocking your baby for 40 minutes before she falls asleep is your favorite time of day.  For someone else, this scenario could be their worst nightmare.
  2. Second time Mom’s are not saved.  I have worked with a number of second (and third) time Mom’s who need help with a baby who won’t sleep.  Temperament has a lot to do with your baby’s ease of learning to fall asleep independently.  What worked with one child, might not work with another.  Also at play could be the fact that with your first, you have all the time in the world to devote to getting them to sleep, but with your second, you just don’t have the same amount of time to dedicate to getting them to sleep.
  3. Self doubt is a killer.  The biggest killer of sleep training on your own occurs at 2 am, when your baby has been up for 25 minutes or more and you start doubting what you are doing.  This is one of the reasons that having a plan before you start is really important.  Its your road map to success in times of self doubt.
  4. 2 year olds can be the most frustrating.  Usually by 2 years of age most parents have a steady routine and have a child who has been sleeping through the night.  Often parents are back to work, which is why when the 2 year old sleep regression hits, its like a crobar to the kneecaps.  And 2 year olds have lungs and a vengeance.
  5. From 0 – 3 months,  most parents misread fatigue cues for hunger.  I did this with my first.  I kept offering the boob anytime he was distressed because I thought he was hungry.  Well at 4 months, and 20 lbs, (no that’s not a typo) I realized I was using the boob to soothe him, and that I had misread his cues those first three months!  He had been overtired for the first 3 months of his life.  Oh the guilt.
  6. We teach our babies how to fall asleep those first 0-3 months and it is usually via a boob or a bottle.  This goes back to number 5.
  7. Perfect sleep can be achieved. And it lasts for about 2 weeks.  Yep, and then something changes, they start learning a new motor skill, or getting a new tooth.  Perhaps they start being able to stay awake for longer periods and start dropping a nap.  During that first year, you can achieve perfection for about two weeks.
  8. Most parents give up too soon when they attempt change.  I have worked with a number of parents who tell me that they tried sleep training but it didn’t work.  It seems that most parents have a threshold of 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes if their baby isn’t sleeping they give up on the technique and go back to their old sleep crutches.  Don’t forget that you are changing habits that have been their a lifetime – whether that be 4 months or 12 months.  25 minutes might not cut it.
  9. Some kids are fussier than others, but they are few and far between.  Are good sleepers a product of nature or nurture?  I think that there is some nature in there, but most of it is nurture.  I can confidently say that after being able to turn so many bad sleepers around into good sleepers.  That being said, over these past few years, I have worked with a couple of children who’s sleep improved, but I would have like to seen more of an improvement in.  These were some “bad” sleepers, and often they had parents who never slept well, even before kids.
  10. It can be easier to do nothing. Many parents are paralyzed by what to do about their bad sleeper because it is easier to do nothing and go with interrupted sleep because the thought of putting effort into something without being 100% sure of the results is just too daunting.  Many parents I talk to have been thinking about doing something about their child’s sleep but just didn’t know where or how to start.  Go for the gold ring in life, make a change and get some sleep!Do you like what I have to say?  You can join my FREE Helping Babies Sleep Facebook Group. Where you can post sleep questions and hear from myself and other Moms.  Feel free to offer your support as well. I offer free 15 minute calls to discuss your situation and how I can help.  Contact Me!

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