I am a certified sleep trainer of the Sleep Sense method. This means I’ve studied and undertaken intensive residential and distance training with Dana Obleman, the founder of the US-based Sleep Sense™ programme.
Continuing education is very important to me and I stay up to date on everything from reflux and infant digestion to safe sleeping practices and of course newborn, baby sleep & toddler sleep.
I practice the The Sleep Sense™ method with families throughout the UAE and globally.
This sleep training was created out of a strong belief that healthy sleep habits make for healthy children and as testament to this, to-date more than 57,000 children and their families have benefited from this approach worldwide.
There are various other sleep training approaches, but the reason that the Sleep Sense™ method is so effective and resonated with me and my clients so much is that it lets you develop a sleep training plan that you feel comfortable with based on what you know about your child.
A lot of people ask me how sleep training works.
I create a customised child-centric, parent-led sleep plan for each family I work with. In essence, it’s a schedule for 14 days and nights of when to eat and sleep. The sleep plan varies depending on the age and needs of the child or children.
The sleep coaching process is initiated with a no-obligation telephone consultation to understand the family’s situation and explore whether my method could work for them. If we both feel it can, I visit them at home in Abu Dhabi or Dubai (or virtually through Zoom globally) to outline how they can create an optimal sleep environment for their child and discuss the steps they need to carry out to ensure they are fully prepared to follow the schedule I then create.
Once they begin to implement this, I am on hand to support them as they need it via zoom, telephone calls and messages. The time we usually work together lasts two weeks.
I’m a huge supporter of breastfeeding – it is such a great bonding experience for you both, not to mention the health benefits! But it’s your choice, always!
As I create your bespoke sleep coaching plan, I don’t focus on how you feed your child, just that they are getting enough to eat and at the right times of day while you’re teaching them to sleep.
In a word, no. Co-sleeping should stop when it’s not working for everyone (you, your partner and your baby). That’s where I come in.
My role is to help you transition your baby or toddler into their own bed in their own room.
This said, if putting your little one in their own room is just too hard or simply not an option due to space, then we can definitely work with room sharing, just not bed sharing.
I couldn’t do that with my son, and I would never ask another parent to do something I haven’t done myself!
This said, unfortunately, there will be some crying during the sleep training process. If there was a magic wand to make it a cry free experience, I would gladly share it with you. But here’s the thing, babies are just too young to use words and tell you they preferred falling asleep with their bottle for comfort, or on you, or in your bed, or by being rocked, etc, etc. They can’t verbalise this in any other way than a little cry of protest.
But don’t worry, this is where I come in along with my years of experience. I will coach you through handling your little one’s protests as gently as possible. As a Sleep Sense consultant, I will work with you to create a bespoke sleep plan for your little one, and we can explore the best method for your child to minimise the protests as much as possible within all of your comfort zones.
Using my gentle sleep training plan, you’ll be in the room comforting and teaching them how to sleep on their own – you won’t be putting them in bed and simply shutting the door. My plans are tailored to you all, and I listen carefully to your wishes with how you want to handle many different scenarios that could arise so you have the tools to confidently draw on when it’s bedtime.
Also, please remember that once babies learn how to fall asleep on their own – which can happen pretty quickly – the crying goes away!
Together we will create a sleep coaching plan bespoke to you, your child and daily routine to make it work. If you have a nanny / helper supporting you home, it isn’t a big issue either because, presumably, your nanny will follow the plan just as you will.
I will also be giving you tips on working with your childcare provider, including how to prep your nanny and / or nursery so they follow your wishes and remain consistent with our plan.
My service is so personalised I find that three clients a week works best for all.
It gives me the time I need to create the bespoke sleep programme tailored to each family’s lifestyle and the challenges they face, as well as ensuring I am always available to give timely and effective coaching through the implementation stages over the two weeks that follow.
Don’t worry though, I do have a waiting list and if you feel you really can’t wait then let’s talk and together we’ll figure out a plan!
Sleep coaching can be controversial, but this is due to the common misconception that sleep training simply means that the child will be left alone to cry alone in their room until they eventually fall asleep exhausted, under the so-called ’cry it out’ method.
This is not the only method of sleep coaching – I offer a gentle programme which is a child-centric, parent-led method that helps families all get a good night’s sleep. It’s based on a gradual withdrawal approach and does not involve excessive crying or causing the child, or parents, emotional discomfort. Parents feel confident as they are present during the sleeping time but they reduce their contact over a course of 10 days. The child acquires the skills of self-soothing and self-reliance, giving them the confidence in their own abilities to fall asleep at bedtime and to go back to sleep if they wake up in the night.
Sleep coaching can be a bit of rollercoaster ride in the initial stages – like all stages of parenting, it is a process that takes both time and patience.
Ultimately, consistency is the key to success. It is crucial in helping children sleep through the night and take good naps on their own. In the initial stages, they may have a good night, then a not so good night, then a few good nights and so on. I am always on hand to reassure parents that this is all part of the process and with time it will become more and more consistent.
As a sleep trainer, I thrive on the times when parents reach out to me because they are finding things tough because it’s at this point I can remind them of the amazing progress they’re making in improving their child’s sleep habits and bring their awareness to all of the changes and improvements that have been achieved in such a short space of time. Just that little extra reassurance is all that is needed to support and empower the parents to push on.
My services can start from even before a child is born! Sometimes I have expectant parents reach out to me as they prepare for their baby’s birth and want to ensure as ideal an environment as possible.
In terms of an optimal age to begin sleep coaching for a child, I have found that babies aged 5-7 months respond the quickest. This is due to their stage of development and maturity – they’re young enough to not really notice the changes, but old enough to tolerate structure and routine.
I’ve helped over 450 families successfully coach their child to sleep soundly.
A few parents have told me that their child is un-coachable, but that’s never been the case and usually any issues take just a day or two of gentle coaching to overcome before we begin to make solid progress.
Parents who use my sleep training methods with their children can expect to have no regression when teething or through other developmental stages.
For my former clients, any time an issue arises, for example a house move, birth of a sibling, travel overseas, etc, I always tell my parents to reach out to me so I can support them through any changes which may occur.
My expertise lies in fully preparing and providing the right level of support for parents as I help them to coach their child to better sleep. My aim is to ensure that they always feel empowered in managing their child’s bedtime independently of me.
I do currently offer a virtual home visit service where I can be present at bedtime and overnight if the family require this, however the purpose of this is for me is to be on hand to support the parents and encourage techniques to enable them to feel confident in handling their child’s bedtime and own the sleep coaching process themselves.
The key to success in all aspects of a child’s life, regardless of age, is routine.
Understanding the family’s current and potential routine is where I always start with parents. Anything that parents can handle alone I’m always delighted to hear, but if it’s taking longer than desired, or if more personalised help, guidance and support is needed then the parents should reach out to me.
With my breadth of experience from over 400 people who have successfully sleep coached with my programme, I’m confident that within two weeks everyone can have sweet dreams again!
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