A journey to enjoying motherhood leads to a new calling for Louise

A journey to enjoying motherhood leads to a new calling for Louise

So many of us have been there… desperately hanging on for the next naptime, for bedtime, for a short break. For Louise, there was an experience of ‘mum guilt’ that came with wishing her days away. “After well over a year of broken sleep, I was on my knees with fatigue. I was only just surviving – most definitely not enjoying my experience of motherhood.


Louise knew she had to do something; she simply couldn’t function anymore. So, she started researching. She downloaded a PDF sleep plan and tried it. It worked. Well, not only did it work, but it also completely transformed Louise’s life and motherhood experience. 


“My friends started asking me what I had done – they said I was like a different person. All because I was able to sleep!” Louise laughs. “All of a sudden, they started opening up and admitting how hard they were finding it too. Sleep had been surrounded by so much shame and secrecy, but now that we were talking about it openly, I was sad to discover how many felt the same way.”



Training to deliver transformation

Experiencing first-hand how incredibly transformative healthy sleep could be, Louise’s interest was piqued. “I started researching and discovered that baby sleep consulting was a thing. I knew I needed to know how to do it,” she adds. 


Louise admits that she talked to a few companies before coming across Baby Sleep Consultant Training, yet when she did, she knew it was the right fit. “I instantly appreciated how clear and non-judgemental the approach was. It was inclusive of all walks of life and parenting styles, which was unique,” Louise explains. “I really resonated with the aim to help and guide parents, as opposed to telling them there’s only one way to do it. So, from all the way over the other side of the world, I dived in – and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”


That was back in 2017 and the rest, as they say, is history. But the rest hasn’t all been easy. Louise’s daughter was just two when Louise was training, so she admits to putting in a lot of late nights on the books and says that nap-time became her study time. 


As well as the clear structure and the self-paced nature of the training, what Louise also found useful was the mentoring. “This was so different to anything offered by other companies,” Louise explains. “When we’re working with the most precious thing in someone’s life, there’s a huge responsibility to get it right. My mentor guided me and gave me confidence; I knew that the information that I was sharing was correct. We worked with real clients, and I wrote everything up to be checked and signed off – so that when I was qualified, I really was ready to go out there and give my best.” 


Being in business when you’re the product

Having worked alongside her husband in a family business for years, Louise had some insight into running a business. However, she wasn’t fully prepared for how different it would be when she was the product. “I’m quite an introvert, but in this business, you have to put yourself out there and help other parents feel connected to you and what you’re about. It takes time to find your niche and get your messaging right and you need to know who you are, and who your ideal clients are.”


Louise also had to contend with one of the challenges that many of our participants face – that of imposter syndrome. “You very quickly have to get those mindset monkeys out and stop that voice in your head that asks, ‘Am I good enough?’” 


The other challenge that many consultants experience is that of creating boundaries in your life. “As a mum, you really feel for the parents you’re working with and can empathise with them. Then because of the type of work we’re doing, it’s very hard to stop working and switch off too,” Louise explains.  


A huge support for this and other challenges has come from the Facebook community connected to Baby Sleep Consultant Training. “I trained years ago and am still a part of this incredible and genuinely supportive community of consultants,” Louise says. “We can dive in and ask questions, be ourselves. Everyone is so open. There’s such a mix of styles and different approaches represented in there, but they’re all OK and there’s always something new to learn.” 


We’re incredibly lucky to have Louise as a consultant in our community – and parents are extremely lucky to have her insights and wisdom to guide them back to enjoying their experience of parenthood. 

Hafdis: Creating the resource that she was looking for

Creating the resource that she was looking for

A midwife for the last six years, Hafdis knows more than a thing or two about babies. However, when Hafdis was on maternity leave with her second child, she found herself at her wit’s end when it came to sleep. “My older child didn’t sleep very well, but I knew the younger one was also at the age where he should be able to sleep for longer. I was eager to find more information that I could use to help him.”

In Iceland, the only option really for support was the national hospital’s baby sleep clinic. Unfortunately, it was common for the wait times to be at least three months. “I didn’t want to wait that long,” Hafdis shares. “I wanted to be able to do something now.” 



Hungry for information

Naturally, Hafdis began researching. “I wanted to know everything, but didn’t know where to get the best information to start with. Soon I realised that I could do such a thing as baby sleep consultant training, which would enable me to get the full picture and understand what was best.”  

It turns out Hafdis wasn’t alone in her struggles either. When she started talking to her friends, all had stories about a child who wasn’t sleeping well. “I could see a need for this service,” Hafdis explains. “That’s when it became my mission – to get all the information I could and then deliver that to help other parents in the same situation as me.”

