Calling in the experts for a peaceful nights sleep.
Ah, sleep. Remember that? The joy that comes with being a mama is the most amazing feeling in the world! The lack of sleep that accompanies it, however, is most definitely not. If you’re one of the lucky ones and your child sleeps like a dream – fantastic! If you fall into the no-sleep camp though, I feel your pain. We all adore our little love bugs like there is no tomorrow, but you’re probably reading this because “tomorrow” seems to endlessly blur into today, and the next day, and the day after that, with very little rest in between. First things first, you’re not alone (*sleepily raises hand*), and secondly, there is help out there! If you want to reach out to someone for assistance, we’ve got some sleep coaches (get your little one trained to fall asleep and stay asleep) and night nurses (to help with baby care, like feeding, throughout the night) in Hong Kong, with additional resources thrown in for good measure. Land of nod, here we come.
Read more: How Much Sleep Do Children Need?
To Sleep Train Or Not?
Ferber, pick up/put down, chair method, no cry, controlled crying, cry it out, everybody cries…it seems there are a bunch of different techniques you can try to get your little one sleeping longer stretches and more peacefully at night. Sleeping through the night for babies is actually considered to be a stretch of six to eight hours of sleep without the need of a caregiver to resettle them if they wake. It might also be that your little one has trouble napping through the day and you have no idea where to start trying to help them (and you) out.
Sleep training might not be for everybody. Some recommendations state that you shouldn’t sleep train a baby under six months old as it takes anywhere from three to six months to establish their natural circadian rhythm; caregivers should also explore if there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed (such as colic or reflux). Though, in the baby world of sleep, what we might consider a “problem” might actually be quite normal as babies’ sleep cycles are different to ours. Adult sleep cycles range anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes, while for babies, these can last around 50 minutes. The Sleep Foundation points out that children should be sleeping soundly through the night in cycles of 90 to 100 minutes by the time they reach school age. So we only have to worry about the lack of Zs for the first four years of their life? Easy! (Sorry, did I say “easy”? I meant “Erm…nope”!)
While we’re all hoping for a small miracle, it’s also worth noting that although there are certifications and qualifications to be had, there is currently no official regulation surrounding sleep coaches and consultants, so be sure to do your research and check recommendations before you go down this route, especially as it can be quite costly (though some might argue that it’s worth every penny if you all manage to actually get some sleep!). The question might also arise as to whether or not “training” a baby to sleep is the right way to go (though try saying this to an extremely sleep-deprived parent and you might end up wearing their coffee!). But things are changing in the baby sleep training world. The International Association Of Child Sleep Consultants (IACSC), for example, has made it their mission to regulate sleep coach qualifications by setting high standards towards training and certification, complete with a code of ethics.
I’ve Had It With The All Day Coffee, I Need Help!
When all is said and done, not only does your little one feel out-of-sorts if they’re not well-rested, but the lack of sleep can have a huge impact on parents as well. I, for one, have at times felt as though I’m not giving 100% to my one-year-old during the day, simply because I’m so exhausted! The short fuse created by being so sleepy can also have an impact on your relationship with your partner and friends as well. We put on a brave face, smile and make the most of our children’s fleeting baby years – that goes without saying – but I can’t help but wonder what more I might be able to offer if I wasn’t having to reach for my fifth coffee to keep going. So, if enough is enough for you, a sleep consultant (or night nurse) just might be your savour.
Sleep Coaches, Consultants And Night Nurses In Hong Kong
The Sleeep Lab was founded by mum of two, Jade Dharmana, who had experienced her fair share of sleepless nights as a new parent to her gorgeous firstborn who had colic. Confusion set in after consulting countless books, blogs, websites and advice from so many different sources, and so she enlisted the help of a sleep consultant. Finally, the whole family managed to get a much better night’s sleep and her fascination for the topic was born. Since then, she sleeps a whole lot better and has helped many other parents in sleep-deprived need! A Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant (via the International Maternity and Parenting Institute), Jade also has a BSc in Experimental Psychology and offers one-on-one consultations ($2,000 to $5,500), guided sleep coaching ($6,000 to $9,800) and group sessions ($1,000 per person), all via the comfort of your home or through phone or video calls. Her holistic approach (no tough crying out here!) believes that each child is unique so there is no one-size-fits-all solution, so she’ll analyse everything from your child’s nutrition to environment, daily activities, routines, sleep associations and much more before giving you a plan of action.
