How finally getting my child to sleep changed my life – and how I became a sleep consultant
I was inspired to become a sleep consultant after I discovered the method to getting my son to sleep. This is my journey...
It was 2018. My second son, Arthur, was 3 months old and sleeping well for a newborn. My eldest son, George, was now 2 years old – and still wasn’t sleeping.
And when I say he wasn’t sleeping, I mean it.
For the first year of his life, George would wake every 40mins; after that he went to waking every 2 hours. Looking back now, we were very anxious parents – something that is totally normal with your first baby – but it means we didn’t always encourage the right sleep routine. In some ways, we were too busy trying to please everyone else’s idea of how you get a baby to sleep.
There is no manual to tell you how to parent, how you should raise your baby or how to help him sleep. We felt like failures.
When Arthur was born, there was a moment when I had dropped George off at preschool and was desperate to get home and sleep while Arthur napped – because, yet again, George had kept us up all night. On this occasion, Arthur decided he didn’t want to nap. I got so angry at him, my sweet little baby, I remember shouting at him: ‘JUST GO TO SLEEP’.
Bless his little heart, he burst out crying, and I called my own mum sobbing my heart out. I was not OK. I was beating myself up mentally. I told myself I was a bad mum for shouting at my baby and a huge failure that I still couldn’t get my toddler to sleep at night. Writing this now, it is so clear to me that I was struggling with Postnatal Depression, brought on my sleep deprivation, however when you are in it, you don’t realise it.
In sheer desperation, and with my husband genuinely worried for my wellbeing, he researched sleep consultants and came across a lovely lady called Hannah. We had previously had a quick phone call with another sleep consultant prior to working with Hannah, but this time we knew we needed full support.
It was no quick fix with George.
Enter Hannah. She was very kind and gentle with us but also determined to help us get some much-needed sleep. We worked with Hannah for 6 weeks, however after just 2 weeks, she had George sleeping through the night. We could not believe it. What crazy magic was this?
After having a few months of half-decent sleep (we still had a new baby so couldn’t exactly sleep through) I began to realise that what Hannah had done was to simply strip us back to the basics. If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know this is my favourite saying. Hannah had stripped away all the pointless information we were getting from family members, friends with kids that slept, even health visitors.
I was once told by a health visitor that I was doing a terrible job by not letting George sleep in the day more – I believe the exact thing she said was ‘sleep brings on sleep’. THIS IS INCORRECT. And it was certainly wrong in George’s case: I let him sleep for longer in the day and he was up even more that night. I was at breaking point.
By working with Hannah, I was able to clear my head and focus on one thing: George's routine. I stopped listening to others and did what she told me. I stopped trying every different routine, nap schedule, sleep gadget and I stripped it back to basics.
As Arthur became older and started to have his own sleep challenges, I realised I wanted to learn more about sleep and how I can implement a good, healthy routine at all ages. So, I decided I would train and learn all about sleep, I would study and research all about babies and how we can better understand their needs when it comes to sleep.
Once my hard work paid off with Arthur and he was sleeping through (even writing that now still gives me a warm feeling), I knew that I wanted to help others who were going through the pain and distress of sleep deprivation and maybe even postnatal depression.
Sleep by Alexandra
In 2019, Sleep by Alexandra was born. At first, I started Sleep by Alexandra mainly as a hobby/side project and something to help me feel like me again. However, once I started to see results with the families I was working with and really getting their little ones to sleep, I realised there was no greater feeling. I wanted to help more and more families.
Since I started, I have helped hundreds of families sleep better so they can enjoy more of their time together. My mission is simple, it is to show families that there is no complicated magic trick to help with their little ones sleep, it’s simply about having the correct tools to encourage healthy sleep habits.
As I know first hand what it is like to suffer with severe sleep deprivation, I wanted to make sure there is a postnatal support element to all my packages. So I decided to go away and study again but this time, in postnatal depression support.
I am now a qualified Level 5 Sleep Practitioner and certified in Level 3 Postnatal Depression Support, which means I can advise parents on the best ways possible to get your little ones to sleep and also help with any postnatal feelings you may be having.
All my packages come with my official postnatal depression self help guide, that can help show mums and even dads the signs and symptoms of PND so they can be more aware if they need to seek extra support. I explain how you can help a loved one who is suffering from PND, plus plenty more advice about postnatal depression and anxiety.
I want to let any parents out there know that if you are struggling with sleep or PND, you are not alone
How I can help
After a few years of figuring out how I wanted Sleep by Alexandra to help families, I finally have a wide range of accessible and affordable sleep packages available for all ages.
My 1:1 packages range in price from £45-£295 depending on what support you feel you need, and if you are ever unsure on how much support you need, you can always contact me and we can discuss what would work best for your family.
These 1:1 packages take place via phone and zoom consultation, and I can support families in everything from putting basic methods to working with you to create a full nap and sleep routine that is suited to your child’s specific needs.
My Online Sleep Success Guides are a super affordable, low cost solution to getting all the facts about your little ones’ sleep. All my plans are £35 and are a simple PDF download so you can keep them forever.
My Newborn Sleep Guide, for babies aged 0-6 months, will help you build those essential sleep foundations in a gentle way.
My Baby Sleep Guide, for 6-12 months, will help you encourage healthy sleep habits and even explains exactly how to put this in place.
Finally I want to let any parents out there know that if you are struggling with sleep or PND, you are not alone, we all have our different challenges as parents, and I cannot stress enough how speaking to someone will always help.
If you ever wish to chat with me, my door is always open and there will never be any judgement. Let’s work together to reclaim your sleep <3
Find out more about Sleep by Alexandra
Sleep by Alexandra helps your family sleep better so you can enjoy more time together. Alexandra Collingbourne is a sleep consultant specialising in safe, holistic methods of getting your baby, toddler or young child to sleep in a way that empowers parents to live better, happier and with more energy. Specialist postnatal depression & anxiety support is also available for those who need it.
● View baby and toddler sleep services from Sleep by Alexandra here
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