Dream Winks is Sleep Done Differently
I can hear everyone as they read this blog wondering what really is different about Dream Winks. I mean, sleep consulting is all pretty similar isn’t it? Actually, it‘s not!
I hear the phrase ‘Sleep Training’ used a lot and I don’t like to use it as I don’t feel that this is what we do. I see sleep training as what people do when they focus on a baby settling and that is the main thing. With Dream Winks settling comes last. There is soooo much more that needs to be done before you teach a baby to settle (and no, settling doesn’t have to equal cry it out, but more on that later). If you go to settling early on before looking at everything properly, then it just doesn’t work well. Or it is just so much harder on your baby or toddler and you, the parents than it needs to be and who wants this to be any harder than it has to be! After all, often parents know they need to do something in regard to their little one’s sleep but it is still a very emotional time to actually put it in practice and take those steps to improve a family’s sleep situation.
If settling comes last then what comes first? And why is it so different?
The very first thing that needs to happen when it comes to approaching sleep issues, and what we do here at Dream Winks, is to look at the big picture. This means absolutely everything that can affect sleep, settling and feeding. Yes, it involves feeding too. How can it not? Dream Winks offer a Sleep Consultant and a Feeding Consultant in one, so that puts us a step ahead in what we are looking at already. So many assume that Feeding just means breast or bottle feeding but it also includes solids. There is so much about solids that can affect sleep. When, how much, what texture, what type of foods is just the start. Dream Winks has observed many foods over the years that consistently cause sleep issues such as night waking or settling. We have found that this part of feeding is not addressed by most and it is so important. Believe it or not, in older babies or toddlers, one of the most common components of sleep issues is a dietary one – and eliminating certain foods can make a big difference in sleep.
Ok so I got off track here didn’t I?! Where were we? The big picture! So we look at absolutely everything that can affect sleep, settling and feeding before we do anything else. Many parents are confident that they have looked at everything but they don’t realise just how wide the scope is and just how many things really do impact sleep and settling. If I mention environment – which is one of the big things, most will think ok –
Is the room dark? Is there noise? What are they sleeping in? Dream Winks goes so much deeper than this. I’ve lost track of just how many questions and things I look at when it comes to a baby or toddler’s environment and I work through them all one by one. A lot of the time I will ask even more things to clarify the situation and really be sure we have it all covered. That is just one area that I look at. I look at sleep patterns, routine, feeding, settling and more – all in so much detail. Things you never would have thought of but I have seen repeatedly over the years. I work through all of this and only once I’m sure we have it all addressed, covered, checked off – whatever you want to call it, do I move on and move towards settling.
Settling is probably the biggest talked about thing when people are talking baby and toddler sleep, with a big focus on self-settling. The biggest misunderstanding here is what self-settling is and how we go about it. I guarantee you that if you go into most parenting forums and mention self-settling, that the majority of mums think that this means leaving your baby to cry and that this is the only way to go about teaching your little one to fall asleep themselves in their cot. This is the furthest thing from the truth! There is such a wide range of options for teaching a little one to fall asleep. They range from very parent involved methods – the first of these is the only thing I would use with a younger baby. This is where the parent is right there with them helping them but they fall asleep in the cot. With this, we follow the baby’s lead as to what help they need and when to back off and they eventually do it more and more by themselves. Then there are less parent involved methods – all with varying degrees of involvement. Now at Dream Winks we don’t just say ok your baby is this old so this is the method we will use. When we are looking at the big picture we get an idea of your little one’s temperament. We also ask about your parenting style. This allows us to recommend various methods that would suit you best. Ultimately it’s your choice! And quite often your baby or toddler will indicate during a consultation that they would respond to another method better, and that’s ok! We follow them.
When I work with a family we start with the Sleep Plan I have formed from the big picture but while this is very comprehensive and it also comes with a lot of guides on various topics all published by Dream Winks. It is not set in stone! As you can see by the way I look at everything – everything I do is guided by your baby or toddler. So I will watch carefully for the way they respond to the changes we make, to the things we have implemented in every area. The way they respond to these tells me what we need to tweak. Be it their routine, things in their environment, their feeding or the settling approach we are taking, I change and tweak things to respond to what they tell me. This is where I say I Talk Sleep. I don’t just lay things out in a Sleep Plan and then turn into your cheerleader while you do what I have written. My ‘Follow up’ support is still very much part of the consultation and I keep working through things until we find what your little one responds to. Every time your little one tells me something, I explain how they did and what we change when they do. In my consultations, you learn how to read them too! All of this is like a puzzle where everything has to be just right and once we reach that point, that is where we get great sleep happening. Then moving forward, you should only need little tweaks when their needs change, and since you have been learning from what I have been reading from your little one, you will know what to do when these changes happen and how to keep things on track.
Ok so how about when a sleep regression happens or they go through a leap? Surely things you have put in place will come apart then?! If you have read more of what I have written you will know that I don’t see sleep regressions or leaps as something that is set in stone. They are just developmental changes that highlight underlying sleep issues or changes in sleep needs. So if you have worked with me, we should have all those issues pretty well addressed. You either won’t see anything at these times or it will be as simple as a little tweak here and there to get things back on track. And you will be good at reading your little one to know what needs tweaking.
If you haven’t been through a Dream Winks consultation and you feel like you are in a leap or a regression, then there is good news. We can sort it out! By working through everything and listening to your baby or toddler, we can bring all the pieces together and get them sleeping well for you.
I hope from reading this you can see that all sleep consultants aren’t the same. So if you have been worried about the traditional approaches in regards to sleep you can feel confident you will get so much more. Our approach and our full support and personalisation optimises your baby or toddlers chances for good sleep before we even look at settling. This means that whatever method you choose for settling will be much easier on both of you and much more successful. You can also reach out for support, advice, guidance – basically anything you need and get on the spot help. You have complete access to a sleep consultant the whole way through your journey
Dream Winks really is ‘Sleep Done Differently’