1. Do babies know how and when to sleep when they are born?
While babies will obviously need sleep from day one, their brains are not born with a structured sleep pattern. They have the capability of structuring their sleep, but they have to learn it.
2. How will I know when it is time to seek professional help?
When it is time to seek out help for someone like me it is usually because you have tried your own remedies and strategies and it is not working, especially if you are feeling worn out and desperate. The methods I tend to use are proven to work, however it is important that as a family you are ready to make the changes for good and bad nights for a period of time. My help will require consistency and patience but with my support we can work together to achieve the goal you are looking for.
3. Will there be crying in the methods used?
The issue of 'crying it out' is a longstanding debate, but I believe in a sensible approach. Sometimes allowing your baby to cry for a little bit so they can learn to put themselves back to sleep is perfectly fine. However, there are some babies, due to their personality, who are much more likely to refuse to fall back to sleep on their own. In addition, most parents do not feel comfortable listening to their babies or children cry until they fall back to sleep, and rightly so!! This is why I offer strategies that, although may involve some crying, I always reassure parents that I do not promote leaving their baby to cry for long periods, on their own and steer away from methods that involve this.
4. How long will it take to see improvements in my child's sleep?
While it ultimately depends on the personality of your child, as well as how bad the current situation is, most parents tend to see improvements within a few days, with night 5 usually being a turning point. However, it is important to remember it can get worse before it gets better, which is where support and encouragement from myself and others around you is crucial around this time. That said, there may be cases when it can take up to a 2-3 weeks, but I always ensure I offer parents realistic expectations. Also if there are issues in the day that needs to be addressed this can take a bit longer.
5. Is there a best age to start sleep training?
Usually between 4-6 months is the best age to start as their sleep cycle tends to mature and they have developed tools to help them to learn to get back to sleep on their own. That said, their are certain things that parents can do with newborns to set their babies up for good sleep habits. Parents with toddlers can also get great results but this may take a bit longer to achieve.
6. My child always seems to wake for bottles in the night, and it's the only way to get her back to sleep, why is this?
It is very common for babies and children to wake regularly in the night, it's just a matter of whether they can get themselves back to sleep or not or if they have developed a sleep association or need help in getting themselves back to sleep. If a child is used to falling asleep with their bottle then they will need this again when they wake in the night. This is the same for rocking or cuddling your baby back to sleep. Once they expect it, it develops into a need in order for them to fall back to sleep. They need to learn how to fall asleep on their own without that sleep association.