Transcript: Holistic Sleep Remedies – Tips to Help Improve Baby’s Sleep
This is a text transcript from The First Time Mum’s Chat podcast. The episode is called Holistic Sleep Remedies – Tips to Help Improve Baby’s Sleep and you can click on the link to view the full episode page, listen to the episode and view the show notes.
Helen Thompson: If you’re fighting feelings of misery, hopelessness and despair, and your little one is difficult to get to sleep, awake for hours at night, waking frequently or fighting sleep, then this episode of First Time Mums Chat is for you. I’m chatting with sleep coach, mum mentor, podcast host and mother of 5, Meredith Brough, who shares her expertise on holistic sleep methods.
Meredith has taken the best things out of the sleep training world and then totally meshed them in with the holistic world and has been referred to by her clients as the baby sleep whisperer. You’ll hear Meredith share how she specializes in helping high needs, very challenging babies sleep well, using a very peaceful, loving approach, utilizing tear free methods. What to look out for in your child that could indicate signs of a sleep disorder.
Tips and advice for a parent who is transitioning their child into their own room. And tips on how to build sleep pressure for kids with conditions such as autism who often don’t like to be touched or cuddled.
And much, much more.
Welcome, Meredith to First Time Mum’s Chat. I’m delighted to have you here to talk about sleep and how you help mums in this often challenging area. Can you please start by telling us about your background and what you do?
Meredith Brough: Sure, so I’m a mother of 5, I’ve been married for 27 years and I’m actually a grandma to a 1 year old named Sawyer, who’s the cutest guy with the biggest smile. He has a huge fan club because of his smile. I love slowing down, enjoying nature, enjoying my family, going for walks. We have a boat and that was on purpose because it’s a way of getting our family together where they get along and I’m a typical woman. I love shopping and I love spending time with my husband and traveling, but I am actually a coach and mentor to sleep coaches now. It’s my present place in life where I am teaching, instructing women, people on becoming a sleep coach or a sleep consultant.
I also mentor them and help them build their businesses. So that’s my passion right now, but I’ve spent the last 21 years actually, as a sleep coach the first 15 years I was practicing on my kids and in my little daycare, just a little daycare in my home. And I honed some really important, powerful talents or abilities to be able to help little children sleep well naturally.
I’ve always had a nurturing approach because number one, that felt natural, but also because I was taking care of other people’s babies. So they’d be in my home and honestly, what I wanted was for them to be on a somewhat predictable schedule, eat regularly, be able to fall asleep on their own in their beds because that sure made my life easier as you can relate in your experience.
Really I just loved sending these babies home to their mothers sleeping well, surprising them because I wasn’t instructing the mothers. I was really just doing my magic during the day and sending them home without any instruction and by day 4 or 5, they were sleeping for 8 hours at night, whether they were 2 months old, or 8 months old or, over a year. Yeah and so I actually had an experience that I’d love to share about what kind of woke me up and helped me realize that I had a mission to fulfill.
I helped a woman who was very ill, very depleted. She actually had two infections. She was in the middle of a move and her boyfriend walked out on her and she had twin 2 month old babies and 2 were like 8 and 10. The missionaries from the church called me and asked if I could come help take care of the babies while she’s moving and I brought a daughter with me and when we got there I was pretty concerned about the babies.
You would do the same thing when you have a background in child care. You’re like me. I definitely noticed the babies too lethargic or they don’t look right. These babies were snacking, they’d have an ounce or 15 milliliters every 3 or 4 hours and they’d take a 15 minute nap and be roaring to go and the mom told me that they were like that all the time, nighttime too. So she was miserable. They were not thriving. She confessed to me that night that she wanted to die or give them up and this was like a heart to heart, you know, help, so I did help, I took care of her that night and took her home the next day and kept the babies in my normal daycare style, which I didn’t have a daycare anymore.
My daughters helped me at night and we got them sleeping for 8 hours within the week and this changed her life. I got them on a schedule. I got them eating well. They were thriving besides the night sleep, it gave her family back and gave her hope back and she wasn’t alone and she could manage life.