Jumping in and embedding the learnings

While the decision to do the training wasn’t a difficult one for Hafdis, the realities of becoming a student again required some navigating. Not to mention there was the juggle of taking this on while she had two young children at home with her. “All of my free time for that period went to studying,” Hafdis says. “It was challenging, but so worth it.

It helped that Hafdis loved the content. “The reading material was exactly what I needed – it was so thorough and gave all the options. We really did cover everything. However, after we had done all this reading, we had to use our own judgment to land on our own ideas and conclusions, which helped to embed the learning and build my confidence. I felt equipped to help babies and parents of all different temperaments and styles, meeting them where they were.” And that’s exactly what Hafdis has been doing ever since she became certified.  

Having an impact with what she’d learnt

It was always important for Hafdis that she provided information that could be accessed in a simple – and instant – way. So even before she had completed her training, Hafdis had begun to build a series of e-courses that took away the overwhelm and empowered parents with the information, and practical action-oriented steps they needed to help their child achieve better sleep. 

“Really I’ve created what I really wanted in the beginning – and it’s going really well,” Hafdis shares. “For some, it’s enough to buy the course and follow that to achieve results. Others also purchase a phone call or two of more personalised support, but either way, I’m able to help more people by delivering my knowledge this way.” 

As well as her business growing, Hafdis’ passion for this area is growing too. “When I had my children, I saw first-hand how much time and energy goes to thinking about sleep. But now, the more I learn, the more this passion grows,” Hafdis adds. “I just can’t get past how incredibly important sleep is for babies’ brain development.” 

For Hafdis, it’s about sleep, but it’s also about helping to teach parents to read their babies and understand their needs, like when they might need to drop a nap. Now Hafdis reckons that she has found where she’s supposed to be – and what she’s meant to be doing. We wish her all the best as she continues to educate as many people as she can. 

From unofficial helper to officially trained: How Carly arrived at what she was meant to be doing

From unofficial helper to officially trained: How Carly arrived at what she was meant to be doing


Some people are natural nurturers and helpers. Carly is one of those people. Having had two babies within a year (her children are just 11 months apart), Carly was a stickler for routine and did a lot of research to make sure that she was giving her family the best chance for restorative sleep. 


Before long she found herself helping family and friends with soothing and settling their little loves too. It was a particular visit of this nature to a family friend one day in early 2021 that kicked off Carly’s journey to become a certified sleep consultant. 


I’d had no official training at this point, but my friend’s new baby was waking every hour overnight and she was at her wit’s end, so of course I wanted to help,” Carly explains. “I came up with a plan that I thought could work for them, and then spent the evening helping this mum to put it into practice. When Henley fell asleep, I headed home and was surprised to discover that I was crying in the car! They were happy tears – I was so grateful that I was able to help, and I thought, ‘This must be something I can do more of’.


The next morning, Carly drove to her day job as a teacher’s aide at a school for children with autism. While she loved and was engaged with the work she did, the previous night’s experience stayed with her. “I couldn’t wait ‘til lunchtime, and as soon as that rolled around, I started researching.” It was then that Carly came across Baby Sleep Consultant training. 


Overcoming self-doubt

For Carly, the feeling of fit was instant – however, the leap towards training wasn’t without its challenges. “Looking at the training guide and the number of books and reading assignments was daunting and I definitely had some self-doubt. I hadn’t studied since high school and had never been much of a reader!” 


With some encouragement from her husband, Carly took the plunge – and it was meant to be. “As soon as I picked up the first book, it all happened really naturally. Because I was so interested and loving it, I wanted to learn, and it came much more easily than I’d feared. Then I got great feedback from my mentor Sacha, and I realised, ‘I can actually do this’.” 


Carly says that the support she got from Sacha throughout her training was invaluable. “I talked to her every Monday and would go through all of my clients; she was an incredible resource. As well as giving me lots of guidance on the business side, she also got to know me really well and was supportive of the kind of consultant I wanted to be.”

Transferring skills and finding the perfect blend

Just as we hope trainees will do, Carly took onboard all she learnt through her baby sleep consultant training and followed her intuition to individualise her approach. She soon found that her skills were naturally transferring. 


I’d been working with children with autism for ten years when I started training – and lots of those children are non-verbal, much like babies are. I think my understanding of different cognitive stages of development, emotional skills, and experience with how they communicate, as well as my love for routines, really helped me.” 


You can have the book smarts – and certainly that theoretical basis is important – but for consulting, you also need softness and compassion,” Carly adds. 

