SARAH OLIVER – USA – CERTIFIED 2016
- What drew you to making the life changing decision to study and become a sleep consultant?
My first two children were terrible sleepers, I was always trying to seek help and support from my GP and Plunket because we couldn’t afford to pay a sleep consultant. They gave me a book to read which basically told me to CIO and we did as instructed. Unbeknownst to us Connor had an iron deficiency and he couldn’t physically sleep through the night, it was impossible. So, he cried, and cried and cried. When he was 3, I demanded blood tests and it was then he was diagnosed and put on liquid iron which fixed his sleep issues straight away. At this time in my life I was unhappy with my current job and still recovering from years of sleep deprivation. I was talking to a friend one day and she asked what I wanted to do with my life, I said I want to help support sleep deprived mums. It was like a lightbulb turned on. I went straight home and researched, I signed up to the Baby Sleep Consultant Training Program that very day! We couldn’t afford it, we were struggling but I knew this was my future career so we made it happen and I’m so glad I did!
- What sort of clients motivate you the most? Tell us a story if you have one.
All of them! I’m very sympathetic to their situations having been there myself. I recently had a client who was feeding to sleep every 2 hours overnight which is such a common problem. She was pregnant with her third baby and a gentle parent so we created a plan to suit her and slowly night weaned her 8-month-old. The results were a baby who now sleeps through the night with no wake ups or feeds!
- Is the role rewarding, what do you find rewarding?
When I get that happy message from mum in the morning it makes my day! This job is so rewarding!
- What has been your biggest challenge to date, how are you dealing with this?
The biggest challenge is the financial side of setting up a business, so many things to consider and organise. Client wise, I think my biggest challenge was a strong willed 2.5-year-old pushing her parents to their limit! We struggled with her but with consistency we got there within the time frame we set and she is now under control.
- Why do you believe sleep is important for all families?
Sleep deprived parents are stressed, they fight, they are tired and can become unhappy. Sleeplessness can cause PND, marital problems, child resentment and parents can become run down and sick. Fixing a child’s sleep problems is more than fixing just sleep, it has a flow on effect reducing all kinds of family stress, resulting in a happier healthier family.
- Tell me one thing you learnt in your studies that will stick with you forever?
This is hard because I learnt so many useful things! Learning the science behind sleep, the how and why for all the variables is invaluable!
- What are your plans moving forward for the next 12 months?
I want to just cruise along and help as many families as I can. My baby is still young so I’m focusing a lot on him and using him as my little guinea pig and inspiration for my Facebook page tips and posts. I will be doing a small business course this year.
- If you could tell tired desperate parents one thing, what would that be?
Ask for help! Please don’t just live with it! You are not alone, your problem is not so unusual that it’s unfixable. We can tailor a plan to suit you, sleep training still has that huge misconception that we just tell everyone to cry it out and that is so far from the truth! CIO is usually the last resort when we have tried the other more gentle options first and we will always match parents to a technique best suited.
SHARI DE WET – April 2018