As a paediatric doctor, accredited Neuroprotective Developmental Care Practitioner and mum of two, Dr Clementine David knows a thing or two about babies and children. She founded Held to help fellow parents understand and help their little ones thrive in every aspect, be it sleep, breastfeeding, behaviour or more. Her approach takes the whole family into consideration when addressing each case, and she can help with newborns, babies and toddlers. You can book a newborn preparation programme ($1,800 to $2,200) if you’re expecting, or consultation for when your bubba arrives – either at home or online. Held also has a specific sleep programme ($1,200 to $1,600 for 90 minutes), which doesn’t include crying it out which will be music to many parents’ ears! If you’ve got a baby on the way, you can also sign up to the Preparing For Life With A Newborn talk by Clementine by Petit Tippi; ideal for parents in their second or early third trimester, this workshop will cover areas such as sleeping, feeding and settling.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Melinda Hunt has helped numerous new parents since moving to Hong Kong over nine years ago. A mother of five (including identical twins) she’s well experienced in taking care of newborns, babies and toddlers, and is a trained Happiest Baby On The Block instructor. Her services include night nursing (assistance feeding, settling and soothing techniques, establishing a routine, parental support and more) which is $300 to $350 per hour, 24-hour maternity nursing, and even a deluxe first time parents night nursing, baby basics and concierge package among other things. It’s best to book her in advance if you’re looking for a dedicated amount of time to help with sleep training so she can ensure her time is dedicated to your needs.
With over 20 years of experience as a maternity nurse, Louise Barnardo can help with sleep-related issues and also newborn care, bathing techniques and developmental stimulation. The sleep training programme is for 7 to 10 or more nights ($320 per hour) and includes a consultation before a detailed personal plan based on your preferences and temperament of your youngster is created. Using baby centred care, Louise highlights that there is no right or wrong way to sleep train – it all comes down to your baby, your parenting style and what you’re comfortable with. You can opt for the night nurse package instead if that’s better suited to you. For $300 per hour ($350 for twins) you can get respite while you recover from delivery, breastfeeding and lactation support, nighttime formula feeding and advice, establishing routines and more. Day time help is also available.
Alison became a certified Sleep Sense™ Consultant after a friend recommended trying a sleep coach to help her daughter who struggled to sleep through the night. On seeing positive results in just a few days, she wanted to share the love with other mamas. There are three programmes to choose from, each spanning two weeks and includes a detailed assessment, consultation step-by-step customised plan and follow up phone or video calls. Get help for newborns (birth to 12 weeks), babies (13 weeks to 24 months), toddlers and older children (2 to 7 years). Prices range from $2,850 to $4,250, and you can add on additional services such as in-home support and help with twins or siblings.
Other Child And Baby Sleep Solutions
It’s worth speaking to the hospital where you delivered as they might also be able to recommend professional help. While there is a lot of self-help books and websites out there, a couple that have really helped more than one Sassy Mama include The No Cry Sleep Solution and Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. There are hundreds of websites also claiming that if you pay for a package they can help in the sleep department. Again, always do your research to make sure it’s a good fit for you and do read the blog by Baby Sleep Answers (free!) which address common situations that parents face.
You might also want to invest in a night light, white noise machine, lullaby playing soft toy (or a combination of all three!) that can help your little one to self-settle if waking through the night. My midwife recommend this app when my daughter was a newborn to hook up to a wireless speaker – it can actually automatically play sounds when triggered by noise but you have to have your mobile phone close by the baby’s room. You can also look for a variety of gadgets (some available with international shipping, others available online in Hong Kong and frequently sold second-hand) to help your little one drift off to sleep. The popular Tommee Tippee Ollie The Owl Rechargeable Light and Sound Sleep Aid can automatically play 20 minutes of self-settling tunes if the sensor hears your baby crying. Or perhaps try the Skip Hop Baby Sound Machine: Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight Soother which not only has lullabies, nature sounds and a soft glowing night light, but a starry night projection as well. The Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light and Time-to-Rise is also gaining some great reviews from parents as it trains little ones when it’s ok to wake up with a traffic light system (as well as being a sound machine) that can be programmed and accessed via your mobile phone. Be warned though that you have to sign up to be a member (giving lots of free data about you and your child) before you can use it. If you have been using a lot of Grobags, you probably are already a fan of the company’s products and could also try the Gro Clock to get your early birds to stay in bed a little while longer.
Good luck Mama, just never forget that you’re not alone – we’re in this together.