The future looks bright for Carly and Tiny Sleep Co. 

Carly brings this empathy and kindness with her to every consult. “I’m there for the parents as well,” Carly explains. “I always take time to check in with each mum and help her build herself back up in a gentle and appropriate way. And I love seeing the confidence that comes with that. When they have sleep sorted, they know they can start getting out and about more.” 


Carly’s dream is to be able to do Tiny Sleep Co. full-time, but for now she’s happy with how things are tracking. “The success I’ve had with this already has been amazing, especially as I’ve only been certified for four months! It’s already growing much more quickly than I thought.” 


Indeed, the word-of-mouth machine is already alive and cranking in Geelong and Carly gets contacted frequently by people who have talked to parents she’s worked with. Carly’s recently joined forces with a local not-for-profit and is looking for opportunities to further help families in the community. “There’s a huge gap after women have babies,” Carly explains. “They get their maternal health check and might have a few midwife visits, but there’s not much to follow. And while there’s lots of advice out there, it’s very general and not tailored to individual babies.” 


With Carly’s special care – and her commitment to going above and beyond – we have no doubt that Carly will go far. And there’ll be a lot better quality sleep taking place in her part of Australia!    

What some of Carly’s clients have said about their experience with Tiny Sleep Co. 


“Carly’s confidence and passion for helping babies and parents is evident in everything she does, from start to finish with Tiny Sleep Co.”

“Our experience was nothing short of amazing! Carly’s techniques and advice worked wonders for our family… Not only are Carly’s skills in sleep training but she was also able to assist our family with her extensive experience working with children with autism.”


“ Carly’s calm & nurturing demeanour instantly put me at ease. She made me feel heard and seen and that we could tackle my daughter’s sleep issues together. Thank you again Carly for all your love and support. Our family is now thriving and living our best life because of you.”


Sarah: From long-haul flight attendant to internationally certified baby sleep consultant

From long-haul flight attendant to internationally certified baby sleep consultant


When Sarah’s first son was born in 2014, he was “the world’s most horrible sleeper”. Sarah wasn’t prepared for the toll this took, despite knowing what sleep deprivation felt like following her years working as a long-haul flight attendant. 


“I was home in New Zealand [from Seattle] and came across Baby Sleep Consultant. I booked in with them and got to work improving our household’s sleep. It changed – saved, really – my life at the time, and I realised I wanted to be able to do that for other families.”



From just an idea to internationally certified


When Sarah returned to the States, she could see that accessible support – like what she had been able to tap into in New Zealand – simply wasn’t available. “It’s a fast-growing industry now, but back then there weren’t the options available. You could book with an individual consultant for a personalised plan, but the cost was prohibitive for a huge amount of families.” 


Sarah wanted to change that. So, in 2015, she trained through Baby Sleep Consultant Training. “Having been supported by them successfully already, I knew that I liked their philosophy and the emphasis they put on the scientific basis of sleep.”


I’ll admit that it was a bit of a shock to get back into study, but the self-paced nature of the course was perfect for me while I had my son at home,” Sarah shares. 


It was important to Sarah that, if she was going to make this change and reskill, that she do it properly. “It was my dream for this to become my career – not just something I was dabbling in while I was a stay-at-home mum. I wanted to be really professional from the outset and set up a proper platform that would enable me to grow.” 


Sarah’s work through the Baby Sleep Consulting Training course helped her to do this, giving her the solid theoretical base that she could then apply “out in the real world” how she wanted. 


I also had the most amazing support with my mentor Sacha, who I believe is a pivotal part of my success today. I truly think having that one-on-one support from a mentor was key! I cannot say enough good things about her and the relationship during the process that allowed me to be successful,” adds Sarah.  


Building towards a business 


Even with support, the transition from the end of the training course to setting up her business was a significant leap. Sarah hadn’t had any prior business experience; “It was a very big learning curve,” says Sarah. 


Ensuring her goals were realistic and working to always remember the reason she started on this journey have helped in Sarah’s case. “It certainly wasn’t easy, and I’m still learning and growing in this now!” In fact, Sarah confesses that her business looks quite different now to what she was envisaging when she started out. 


“When I first started out, I always thought that I would expand and bring on other consultants too, however, it took longer to get there – alongside growing our family – than I originally envisaged. I didn’t want my business to get to the point where it took me away from being able to spend time with my kids, or to cause so much stress that it just wasn’t worth it. However, I’m thrilled to report I just took on another consultant six months ago.” 


Sarah’s advice to others wanting to pursue this career is to go for it! “Having happy, sleeping families whose lives have changed by working with me is unbelievably rewarding,” Sarah adds. 


