Updated: Aug 30
I remember when I was a first time parent to my little baby boy. My gosh, he was HARD work! He cried all the time, vomited excessively, fed beyond frequently and never slept. I questioned my parenting. I questioned my abilities as a mother. I wondered what I was doing wrong?!
I looked at my sister who had more than 1 child, and every other Mum I knew, and tearily pondered how they could possibly have more than 1 child. What were they doing so RIGHT? Why could they handle parenting but I couldn’t?
I had these thoughts ALL.THE.TIME. By the time my son was 20 months, I was still struggling with his sleep. I was rocking him to sleep, waking 6 times a night to resettle him and battled with his eating habits. I sought advice from many others but was always told it was normal. One doctor even told me I was an “overly anxious mother trying to find problems in a perfectly healthy little boy”.
Overly anxious?! Perhaps, but only because my first 20 months as a first time Mum were beyond challenging. Perfectly healthy little boy?! I certainly didn’t think so.
Through my studies to become a sleep consultant, and my concerns as a Mum, I quickly realised how important it was to look at sleep from a more holistic perspective, and through a lens of “there is more going on here”. I am not crazy, I am not terrible at parenting...my son is struggling.
On this basis, I started to explore WHY my child was so resistant on sleep. I focused on investigating what caused him to fight sleep so much, wake up so frequently and need such a high level of assistance to settle and resettling. And I found my answers on my own journey.
The bottom line here is, sleep shouldn’t be that hard! It is a normal biological process that should be relatively easily achieved and if it’s not, and you’re questioning your parenting or your abilities, then there is something else going on that you need to explore. Note: sleep shouldn’t be that hard! And if it is, you need to dig deeper. Perhaps you already are digging, and delving right into your why, but cannot find someone who will actually listen!?
Don’t settle for “it’s normal” or that it’s your fault your child struggles with sleep. For those who need to hear it, it’s NOT your fault. If sleep is that hard, then there will be an underlying issue causing difficulties for your child to achieve healthy sleep. I call them underlying issues because they are difficult to find and are not obvious.
It is so important for not only you, but also your child, to determine what the underlying issue is so you can improve their sleep, support their optimal growth and quality of life.
I have moulded my practicing to address underlying factors, and not just focus on the basic structural or behavioural concepts. I will hear you and listen to you. This is the key to my success with families. If you’re exasperated, tired and have completely exhausted all avenues on sleep, but are still on your journey, then please reach out to me. I promise I will be able to help you achieve the changes you desire and reach your goals.
Book in for a free 15 minute discovery call to talk more about how I can help.
Forever bringing sleep to families,
My name is Shereen Nielsen and I am a certified infant and child sleep consult, working with children aged birth to 12 years. I am also a lecturer and mentor for students on their journey towards becoming a Sleep Consultant, through my on-line internationally recognised sleep consultants course.