I have been a Sleep Consultant for over two decades and have learnt over the years that implementing key subtle changes early on is the key to optimising a baby's sleeping potential. This is not about rigid routines or harsh sleep training methods it's about creating tangible cues and rituals that your baby or child can interpret and respond to.
Babies in particular rely heavily on their senses to interpret the world around them and they use them to determine and make sense of what is going on. Making sleep a consistent & predictable sensory experience can really help a baby tune in to sleep and establish positive and sustainable sleep habits.
My methods of practice are tried and tested and are based around my experiences and background knowledge in child psychology and development.
How did you get into this?
I was lucky enough to train and qualify as a Sleep Practitioner in the NHS UK and gained 13 wonderful years working with families struggling with sleep issues. I set up my own fully funded Sleep Clinic in the community I worked and gained considerable experience and expertise in this specialised field. After relocating to NZ in 2011 with my Kiwi husband and three children I set up Serene Sleep as a private consulting service to continue offering this service to families in need and it has grown ever since.
What is your approach with families?
When I work with a family I first determine what are the motivating factors causing the child to wake and also look at the impact it's having on the family. Parents first need to understand and see things from their child's perspective to then be in a position to move forward.
Every family I work with gets 4 weeks of follow up support as standard. I truly believes it is an essential part of any parent's sleep journey and having the right support, empowerment and expertise is key to achieving sustainable results.
All my methods and plans cater to each individual family and to this day I still need to tweak and fine tune my plans as I gain more experience and knowledge along the way.
What are your three top tips for parents who need help with their little one's sleeping?
Establish a consistent clear routine that makes sense to your child. Follow a set of rituals before each sleep time so your child can predict what is happening. Babies and children thrive on consistency and boundaries it helps them to feel secure and safe.
Introduce a comfort toy for your child to attach to and have it present at every sleep time. Wear it as much as possible to trap all your mummy smells onto it, I promise it really does make a difference.
Ensure your baby is getting the right amount of day sleep for their age, too much or too little sleep can have repercussions for poor night sleep.