When people hear I am a mum of five they sometimes think I must be a parenting expert by now. While I consider myself quite experienced at changing nappies, wrestling a wiggly baby into a bodysuit and swaddling a newborn in a few quick moves there are plenty of things I still struggle with too. It is no secret that all babies are different and they all come with their own challenges with sleep being one of the biggest battles for most families (including ours!).
Over time many babies settle into a ‘proper’ sleeping pattern by themselves but sometimes this doesn’t happen naturally and slowly the whole family starts to suffer from sleep deprivation. If you are in desperate need of some much-needed zzz’s you’ll be glad to know The Sleep Coach is here to help:
Snooze Specialist Cheryl Fingleson, also known as The Sleep Coach, is a lovely Australian mum of two who has a real heart for helping young children, and their parents, achieve the restful sleep they all need. As a certified gentle sleep coach Cheryl is experienced, fully trained and well-equiped to develop effective, personal sleeping solutions that will fit your family’s situation and needs perfectly.
Personally I found it very reassuring that Cheryl only supports safe and gentle sleep techniques and does not believe in leaving babies or children to cry it out (CIO), nor in the practices of controlled crying. Even co-sleeping is not necessarily a no-go, here are Cheryl’s top tips for co-sleeping the safe way:
How to Co-Sleep Safely:
Make sure your mattress is firm, as your baby could suffocate or overheat on a soft mattress. If your bed has a frame, a headboard, or is against a wall, make sure the mattress fits snugly, so your baby can’t fall into any gaps. This risk is highest when your baby is between 3 months and 10 months.
Keep the bedding light and minimal, and don’t use a duvet if you are co-sleeping. If your baby is less than a year old, use lightweight covers, and use them sparingly to prevent overheating or suffocation. This risk is highest during his first three months of his life. Check every now and then to make sure he hasn’t wriggled down and covered his head.
Never sleep on a sofa with your baby, as he could become wedged in the cracks between the sofa cushions or between you and the back of the sofa. Don’t co-sleep on a waterbed as these are too soft and may have deep crevices around the frame where your baby could get trapped.
Keep your baby warm, not hot, and dress him lightly for sleep. Contact with your body will raise his skin temperature. As a rule of thumb, if you’re a comfortable temperature, then your baby probably is, too.
Don’t let your baby and toddler sleep next to each other in bed. Toddlers don’t understand the risks, and could roll over onto your baby, or put an arm across his mouth or head. You or your partner should always sleep between the children if you want them both in your bed.
Your baby should never be left alone on the bed, as he could easily fall out, even if you’ve just nipped to the loo. Don’t let your baby sleep on a pillow, or put one either side of him, as he may roll off it or be smothered in the folds.
Buy a rail to attach to the side of the bed or put him in a safe place, such as a bassinette or cot, while you are out of the room.
When is co-sleeping not safe?
Do not co-sleep if:
- You or your partner smoke.
- Your baby was premature or had a low birth weight.
- You or your partner have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medication or drugs. This may affect your memory and you could forget that your baby is in your bed and roll over onto him. You may also sleep so soundly that you are unaware that you’ve rolled on to him.
- You are extremely tired, or have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnoea. You may be in such a deep sleep that you don’t wake up if you roll onto your baby.
To find out more about The Sleep Coach, to see what services Cheryl offers and to inquire about a sleep solution for your family visit www.thesleepcoach.com.au.