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5 Things I wish I'd done differently....

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

As a first time mum, I felt absolutely lost in the world of sleep. And parenthood at that! I read a lot of baby sleep books, my son was extremely time sensitive and I did find a routine that worked for him. I worked on this bedtime routine and we did find our way!... Until the toddler years hit and that brought us some unexpected turns. Again we got through it but it was so hard to navigate alone.

When my youngest was born, things were so different. We had to nap on the go for the nursery runs, she was so adaptable and easy going. But a lot of sleep challenges in her way - and the reason why I am now here doing what I do!

Throughout my training and qualifications in Infant & Child Sleep - I learnt a lot. And even more so when I started working with families before I started business up fully.

And here are my 5 things I now wouldn't do as a sleep consultant.

  1. Worry about holding my new-born too much. And to be fair - I didn't worry about this ever with my two. I loved the new-born snuggles but also found ways where we could have a balance in it and change their sleep space. What you read about online now is trying to take those cuddles away really early and that doesn't have to be the case. The new-born snuggles are so important for their biorhythms and learning to sleep! So if you feel it's all you are doing in the early days, don't worry! Or you can choose to make gentle practices in other places part of your goals where you can.

  2. Compare your child's sleep to anyone else's! This truly is parental destruction. We all have this instinct to compare - but every child is so different. And what works for one baby - might not be the same for yours! Focus on what you can work on, their cues and rhythms to help guide.

  3. Move my toddler out of the cot before 2.5!!! This was a big learning curve for us. My son started his cot-aversion (very common!) at around 20 months. And after weeks of trying co-sleeping, changing his nursery around eventually I decided a toddler bed was the solution. It worked for a short while, his sleep went back to great! And then the night awakenings started and the bedtime battles. They can't fully understand the concept of staying in bed until nearer 2.5 - so we cannot expect them to have skills they aren't capable of yet. With my daughter, she was nearer 3 then we transitioned her and we've have a much smoother experience!

  4. Work on the 80/20 Rule. This is where we have routines and rhythms 80% of the time, with 20% flexibility. My son was very time sensitive, I knew what would happen in night sleep if he slept 15 minutes too late or 15 minutes too early. With my daughter, we went more the opposite way and things were quite flexible but with a loose structure and this went well - and it suited her more importantly!

  5. Ditched the night lights. The lovely star projectors and bright lights were great for keeping my son calm and entertained - but other than that it hindered his sleep! He was far too alert for it and easily stimulated. Not only that, with what I know now about blue/white lights and the impacts on their melatonin and deep sleep I'd totally avoid it. Red night lights work really well to help induce sleep without impacting their melatonin levels!

As parents we are not expected to know it all! There is not one guided parenting book, and there are 8 million different baby sleep books! How can we possibly know what's best for our baby based on those?

Baby sleep is truly a minefield - and it's ok not to have it all figured out. But I hope I can give as many lessons I've learned away to others to help them when they feel a bit lost in it all.

If you are looking for sleep support please do reach out - supporting parents is exactly why I do this!

Jade x

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