Exhaustion is any parent’s number one problem. Getting up with baby, being woken multiple times a night by poor sleepers – if they don’t sleep, we don’t sleep! But how do you get the kids to get a full night’s sleep so that you can get yourself some decent shut-eye too? Urban Suburban Mommy caught up with Camille Gemmell, WeeSleep Certified Infant Toddler Sleep Consultant, to ask the questions you know you want to know about sleep training.
1. At what age can you start sleep coaching a child? Is there an age at which it’s too late to sleep train?
It is best to teach your child healthy sleep habits when the parent is ready to. We work with newborns to work on sleep “shaping” skills to start great habits right from day 1, however, most of our clients hire us after the 4 month mark. And we have seen babies sleep 10 to 12 hours straight a night at 4 months, provided they are a healthy weight! We work with babies and toddlers of all ages, it’s never too late to change sleep habits.
2. Are bad sleep habits habitual? Is it a cycle that has to be broken?
Sleep habits can be habitual, or maybe something that started and couldn’t be stopped. New moms and dads are not taught these skills when they are preparing for their little one’s arrival, or they could be on their second or third child and they have completely different needs. When a plan is implemented and followed, any habits can be changed and is personalized for the baby and the family.
3. How long does it take to sleep train a child?
It depends. Every child is different. And every program, book, website has different advice. When WeeSleep works with families, your child will be sleeping through the night and falling asleep on their own for naps and nighttime within 10 days.
4. What should parents expect when sleep coaching and what do they have to commit to?
Committing to the process, working with their consultant and following the plan. We ask clients to clear their schedule for 10 days while they work with us so they are not thrown off or confusing their baby with social events or scheduling and routines that are not conducive to healthy sleep.
5. How do you manage more than one child waking up? Or an older child who wakes up their younger sibling? (this is one of my sleep issues)
All situations are different, and many factors can come into play:
Do they have separate rooms?
What is the age gap?
What do the nighttime routines look like for each child and how do they fall asleep?
We work with families that have more than 1 child all the time. There are ways to honour say, a youngest child’s sleep while the also looking after the older child’s scheduling needs, activities, events, school drives etc.
And if you have 2 children who need sleep help, we can sort both of the separate habits out so the whole family gets healthy sleep!
6. What if I child becomes ill – do you have to retrain?
If your child becomes ill and they have learned to sleep, they should be able to get through illness without reverting back to old sleep habits. We teach our clients how to keep things on track when their baby is ill, all while giving them the cuddles and the attention they require during that time.
7. What are the 3 biggest problems that you see when trying to help families with sleep?
- Parents have no routines in place for naps or bedtime – or both
- Baby depends on something for sleep – rocking or feeding for example
- Scheduling is not where it should be at
8. Most parents think that sleep coaching involves the “Cry it Out” method. Do you use this method, and is this true?
Our methods are gentle, and as loving as possible to get your child to fall asleep on their own. Every child is going to protest. There is NO way around it. However, when the protesting is managed properly and in a gentle, loving way, it will go away quickly. We educate our clients on why things are happening, and help guide you so your baby is always comfortable – and you as well! One of the biggest gifts you can give your child is the ability to fall asleep on their own, and this will last a lifetime.
9. Can every child sleep through the night, or are there some children that are just hardwired not to sleep well?
Every child can sleep through the night at a certain age and weight, and if they are healthy. When a child is set up for sleep success and parents are consistent and help guide their child properly, then absolutely they can rock a full night sleep! Everybody requires sleep and nobody is hardwired not to need sleep.
10. What do you say to parents who accept the fact that they do not sleep?
Everyone has different beliefs on what they should or should not do when it comes to sleep. It is 100% a personal choice.
Camille Gemmell is a mom whose life changed once she’d given her own child the gift of sleep – it’s why she chose to become a Sleep Consultant. She is passionate about helping others about get the sleep we need for our health, body and mind. As a Certified Infant Toddler Sleep Consultant she provides parents with the tools and support they need to get their little one napping during the day and sleeping through the night so that they gain more “awake” time to enjoy every moment with their little one and keep them healthy and happy!