He wasn’t a healthy boy. I had him at the Paediatrician from 1 week of age, and I was there every single week, saying ‘there is something wrong with my baby’. He cried constantly, never slept and was slowly losing weight. No one could tell me what was wrong. I was told that I was an overly anxious mother trying to find problems with a healthy little boy.
At 8 months, he was labelled failure to thrive and fell off the weight chart. I was told my baby was starving and to start him on formula. This was all after I had seen countless Lactation Consultants and was told that he was feeding fine. He was waking every 15 minutes all through the night for months on end and I couldn’t seem to get any help.
For months, I searched for help. Someone who could help me with my son sleep. I had two emotional breakdowns at separate occasions where I cried to my husband and told him how broken I was and didn’t know how I was supposed to keep doing this.
I kept on, but continued to struggle. I decided that there needed to be help out there for people like me and this led me to my drive to become a sleep consultant. So I started to investigate. I found a sleep course that I wanted to complete so I could become a sleep consultant.
Fast forward to when my son was 20 months of age, and he was taking over 1.5 hours to fall asleep and was waking up to 6 times a night. It was at this point that I actually found someone who was a sleep consultant and I enlisted their help. We used a gentle sleep guidance strategy to guide him to self-settle and sleep through the night. During the consult, we spoke about the sleep course, which was through the same company that my consultant worked for, and within that week, I had signed up to begin the course.
When my son was 2 years of age, I uncovered a physiological issue which was causing the sleep problems with my son. I finally had answers!
Now that sleep was working well for my son and he was sleeping through the night, my husband and I decided it was time to grow our family and I fell pregnant after our first attempt. However, history was going to repeat itself and at 7 weeks, I had a miscarriage.
I am different to most. Although I was very upset this had happened, I knew it happened for a reason and my body was doing what it was supposed to do. After all, if I didn’t have the first missed-miscarriage, I wouldn’t have my beautiful little boy. I knew that this cloud had a silver lining, I just couldn’t see it yet.
I fell pregnant again after another 4 months, and I continued on with my studies; I studied hard and received my qualification to become a Sleep Consultant. I began working as a Sleep Consultant for the company I trained with when I was 5 months pregnant.
I carried full-term. After a 1 hr and 50 minutes labor, my daughter was born. She was healthy and parenting the second time round was much easier than being a first time Mum.
Like 30% of children, my daughter didn’t just know how to sleep. When she was 4 months of age, I used a gentle sleep guidance method to guide her to independent settling and resettling.
I continued to work as a Sleep Consultant. But the more I practiced, the more I realised my personal practising preferences didn’t reflect those of the company that I worked for. Cry-based methods were encouraged because of how quickly they worked.
This didn’t sit well with me. I wasn’t comfortable using a cry based method with my own children, so why should I coerce my clients to do so. I felt that my personal up skilling was far exceeding what I had learnt from the training provider so I decided to start my own business, which honestly, had always been the plan.
My business partner and I took a leap and started our own business. The first business was a team of sleep consultants working for us around Australia.
The other business I started was a training institute, where I co-wrote two sleep consultants courses, and I mentor and lecture students to become a sleep consultant. My goal is to raise the standards of sleep consultant quality and shift that negative stigma.
Business as a team of consultants exceeded exceptionally well, but I needed to explore my own practicing model. It was wonderful being part of a team and being a director of the company, but I found my unique approach was lost and I wasn't able to truly shine as an individual.
This is when my business partner and I decided to split the businesses and focus heavily on our own brands. We didn't have the emotional focus or the time to dedicate to our team, our students or my clients.
So, I created Shereen Nielsen - Sleep and Behaviour Consulting.
With my brand and style, I am able to show people what my practicing model is. I am really able to let everyone know that, even though I will find the 'why' behind your child's poor sleep or awake time behaviour, I will also help you survive the troubled period and plan with you to improve the issues, long-term. All with using a gentle approach, with a method that is reflective of your parenting style and your child's temperament.
I have worked with thousands of clients and the success stories I have each week are growing.
My interest in Paediatric Sleep is increasing and I have undertaken further studies to grow my professional development. To support my burning drive to work with families and provide them with the most knowledge, information, tools and evidence-based research, I am now in training to become a Doula. Working with parents and their children is my love and not only is it my career, it's my life!
I look forward to continuing to expand on my experience and knowledge so I can offer you the best support network.
If you would like to connect and have a one on one chat to learn more about how I may be of benefit to you, click on the button below to schedule in a free Discovery Call
Doula and Sleep Coach
When my husband and I decided that it was time to start having a family, we weren’t quite expecting our journey to begin the way it did.
I fell pregnant immediately. The first pregnancy test I did, it was positive. We were so excited and couldn’t believe it happened so quickly!
At 12 weeks, it was time to have my first pregnancy scan so I went to the local clinic and had my ultrasound. But I wasn’t prepared for the news I was about to be told. The sonographer told me that my baby was not alive and the fetus had stopped growing at 6 weeks of age.
This was a big shock as my body was still responding to being pregnant as my uterus was occupied. Essentially, I had what is labelled as a ‘missed-miscarriage’. My body did not take the natural course of releasing the baby and I was left with a growing bump but no life inside. I was booked in immediately for a D&C.
Three months later, my husband and I tried again and I fell pregnant immediately. My pregnancy was easy and I was the ‘glowing pregnant lady’. At 36 weeks, I went in for my midwife appointment and it was found the my baby was becoming very distressed each time I had a Braxton Hicks contraction. His heart rate would drop dangerously low so I was induced. After a 1 hour and 45 minute labor, my son was born, 4 weeks early.