I have been very fortunate this month to have met four amazing families who have booked Sleep Solution Consultations with me. I thought I would share a little bit about what is involved with a consultation and the follow up support I am able to offer.
After an initial chat on the phone to get a brief history of the issues, I ask the parents to complete a five night sleep diary prior to our consultation. This enables me to have a clear understanding of what is happening at night and during the day, and how the parents are dealing with the issues.
Parents often ask if it is really necessary to complete a diary and are keen to book the consultation as soon as possible. However, I compare a sleep diary before a sleep consultation to the similarity of keeping a food diary before you go on a diet!! I know that I am the worst person for thinking that I can’t possibly be putting on weight because I really don’t eat much during the day, and it is only when I start to write down everything, that I suddenly realise I eat rather more biscuits and sweets than I think I do! And sleep diaries are no different – parents are often so exhausted that they don’t realise quite how many times each night their little one wakes up and is fed, or quite how long it takes to get their little one to bed each night. Often clients email me their diaries just before we meet, as it gives me an opportunity to look through it in advance.
I am able to either visit a client in their own home or we can do the consultation over Skype or Facetime. My aim is for consultations to be as relaxed as possible and for everything to continue as normal – often babies and children need to be fed, put down for naps or wake up during the consultation and this is all perfectly okay.
I have a detailed questionnaire that I complete with the parents which enables me to build up a picture about their sleep issues, their parenting styles, routines, nap times, feeding and meal times, and any possible sleep training that they may have tried before.
When we meet, parents are often both physically and emotionally exhausted from long term lack of sleep, and occasionally parents are surprised that they may become upset and tearful when talking in detail about their little ones sleep, or lack of sleep! I always feel incredibly privileged when a family share their worries and concerns. Sometimes the toughest part of any process is admitting that changes need to be made and facing your worries about change itself, as this can often feel so daunting. I hope that together with their personal sleep plan, I can work through the solutions with them and enable everyone to get more sleep.
Once the questionnaire is complete, we can then talk about possible sleep solution strategies and techniques to help improve their little ones sleep and enable them to achieve their personal goals for their baby or child’s sleep. We also talk about promoting calm environments, positive sleep associations, how to establish flexible routines and encourage good sleep habits.
All the strategies and techniques that I discuss with parents are suggestions. It is never up to me to dictate exactly what a family should or shouldn’t do – I do not have a “one routine fits all” policy and I very much hope that my suggestions sit comfortably within their style of parenting and home life. I always remind parents that it is very important that they as parents feel comfortable with any changes that they are making.
Sometimes, when changing a child or baby’s routine, or introducing settling techniques, things often get worse before they get better – two steps forward and one step back! However, I believe my gentle, calm and consistent approach is reassuring for parents and their babies or children, and that they will very soon begin to see improvements in their child’s sleep, once they start putting the strategies and techniques into practise.
I am very happy to keep in regular telephone or email contact with my families, to support and encourage them in establishing their new routine. I understand that there might be queries or uncertainties that need to be clarified, or small changes to be made to their personal sleep plan.
Quick questions and short emails are complimentary; however I do charge £15 for longer follow up emails or telephone conversations.3 months unlimited support via email / phone / text is available after a sleep solutions consultation for £75 (you can chose to upgrade to this support at any point, and previous charges for follow up support will be deducted from the £75).
I would be delighted to chat through with you any sleep issues you may be currently facing with your baby or child, to discuss how I can help you achieve better sleep for your whole family.
More details can be found at www.thematernitynanny.co.uk