As a new mom, I can say that the subject of sleep training for babies is still very much misunderstood. Until Maximiliano was 11 months old, I survived (literally) on 4 hours of sleep per night. I tried everything, until I finally realized that I needed help. That’s where WeeSleep came in. Four days after I started working with them, my little Maxi was sleeping through the night (you can also read my story here). I am now so grateful, and amazed, that I wanted to learn more about sleep training by speaking with the founder of WeeSleep, Janey Reilley. Here is our interview on the subject.
How would you define sleep training – an often misunderstood method?
Parents are often worried or compare sleep training to the “cry it out” method. Sleep training is not that at all. Parents play a vital role in the successful sleep training of their children. We are dedicated to helping parents solve their baby’s sleep challenges in a positive and personal way so babies can rest and thrive, and parents can rejoice.
Is sleep training necessary, or do some babies learn this by themselves?
While it’s true that sleeping is natural, the ability to fall asleep independently (and stay asleep) without sleep associations is easily taught. Some of the most common sleep associations I’ve seen include pacifiers, blankets and rocking to sleep.
Why did you choose to start WeeSleep?
I am very passionate about how important sleep is for the health of moms! Not just from a physical, but also from a mental health perspective. Sleep allows us to be more patient, be better partners, take care of ourselves better, eat better and make better choices. All of this (and more) leads to being a better mom, a happier mom, and a healthier mom so we can be the best for our children. It changes the entire home. I am a fitness and wellness (and wine and jujube) passionate mom who believes in balance and the only way to even start balance is by taking care of us first. Sleep is right up there with nutrition and exercise.
WeeSleep was launched following my own struggles with my son’s sleep issues and after hearing about so many families having similar difficulties.
What made you think you could come up with a different service or technique on the market?
I like to think that WeeSleep provides a different experience overall for our clients. After paying attention for years to the products and services on the market, I believe WeeSleep is in a category of its own. I’ve always been marketing savvy and customer service focused. I saw the need for WeeSleep and how it could make a difference in so many women’s lives. As moms juggle so many tasks, I wanted to make a product that was easy to both access and use with a mobile-friendly web portal and clear step-by-step instructions. As a mom, I found it important to provide the reason behind our method. I want to leave moms more empowered and educated about baby sleep. I want all moms to feel both confident and rested.
What is the biggest myth about sleep training?
There’s a fear and myth that sleep training can affect the parent-child bond, but it’s been scientifically studied and disputed. The American Academy of Pediatrics conducted a study in 2016 where their top researchers praised behavioural intervention, (i.e., sleep training) stating it ‘provide(s) significant sleep benefits above control, yet convey(s) no adverse stress responses or long-term effects on parent-child attachment or child emotions and behaviour.’
There are different sleep training methods. How do you choose the best one for each family? What do you take into account?
By working closely with parents, our sleep consultants develop a program that is easy to understand and in alignment with their parenting decisions and lifestyles. We use our standard methods, yet allow flexibility because every parent is different, every sleep situation is different and we work with children at various ages. Every baby is different, so we need to understand their temperament, their habits, their personalities as well as the parents’ schedules.
With countless books on the subject on the market, what would you say is the main difference with working with a sleep coach?
By using a sleep coach, families work with someone that will craft a unique plan designed to meet their needs with a positive and loving approach. Sleep coaches are there to give parents one-on-one support during those really tough moments. Sleep coaches observe what goes on each day from feeding, activities, naps, and behaviours, so they truly understand the child. By seeing the whole picture, sleep coaches can better solve issues so each client can be successful in healthy sleep.
One of the most important aspects of sleep training is the dedication to see it through and complete all the steps without falling short or giving up. A sleep coach keeps you motivated, educated, accountable and on track.
Is there a perfect age to start sleep training (and until what age is it possible to do so)?
We offer sleep training services for children aged 3 months to 10 years. The perfect age is when the parents feel it is the right time and when they are ready.
Most families work with us around the 6 to 12 month mark when they are literally at their wits end and exhausted. Working with babies 4 to 7 months is an age I personally enjoy. Babies are very adaptable at this age, they haven’t had years of habits that need changing, they aren’t mobile and able to run and open doors, and they generally are sleeping through the night within 3 to 4 nights.
Why do you think parents often wait until they’re so exhausted before reaching out to a sleep coach?
I think that there could be many reasons. Perhaps they don’t believe it can work, or there’s a bit of shame in reaching out for help. At WeeSleep, we’re trying to change that perception and let everyone know there is no shame in asking for help!
Many parents we encounter believe that simple, temporary fixes will work in the long-term such as adding a pacifier or feeding them back to sleep. Many parents are convinced they can figure out the right solution on their own through trial and error. We know this is not a long-term solution and can offer them other tools and strategies for their children to develop life-long healthy sleeping patterns.
To find out more about sleep training or to book a consultation with a sleep coach, head over to Wee Sleep’s website.