We couldn’t agree more! 



Courntey baby sleep consultant

Courtney Nightingale: Passionate about seeing families thrive

A second stint of maternity leave gave Courtney plenty of time to dream up her plans to start her baby sleep consultant training. From a background in education – specifically working with children with special needs. She had a love of solving things, and of helping families with practical strategies that worked. Combine this with having two babies of her own – and the preoccupation every parent has with infant sleep – and the stage was set.


Stepping into the unknown – baby sleep consultant training

Courtney had always dreamed of owning her own business. She knew she wanted to do something that would provide flexibility and time to spend with her family.

But initially she didn’t even realise the world of baby sleep consulting was existed or was possible. Until, that is, she came across Baby Sleep Consultant Training.


Not one to shy away from a challenge, Courtney kicked off her baby sleep consultant training in 2020 when she had a baby herself; her son was just three months old at the time. Usually a six-month course, Courtney worked through the self-paced lessons in under four months.

Remarkable when you consider she had a toddler at home too!


I was lucky in that my husband was doing shift work at that stage, so I got lots of time to put into it during the day. I also found that I wanted to work hard and fast because I loved it so much,” Courtney shares.


Courtney had Sacha as her mentor, who she says was ‘absolutely incredible.’ Sacha was super encouraging, which really helped to boost my confidence.” Although Courtney incorporates a range of parenting aspects into her business, her baby sleep consultant training provided the foundation – and a really good picture of what infant sleep is all about.

The entrepreneurial journey.

On the business side of things, the first year or so was dense with learning. “We all go into business in our zone of genius. But then being in business opens us up to all the other areas. It’s easy to have excessively high expectations too. I think you need to have conviction that it’s the right thing for you and then just keep trusting that it’s all going to work out.


And it certainly is for Courtney who says she’s “1000% totally where I’m supposed to be!” She loves the transformation that her work brings to families, especially when she sees parents out the other side, “owning their parenting power”.


Courtney would absolutely recommend that anyone who is curious give Baby Sleep Consultant Training a go, and be supported to explore this exciting and challenging line of work.


Then you’ll get out into the real world and develop your own flavour with it. That’s what the entrepreneurial journey is about right? Taking what you know and making it your own. It takes time and practice, but I think this year I’ve really landed on what it’s about for me.


I can’t wait to see what Courtney does next.



Endless nights and dark days: The link between sleep deprivation and postnatal depression

Anecdotally, we all know that we feel better after a good night’s sleep; sufficient sleep makes a huge difference to our body, our brain, and our mood. However, what’s perhaps less well known is how closely sleep deprivation is linked to postnatal depression(PND). It’s a link, however, that is well set in science.

Research on post natal depression and sleep deprivation

Research has long highlighted the reality that sleep deprivation is the number one contributing factor for depression in parents. In fact, studies clearly show that less than four hours of consolidated sleep in a stretch increases anyone’s chances of depression.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that all mums who are suffering from postnatal depression just need a good sleep; there are hormonal and chemical forces often at play as well. However, let us not discount the environmental factors – and sleep deprivation is right up there, along with a lack of social or family support.

True stories

One of the mums we’ve worked with shares: “When my baby was six months old I saw my doctor about my mental health. He wanted to try anti-depressants but he also felt that my extreme lack of sleep was contributing to my depression.

My daughter was waking between four and six times a night, and taking up to an hour to go back to sleep each time. I resented her in the morning, and felt like we were not bonding at all. My doctor suggested we work with a sleep consultant before coming back for a review in a couple of weeks to explore the possibility of medication.

Once we worked through my daughter’s settling issues at night, the turnaround in my mood was phenomenal. I started to have the energy to go for walks which helped me feel less down, and more like I could cope as a mum.

The overwhelm disappeared and the crying and difficult periods didn’t upset me as much. I didn’t need medication in the end, but I truly believe without sleep it would have been a different story.”

So many of us think, when we embark on the crazy ride of parenting, the torturous amounts of sleep deprivation are simply par for the course – and we discount the seriousness of the impact that sustained insufficient sleep can have on our mental health.

More stories

Another mum we’ve worked with shares: “I remember those sleep deprived days like they were yesterday; they still haunt me now. That feeling of anxiety before bed because I just didn’t know what the night would hold… I thought for months that I had postnatal depression.

I would say it to my husband and he would tell me I just needed sleep. At a time when I should’ve been overjoyed, I felt like I was locked in a torture dungeon and could not see a way out.