So for me, that was like, stop me in my tracks, wow, that’s a big deal. This is in 2017. I didn’t know there was such a thing as sleep consultants. I thought I was creating something from scratch. So I decided to start a business. I did some polling, I did some researching and figured out how to start a business.
It was meant to be. I really felt that in my heart and this was something, a dream that was born in my heart. So the week I had decided to launch my business I had a client and she paid me a lot of money and she had twins and I knew it was a real thing. So yeah, it’s been, it’s been a really beautiful story.
That’s just the beginning of all the experiences that have fed into my passion and helped me just adore my work. So now where I’m at is that I specialize in helping sensitive, spirited, high needs, very challenging babies sleep well. I do that through a very peaceful, loving approach and I have tear free methods and that’s because that’s what works for these babies. Mothers love that, it feels right to me, but it’s also what works best for them. So yeah, I could go on and on, but that’s me.
Helen Thompson: What I loved about you when I first met you was your enthusiasm and your passion for what you do, because to me as a child care educator and baby massage instructor, having a nice, calm, relaxing environment for baby and for moms, whether that be with massage, whether that would be with sleep, is just so important because you help mums build their confidence to encourage them and inspire them to be the best mums they can be. That’s what I love about what you do.
Why is your sleep program different to other people’s because I know you’ve mentioned a little bit about it, but why is it so different?
Meredith Brough: By the way, thank you, thank you for your compliments. It’s funny because I am almost as passionate about helping moms as I am the babies and honestly, I’m more passionate about supporting the babies than I am getting them to sleep well, which is funny. I don’t think it started that way, but it’s just that I’ve learned so much and immersed myself so much in this work that I know in my heart what they need.
I don’t even promise sleeping through the night cause it’s not appropriate. It’s the wrong approach. I tell parents we’re going to optimize their baby’s sleep so that their baby sleeps as well as they’re capable of, because they’re all so different. So that’s one answer to your question is that I approach things as each baby is extremely different, parents are filling out a quiz and helping me understand their baby. It’s all about their temperament but they still surprise me, they’re not little books, they’re little people. So they’re going to react differently than we expect sometimes. So yeah, I approach it individually, I focus on temperament, but I also am big on teaching parents, about regressions and growth and development, so that they really understand their child.
I help them know what’s appropriate, a baby actually can’t comfort themself, even though we call it self soothing, that’s not even true. They need parents to co-regulate their feelings, to co-regulate their nervous system. So what I call myself is the middle ground or bridge between attachment style, holistic sleep principles and the sleep training world.
I love that imagery because, there’s some good things about the sleep training world, there’s some bad things too. There’s some beautiful things about the holistic attachment style and I absolutely agree with them. And I am, I embrace what they teach. It’s actually a lot of things that I teach that was exciting to me to find that there were people teaching the same things, but there are still women out there who don’t have a village, who are going to work with the baby. There are people who are raising these really difficult babies on their own, and these babies need them day and night. They’re too hard to bed share with, they’re too hard to function. So there’s a need for that independent side even though, it can be forced on babies.
So I found a way to foster independence to help babies naturally become more independent or naturally self settle or naturally sleep in a crib. It’s not my main focus. I work with anyone’s goals, but so I guess I’m a bridge between those worlds because I’ve taken the best things out of the sleep training world and then totally meshed them in with the holistic world.
Helen Thompson: It’s interesting how you mentioned there about regression and the difference between regression and the holistic approach. Sleep consultants I’ve interviewed before talk about the regression and that babies have a certain approach to how they sleep but every baby is different and that’s what I like about what you said. It’s not about how babies sleep or that babies at certain ages must sleep this way or that way, that by 8 months, they should be sleeping or whatever because every individual is so different.
It’s about supporting the mother to be comfortable within how they see things and how their baby grows. Some babies grow quicker than others, some babies go through sleep bursts and some babies don’t and that’s what I love about what you share and what you do. So tell us a bit more about your holistic approach.
Meredith Brough: So what you’re saying is so true because some children are really laid back and easygoing and they’re natural self soothers, they’re the ones who learn to sleep easily. Their parents will argue that there’s no such thing as mental leaps or growth spurts that disrupt sleep, right? The regressions.
