‘Without enough sleep, we all become tall two- year olds’, Jojo Jensen
I’ve been working as a parent and baby coach/sleep specialist for over 15 years now, and in that time I’ve come to realise that sleep is crucial for our emotional well-being.
I often get calls from parents who are feeling very low because their infant isn’t sleeping well. I can hear the desperation in their voice as they explain the challenges they face. When you are sleep deprived everything around you starts to crumble – the housework doesn’t get done, you start eating unhealthy food, you take less care of yourself. Your relationship with your partner is suffering, as you are too tired to communicate with each other. You can become forgetful and depressed, and start living on autopilot.
This sleep deprivation goes on for days, or weeks, or even months, until you start googling for “child sleep specialists”.
After speaking with clients, I’m often told that they feel better just through talking to me and lightening their load. We go through a consultation process which enables the parent to pinpoint their goals; the parent then decides if they would like to work with me in order to tackle their little one’s sleep challenges.
We discuss the challenges they face and how we are going to improve sleep – this is when I start to see an improvement in their mood. Parents no longer feel alone, they have me to share the burden, and they feel better knowing a plan is in place.
The support I offer parents is holistic and empathic. I’m there to offer support when needed and to guide the parents through the sleep coaching process.
Once the package has ended it’s amazing what a transformation has taken place, not only in the quality and amount of sleep, but also parent emotional well-being. Parents tell me they are eating better, seeing more of friends and family, and enjoying their little one even more than they did before. And they have a more satisfying relationship with their partner.
I’ve been told how I have “transformed lives” and that I’ve turned a “tired house” into a “happy house”. It’s just so rewarding to hear this. I absolutely love supporting families, and each family, each infant is unique, which means I never get bored.
It can also be very challenging for me. I hope I haven’t made it sound like an easy job because it definitely isn’t. I can encounter difficult situations, which is why it’s so important for me to get support from a supervisor or colleague.
I am so pleased that I qualified as a psychotherapist, because I feel that sleep and emotional wellbeing are linked, and it’s vital to be able help parents with both. I offer an empathic and non-judgmental approach, which enables parents to feel relaxed and honest about how they are feeling.
My sleep coaching methods are gentle and I never use “cry it out”, which means letting your baby cry themselves to sleep. I generally use 3 methods, and I help the parents decide which method suits them best. I never decide for them, as it’s important that they feel comfortable and confident with the approach. Often I carry out the sleep coaching in-house as parents prefer to have me there in person, supporting and guiding them. This then gives them the confidence to carry out the coaching themselves – with my full support.
I’m so lucky to be able to support so many amazing families, who will often contact me after the package has ended to gain support for other transitions, such as weaning, potty training and behaviour coaching.