This last week I have had the immense pleasure of visiting the Mamas &Papas store at the Trafford Centre to give a talk all about babies and how they sleep on behalf of The Children’s Sleep Charity. It really is an amazing experience to be able to help mums and dads, before they start their journey into parenthood, understand how their baby will sleep and how best they can prepare themselves and support their baby as they develop their sleep cycles.
The charity wanted the opportunity to talk to parents in this way because there was a feeling that parents are dictated to when it comes to sleep. They are told they must, they should, they have to follow this certain parenting style, which encompasses this set of sleep rules and if they deviate from the rules there will be dire consequences.
My feeling is that parents choose how to bring up their children and our job as sleep professionals is to support them in whatever their choice is. We are their support network, their coaches and we are there to help the whole family sleep well, not just the baby. We are not going to put unneeded pressure on them to meet a set of strict criteria, we are going to give them the knowledge to help them understand the importance of sleep to their baby, how to create a safe and peaceful sleep environment and what to expect when it comes to sleep. We can also give some input into the pluses and minuses of different parenting techniques and explain the impact of these techniques on their babies sleep.
By giving parents this advice before their baby arrives they can start to put it in place from the word go. Hopefully this will help their child sleep well as a toddler, as a child, as a teenager and well into adulthood.
Finally thanks to Mamas and Papas for giving The Charity a platform to spread our message about sleep and giving parents the chance to get some support at a time when they can put the advice into practise and have a real impact on their baby’s sleep.
There will be more sessions in July. I will put dates and places up nearer the time, so keep your eyes peeled!
The Sleep Geek