MY STORY

My love-hate relationship with sleep started nearly 2 years ago, when my "bad sleeper" was born. As most new parents, I had no idea what to expect and felt confused and frustrated when my new baby refused to sleep anywhere other than in my arms. So I labelled him a "bad sleeper", after all, as it soon became clear to me, good babies were the ones who slept through the night in their first weeks of life, cried little and generally did not disturb the normal running of life.

 

Although I enjoyed having my baby close to me, I felt pressured to get him to sleep longer stretches. Pressured by who? By society, by friends, family, social media, TV, books... After spending months trying to fix him by following bad advice from friends and books (99% of which I would have rather never read), I realised I needed help. It was hard to admit I needed someone else to help me with something I felt I should be able to do myself - make my baby sleep - a task which I felt I failed massively.

 

So, I caved and bought an online course from a "famous" sleep consultant who promised my baby would be sleeping at least 8 uninterrupted nights in a few weeks. The investment was nothing compared to what I was going to get. Only that NOTHING in that course sat right with me. I was repeatedly told that it was ok to leave my crying baby unattended for a few minutes, was told to withdraw contact, avoid picking up, not feeding to sleep, putting him down "drowsy but awake"... You've all heard the mainstream advice in sleep consulting. DO NOT FALL FOR IT like I did!

I continued my search for understanding more about sleep and was recommended a "gentle sleep consultant". That sounded more my type of thing since it was important to me to never let my baby cry alone and always be responsive. I worked directly with this lady for a while, but even the "gentle" approach didn't feel right to me. I felt lost, I felt confused and I felt it was my problem... or even worse, my baby's problem. The consultant in fact told me that if I wasn't willing to make the changes she recommended, than I had to accept nothing was going to change. So I settled in the hope that I would feel more ready to make changes at some point later in the future. I didn't. I fact, 20 months later, I still don't feel ready. The difference is that now nobody can tell me that my baby's normal behaviour and that my normal biological desire to nurture him (day and night) despite my state of tiredness, need changing! It took me two sleep certifications and hours of relentless research to realise this, and now I would like to make my mission to help other mums (and families in general) to understand normal infant behaviour without going through the turmoil and the waste of money that I did.

Isa Ambrose