When you are pregnant it can often feel like the whole nine months is devoted to the process of getting that baby out.
Sure you might shop for a few cute bunny rugs and a raft of expensive items for your little one but you don’t pay a lot of attention to what’s going to occur when you bring your baby home.
A recent and very unscientific straw poll found that 100% of new mothers goggled “newborn + sleep” in the first 24 hours of being home.
The poll, conducted by me, of, well about 10 mums in a Facebook group, found that without fail first time parents felt ill prepared for what comes after you get home with that bundle of baby.
When you are pregnant it can often feel like the whole nine months is devoted to the process of getting that baby out. Via IStock.
Just a quick look online sees perturbed parents posing questions, ones with hindsight you could giggle at, but at the time that seem perfectly appropriate.
"We've been trying to always have one of us awake at all times watching the baby so that we're never both sleeping at the same time. Does a newborn need to be watched 24/7 or am I just stressing out over nothing?”
“How do I tell if my baby is asleep?”
So its no wonder that new mums are starting to book into sleep school before their baby is even born, according to a story in The Herald Sun.
According to the report waiting lists at some Melbourne sleep schools are now stretching to four months.
“Pregnant women are buying a cot, a bassinet, a car seat, a pram, a breast pump — and booking in for sleep school,” said author, midwife and maternal and child health nurse Cath Curtin.
“Mothers are so fixated about the birth … and then they go home and it’s like ‘Now what do I do?’
Ms Curtin said that she feels we have “lost touch in teaching parents how to parent.”
“It starts in hospital, where mums only stay for four days which is not long enough to be really taught what to do,” she said.
If someone urgently needs help they will skip the queue at Tresillian. Via IStock.
The manager of Masada Private Hospital’s mother-baby unit, Patsy Thean told The Herald Sun said her present waiting list was eight weeks. While other public units are quoted as having waiting lists of three to four months.
Ms Thean said that women often try to book in before their baby is born, but she discourages it.
“Not every baby will have a problem, so you have to wait for a couple of months first,” Ms Thean told The Herald Sun.
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Tresillian, Australia's largest early parenting organisation, offers a range of services for new parents struggling with sleep issues from outreach programs to day stays to four night/ five day residential programs.
The organisation told Mamamia that they have waiting lists but if someone urgently needs help they will skip the queue and be given priority with some parents being seen within seven days from their referral.
Leanne Daggar, the Operational Nurse Manager at Tresillian, says that they have seen mothers try to book in before birth - but as they work on a doctor's referral it is usual a mother who has experienced a medical issue or a loss.
She said they are seeing parents with a higher level of anxiety about their babies than they used to.
“There is a lot of pressure on parents these days” she said “ Parents experience so many should and should nots about what they are doing. We have a lot more knowledge and that creates a whole lot more pressure on parents”
She said that women often don’t have a lot of experience with babies unlike what they used to as the family unit shrinks so parents need information and support.
Women often don’t have a lot of experience with babies. Via IStock.
Suzanne Hurley, senior counsellor at Perinatal, Anxiety and Depression Australia told The Herald Sun there are many reasons for the popularity of sleep schools.
“Many new parents don’t have the skills,” she said. “Many of the mothers who call us haven’t even held a baby before having one.”
What we shouldn’t worry about though is failure.
Ms Daggar said often it’s not just about changing the baby but changing the expectations of the baby’s mum and dad.
“Parents need to feel comfortable and okay about what their babies sleep patterns are. They need to get to a good base where everyone is happy with where things are at.”
“Not all babies will sleep at first. But eventually they will.”