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Marissa Wallis and Amelia Lamont are passionate about sleep. Why? Well, they’ve been in the shoes of many of our Bounty Parents readers.
Both mothers themselves, Amelia and Marissa have struggled through night after night of sleep deprivation with a baby who just won’t sleep. They’ve been there and done that, and most importantly, they came out on the other side with babies that ended up sleeping like angels.
It’s these personal journeys that led the two friends to launch Baby Sleep School. Providing parents with instantly downloadable PDF sleep programs that can be implemented in the safety and comfort of the family home, Baby Sleep School has sold more than 10,000 guides and helped thousands of families across the country since launching three years ago.
Mum-of-four, Marissa explains that the programs were developed and based on a lot of personal experience.
“When my youngest was born I knew immediately he was going to be a bad sleeper. He screamed the full five nights I was in hospital and did not sleep!” she says.
“After months of sleep deprivation I knew I needed help, so I sought advice from a professional sleep consultant. Getting Atticus’ sleep on track with a solid routine and gentle settling techniques wasn’t easy, but it changed our whole family unit once we saw success.
“From here I knew I wanted to empower other Mums. I wanted to make a difference to families’ lives, assisting them with support and encouragement and teaching them that they too can come out of the depths of sleep deprivation and have a happy baby” Marissa explains.
Although still a sleep nightmare, Amelia’s journey was a little different. A mother of two and professional midwife to many, Amelia knows a thing or two when it comes to babies yet struggled immensely when her first-born son (who was a dream sleeper) did a U-turn in the sleep department when he was three months old.
“No matter what advice I took or book, website or routine I read, I could not get Alfie back on track. Catnapping was the new norm and I can’t even tell you the amount of night wakings that were occurring. I tried everything! I co-slept (and he HATED it), I fed him to sleep (then he began using me to settle and ended up resenting the breast come night time), I walked and drove for hours on end to no avail, and I almost broke my back from hours of rocking, shooshing, swaying, patting and nursing.
“After months of struggling night and day, I was at breaking point and that’s where my beautiful business partner Amelia came in. She is the reason we went to Sleep School. She encouraged me (thank goodness) and assured me that seeking professional help from gentle sleep consultants would be life changing and that it was. This is how Baby Sleep School started. With further study, we decided that we wanted to help other mums in need – if we could come out on the other side with babies who are happier and better sleepers, imagine all the mums, dads, babies and families we could assist in transitioning to sleep, sleep and more sleep” says Amelia.
Read on for Amelia and Marissa’s 10 best sleepy time tips.
The ergoPouch sleeping bag is designed for children who are sleeping arms free, not swaddled.
1. Routine – Easier said than done, we’re well aware of this, but babies are creatures of habit and if you do the same thing at the same time each day, your baby will soon be using this as their sleepy cues. For example, wake up from nap, feed and then play, then back to sleep. After a few days your bub will know that after playtime comes bedtime and there will be much less resistance come nap time!
2. Relax – This ones for you, Mumma. Our little ones feed off of our temperament and anxiety, so if you approach sleepy time with a nonchalant approach, we guarantee your bub will go down MUCH easier. Next time you put your baby down for a nap, take a super relaxed approach and think to yourself – ‘what is the worst thing that can happen if my baby doesn’t sleep?’
3. Darkness – A dark room decreases the chances of your bub becoming distracted by anything on the wall or surroundings. Something as small as a shadow or a print on the wall is enough to keep your baby awake and overstimulate them. Our Sleepy Blind is a great way to ensure this doesn’t become any issue!
4. White Noise/ lullabies – Rumour has it that lullabies can cause a baby to become more stimulated at bedtime, but we disagree. White noise is great for many babies, but we personally believe gentle lullabies are far more relaxing than the sound of a vacuum or hairdryer in your ear. Every bub is different though, so it’s best to see what works best for your little one.
White noise or a gentle lullaby can help your little one to drift off.
5. Tired cues – This is a big one! Our children are our greatest educators so we need to listen to them. If your baby is showing any tired signs, pop them to bed. Even if it isn’t bed time according to their schedule, your baby is telling you what they want in this instance, so follow their lead.
6. Consistency – You need to stay consistent to be fair to your baby. Stick with the same routine and settling techniques for a few days before you try a new one. Chopping and changing will lead to a disastrous sleep and an overwhelmed bub.
7. Patience – This really is key. Without patience, sleep will not be achievable. This is when you need to go back to tip number two – just relax.
Keep a look out for baby’s tired signs, it’s a cue they are ready for sleep. A baby sleep bag keep bub snug and securely swaddled, this one is from ergoPouch.
8. Nap resitance – If your little one is refusing sleepy time, take a short break. Regroup, calm baby and try again in 15-20 minutes. Nap resistance can be a sign of both an overtired or undertired baby. Find the sweet spot by tweaking nap times over a few days if your bub continues resisting.
9. Wind down routine – This is CRITICAL in setting the scene for a full night’s sleep ahead. It can be as simple as cutting all technology (TV, IPad etc.) which we recommend a few hours prior to bed. Keep your dinner, bath, feed and bedtime routine consistent.
10. Let them be little – This could not be more true! Whilst sleep is so important for your babies overall health and development, sometimes they just want and need you. Embrace it and enjoy those snuggly, sleepy cuddles while you can.
Visit Baby Sleep School for more information or to purchase a PDF sleep guide. Designed to cater to all stages of sleep, Amelia and Marissa have created guides for newborns, 3-12 months old, 12-24 months old and 2-4 year old children.