Meet my Sleep Whisperer…

My dream: sleeping baby + cupcake

I’ve never had a baby who slept through the night. Not spontaneously. Not even close. Not without help.

And for me, that help came in the form of my beloved Sleep Whisperer. I wrote about Elizabeth Sloane and what happened when she came to give our family “the gift of sleep” as she calls it here – and boy, was it the best gift I’d ever received. The gift that keeps on giving. And giving. Every. Single. Night. Ever since she first came four and a half years ago.

When I was in hospital having just given birth to Remy two years ago, I texted her: “It’s a boy! Book me in 6 months from today!” And she did. I receive at least one email per week from desperate, sleep-deprived mothers who remember reading about the Sleep Whisperer in my book, begging me for her number.

So I thought I’d do an interview with her for Mamamia. We sat down on my floor (I DO like being on the floor…) a couple of weeks ago and had a big chat about sleeeeep, controlled crying, the effect of sleep deprivation on new mothers and why we seem to have turned sleep into an industry.

(we also discovered we were wearing the same bras under our t-shirts but I digress….)

We chatted for almost half an hour and I tried to edit it but then I realised that if you’re interested in this topic, you will happily sit for 17 hours and gobble up every morsel of information about sleep and how to get more of it. So I kind of just left it. It certainly covers all the bases and at the end, it says how you can be in touch with Elizabeth direct.

Even if this isn’t relevant to you right now, please share it with your friends who have babies…..sleep deprivation can be a horribly lonely experience and it’s vital to know you’re not alone.

Without further ado…..

The other reason I was prompted to interview Elizabeth was this bit of research that was released a few weeks ago.  ABC reports in part:

“Paediatrician Harriet Hiscock from The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute was part of a world-first study that followed up 225 six-year-old children who had received behavioural sleep intervention as babies to assess their health including emotional wellbeing, behaviour and child-parent relationship. The study showed intervention during infancy significantly reduced sleep problems in children and depression among mothers during the first two years of the child’s life.

It found techniques including ‘controlled crying’ – which helps babies learn to put themselves to sleep by letting them cry for set periods of time – and positive bedtime routines, had no adverse affects on the emotional and behavioural development of children or their relationship with parents when compared to children who as babies had sleep problems but received no sleep intervention.

The study helps to reassure parents and health professionals about the safety of sleep interventions in infants aged six months and older, especially as a strategy to prevent and treat postnatal depression. Parents can feel reassured they are not harming their babies by using sleep interventions like controlled crying.”

I know this can be a huge area of contention for parents – the whole idea of sleep training or controlled crying or whatever you want to call it. Elizabeth and I will both get amongst the comments as much as we can over the next few days.

What did you do with your baby? Any sleep tips for your fellow readers?

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