Sleep­less par­ents cry­ing for help

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FAMILY TIES -

CRY­ING it out, co-sleep­ing, rock­ing and nurs­ing back to sleep – th­ese are just some of the myr­iad meth­ods em­ployed by par­ents try­ing to get their baby to sleep through the night.

Now, ex­hausted par­ents in the UK have started turn­ing to the grow­ing in­dus­try of in­fant sleep con­sul­tants to teach them the best way to get a good nights’sleep, de­spite the high price.

The cost of em­ploy­ing a sleep con­sul­tant starts at un­der £100 (RM536.30), and can range to more than £600 (RM3,213) for the most ded­i­cated ser­vices.

On av­er­age, par­ents com­monly pay be­tween £250 (RM1,341) and £380 (RM2,038) for help with their child’s sleep.

The ser­vices on of­fer in­clude one-on-one con­sul­ta­tions, sup­port for par­ents for one of two weeks over email and Skype, overnight sup­port and even 24-hour hand­son sup­port.

The rise in th­ese ser­vices is down to the life­styles of mod­ern fam­i­lies where both par­ents work and can’t af­ford to be sleep de­prived, says Lucy Shrimp­ton, 35, who runs The Sleep Nanny.

Par­ents also may not nec­es­sar­ily have the same net­work of fam­ily mem­bers liv­ing close by to help with child­care that pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions may have had ac­cess to.

In ad­di­tion, the is­sue of ba­bies not sleep­ing prop­erly “doesn’t get cov­ered at any stage of preg­nancy, pre-birth or after-birth”, Shrimp­ton claims.

She adds that close rel­a­tives and friends are of­ten an in­valu­able aid for new moth­ers, but have a lim­ited knowl­edge on in­fant sleep is­sues, fam­i­lies.

An­nie Simp­son, 40, who co-runs In­fant Sleep Con­sul­tants, has worked with chil­dren and ba­bies for 24 years.

She said the par­ents who con­tact the con­sul­tancy are reen­ter­ing the work­place and have reached the end of their abil­ity to cope with their lack of sleep.

“Our typ­i­cal client is a high­lye­d­u­cated, go­ing back-to-work mum, who can’t af­ford to be tired and who needs to sort it out,” she said.

“Tired­ness af­fects their mood, their mar­riages … we hear the same thing over and over again: ‘I’ve had enough, I can’t cope, please help’.”

Shrimp­ton said she be­gan train­ing as a pae­di­atric sleep prac­ti­tioner and child sleep con­sul­tant after hav­ing sought help with her own chil­dren’s sleep prob­lems. which also im­pacts

Both she and Simp­son warned about the dan­gers of a lack of reg­u­la­tion in the in­dus­try and in­ex­pe­ri­enced prac­ti­tion­ers.

Shrimp­ton said it is pos­si­ble for any­one to set them­selves up as an in­fant sleep con­sul­tant, and ad­vised par­ents to do proper re­search be­fore pay­ing for a ser­vice.

“Par­ents should be aware of the fact that the in­dus­try isn’t reg­u­lated, so they need to do their home­work and make sure [the sleep con­sul­tant] is qual­i­fied and ex­pe­ri­enced.”

Th­ese ex­perts usu­ally will ad­vise par­ents ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sleep de­pri­va­tion or prob­lems with chil­dren cry­ing and not sleep­ing to try to sleep when their baby sleeps, to ask friends and rel­a­tives for sup­port, to be aware of the symp­toms of post-natal de­pres­sion or visit their doc­tors, among the list of sug­ges­tions. – The In­de­pen­dent

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