Good baby, bad habits?
Sleep seems to be treated as this dirty little secret in parenting. If you are an expectant parent, you might be warned that babies wake up a lot at night, but you probably don’t think it will be all that bad. Or if it is, certainly you will be able to nip it in the bud. You might have heard about sleep training, or read some great books on infant sleep so you will have your new baby on a schedule right away to avoid any “bad habits”. And then you have your baby.
Then you meet your baby, and everything changes, parenting is different than anything you ever expected.
You snuggle your new sweet, sweet human, trying everything you can to keep them from crying. You sway, dance and nurse him or her to sleep. You notice it is nearly impossible to put your baby down… and when you do, he or she wakes right back up again looking for you. Before you know it, a few months have passed, the new parent adrenaline has worn off, and you are exhausted beyond your wildest expectations. You blame yourself for creating a ‘bad baby’ and other ‘well meaning’ friends unintentionally do too.
Where do you go if you don’t like what all the sleep books are saying?
You go back to your books, you search for new books. Certainly there is no shortage of books! But which one do you get? And even when you have these books, do you want to stay up til 1am reading them. It would be awesome if someone could just take you by the hand and tell you what to do!
Maybe a shoulder to cry on, maybe someone to say, “it’s ok mama, you are doing great and so is your baby!”
You go to your doctor. “You’ll have to bite the bullet and let the baby cry. I know it’s hard. Parenting can be hard.”
You ask your mama group, who recommends various sleep training plans, books or professional sleep trainers. You put it out on Facebook, “Parents, what do I do? How do I get my baby to sleep?”. Most of the comments echo the same sentiments as the others… cry it out, rigid routines, stop comforting baby to sleep.
But none of this advice sits right with you. You resist this advice, even though it seems to be the only option.
At one point, out of desperation you try it. You dig out the recommended plan and give it a go. After the first 5 minutes of your baby crying alone in their crib, you go in and pick up your baby.
Thoughts run through your head. It feels like the right thing to do, but nonetheless there is so much pressure to sleep train but it doesn’t seem right to you.
“Am I weak?”
“This isn’t worth it!”
“I’m so tired… I can’t function…What do I do?!”
Enter the Infant Sleep Educator.
This is a special branch of maternal/paternal support worker who takes a very different approach than the traditional Sleep Trainer. Their formula is very unique, beginning with customized education to make sense out of the what/why’s of your your baby’s behaviours, along with the lifelong benefits that go along with meeting baby’s needs. This piece alone provides you with peace of mind and validation from knowing your baby is doing exactly what they were designed to do, at exactly the right time.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ with Sleep Educators. Everything is customized to align with your core values and goals. She asks just the right questions to find solutions that still allow you to follow an approach that feels right to you. Your Sleep Educator takes a look at your bedroom setups, learns about your routines and lifestyle. She is that patient, non-judgemental ear that you have been needing. She uncovers the root issue hidden amongst the lack of sleep, and you shift your focus to that. It’s wholistic. It feels productive and you are excited. This makes sense! This is not a “one size fits all” recipe. Your baby adores your Sleep Educators and seems to pick up on the fact that she “gets” your baby. This is a match!
So, why choose a Sleep Educator instead of a Sleep Trainer?
As the co-creator of this program, most of my clients are just like you. They felt pressured to sleep train, but it didn’t feel right to them. Since the program’s inception in 2012 I have also worked with clients whose children have special needs. I have worked with parents who did sleep training in the past and some who have sunk hundreds into sleep training, and they just could not go through it any longer.
Lactation Consultants, Naturopathic Doctors, midwives, doulas and even massage therapists were referring sleep deprived families to me for support. The demand became such that Phase 2 to our plan had to be launched, and we now certify Infant Sleep Educators across North America! It is a new approach and a much needed one at that!
We hope the following PDF helps clarify for you what you can expect from us, and how it is different from sleep trainers.
Brandie Hadfield is the co-creator and facilitator of the Infant Sleep Educator Certification program. Her work as a Parent Educator and Sleep Expert provides parents with an alternative method of sleep support that fosters healthy, long term sleep habits for the entire family. She is the mother to two boys, president of Attachment Parenting Canada, a Dr. Sears Health Coach and an admitted work-a-holic. She loves to play video games with her boys as much as she loves to play outside.
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