My then 8 month old was severely overtired; I would rock him for 20-30 minutes and he would then nap for 30 minutes in my arms.

If I tried to put him down he would wake instantly. I felt completely lost; crying a lot – at least once a day. Feelings of failure and defeat. I could not see a way out of it all.

I’ll never forget the day I started working with a sleep consultant and my son finally slept through the night. It took me months to get over my sleep debt; every night I would still go to bed at 8pm and that anxious feeling stayed for months too.

Thank goodness he’s been a great sleeper for the last four years now and my 18 month old is great too. I wouldn’t wish how I felt on anyone!”

Symptoms of PND for sleep consultants to look out for

PND is more than simply tiredness… so, what exactly are the symptoms?

The symptoms of postnatal depression can be many and varied and last for several weeks. Typical symptoms can include:
– Anger, anxiety, fear, guilt, hopelessness, low mood and mood swings
– Panic attacks
– Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
– Fatigue or restlessness
– Lack of concentration or unwanted thoughts, often ones that cycle repeatedly
– Crying and irritability
– Changes in appetite
– Weight gain or weight loss
– Insomnia

No sleep in 3 years, sleep consultants are a need

And hence the situation spirals… “I had three children quickly. By the time number three arrived, I don’t think I had slept properly in four years. My husband worked overseas, and only came home during weekends (and not every weekend!) My hair was thinning, and my skin bruised easily.

I didn’t have the energy or motivation to leave the house in the day with the kids, and I was starting to cut contact with my friends. Needing to do something about the postnatal depression that was consuming me.

My doctor and he confirmed that sleep deprivation was behind my physical signs, and probably contributing to my mental health also. He put me in touch with a counsellor, and a sleep consultant.

We worked on all of the children’s sleep, as well as my own habits to make our lives more functional. I truly believe that without the extra sleep I wouldn’t have been able to work through my depression with my counsellor.”

More common than we think

Postnatal depression is more common than many of us realise; it’s estimated that between 10-20% of women are affected. However, despite its prevalence, it’s not always easy to take steps towards seeking help.

So, what can you do if you’re struggling or suspect someone you know may be suffering?
Despite making progress in removing the stigma around depression, as a society we’re still not great about discussing our mental health. Asking for help is key to turning your experience around.

We need to look out for each other too. My hope is that every woman feels comfortable to say to a fellow mum, “you don’t seem as happy as usual… are you OK?” and be prepared to follow that through. Help a friend to seek support from a professional – whether that means going with them to an appointment, or watching their kids so that they can see someone.

Professional support to refer out to

There are any number of professionals that can help, but it pays to start with your doctor, midwife or Plunket Nurse. They can make a referral to Maternal Mental Health, or suggest a counsellor, psychotherapist, psychologist or psychiatrist that can help.

I didn’t want to be a mum anymore

Another one of our mums shares: “I remember sitting on the bedroom floor naked, trying to do skin-to-skin to calm my daughter down and get her to sleep, but I was bawling my eyes out because every time I blinked I didn’t know if I could open my eyes again.

I kept thinking that I didn’t want to be a mum anymore!

The thoughts I had were terrifying and only fuelled my ideas of not being a good mum and not wanting my baby. I hate to think what would have happened to my mental health have I not got the sleep and support I needed. My Plunket Nurse had referred me to Maternal Mental Health, but after some decent, consolidated sleep, I could think straight and communicate with my support team better, so I no longer needed it.”

There’s no denying that the early days of parenting a tough. However, it’s OK to want to sleep – and to acknowledge that your needs matter too.

“When I had my second child, I remember waking each morning and wondering how I was going to get through the day with two kids.

I was so anxious the moment I woke (if I slept at all). I had nowhere to be, nothing to do, but I was just so worried and couldn’t shake it. Then came the guilt; what did I have to be worried about?

There was a time my newborn slept seven hours straight; I didn’t sleep a wink! I realised I wasn’t eating well so was losing weight in an unhealthy way and worried about my supply; how was I going to feed my baby?

A colleague I was chatting to online knew the signs and suggested I see my doctor, so I did. Just admitting you are struggling and then asking for help is like an instant weight off your shoulders.

For a long time I would say that I was just anxious and tired, but I look back now and realise that there was some definite PND and I know my triggers; so much of it stems from sleep. I now make this the number one priority for myself and my family.”

As sleep consultants

These are not uncommon stories to hear as a sleep consultant working with tired and vulnerable Mums. It is our job as sleep consultants to recognize the signs of PND and PNA and encourage our parents to seek help from the experts as well as prioritize sleep and being kind to themselves.

This article was originally published HERE.