Then there’s these other babies that are highly sensitive and they’re so in tune with their bodies and what they’re feeling and it disrupts sleep for months on end. So the focus for me is on building security and trust, really helping the child love their room and their bedroom. I actually tell my clients to protect the room and make it a safe, happy place 100% of the time.
Now I’m not saying that babies can’t wake up at night crying. Some babies actually do cry to release tension as they fall asleep and crying is a form of communication, as you and I have discussed. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just that we want to make sure that the baby is responded to, their needs are met, they feel safe. They grow up in this with a sense of trust and security and that’s actually how we help them develop properly in every single way health wise and it affects the way their brains develop. So it’s a big deal to be responsive.
So yeah, I focus a lot on similar things as you, listen to your intuition, do everything you can to understand your baby and be in tune with them. I really encourage mothers to trust their intuition. I feel like it’s a superpower, especially mothers intuition. Then what we do is, the holistic side of things. That just means we’re looking at schedule, we’re looking at wake windows, we’re looking at sleep cues, we’re looking at the bedroom atmosphere, we’re creating the right routine for the child’s needs. I actually heard one of your episodes about routines. I love the way she explained it, cause it’s an important principle to make sure that we’ve got all those elements in the same order.
Then it’s just this comforting experience and tells the brain it’s time to go to sleep and because I work with really challenging kids, that stuff, those are things that come up maybe in conversation while I’m coaching someone, just to kind of check. I already know my clients have done those things because they usually come to me saying, I’ve done everything and nothing’s working. People with this easygoing baby are very laid back. It’s all about the nervous system. Some babies, they have a flexible nervous system, they’re switching into each phase, the way they’re supposed to. So what is it, rest and digest, fight, flight or freeze or whatever. So they’re switching back and forth when they should, they’re not really getting that worked up.
Those are the babies that are just, oh my gosh, so easy with sleep but these other babies, it is part of their nature to signal, they’re called signalers, to say, I don’t want to be by myself, I don’t want to do this by myself, I want you and I want you to comfort me and I want to sleep in your arms, I want to sleep next to you. It’s just part of their nature. So anyways, it’s just really important to know that about your child and then the routine has to be along those lines too.
You have to make sure that very active kids are getting lots of exercise and they might even need that right at the beginning of the bedtime routine to be able to go to sleep. That’s not something sleep coaches are going to talk about. So those conversations are had just in passing. It’s not what I focus on because the parents who come to me are like, I need something different, I need your perspective. I need your tools, I need your methods. So the big part of my work is just how do we teach the trust, how do we create the security, how do we get this little one to fall asleep without feeding to sleep or cuddling to sleep or being balanced and nursed to sleep like these kids need?
Helen Thompson: You mentioned at the beginning, them going to daycare and the mums are going back to work, and they need their baby to be able to sleep and it was interesting what you said at the beginning when you introduced yourself about this magic thing that you did, and you didn’t even realize you were being a sleep coach! You gave the baby that support and that love to be able to do that and I think that’s empowering in itself because you’ve got the knowledge of how to do it by just experimenting and you’ve had five kids.
Meredith Brough: Honestly, I read one book before my second child and I used the tips there. I didn’t read the whole thing, but it was interesting to pick that book up after I had my fifth child and I didn’t recognize the book. I was not following it, it was my intuition that had taken over and I was changing things to fit each child.
I feel like it’s a God given gift and that’s why I have my school because I don’t feel like these are my principles, they’re not my methods, they’re not my solutions. I feel like they’ve been given to me and I want to share them with other sleep coaches so that they can do this work. I can’t help all the families in the world myself, so I have like these little soldiers or ambassadors going around and helping in different countries and it’s really exciting. I love it!
Helen Thompson: You mentioned about the crying, and I mentioned this to in your podcast about leaving babies to cry. I don’t know if it’s an old fashioned approach, but I was brought up in my grandfather’s day, that children should be seen and not heard. I think when your baby’s crying, my approach, and I’m sure this is the same as you, I’ve listened to some of your podcasts, but it’s about picking up that child, giving them the trust, telling them that you still love them and you’re still here for them and that you fed them and now it’s time to go to sleep and just giving them that last cuddle and just gently putting them down. I think I shared that with you in the podcast I did with you recently.
Meredith Brough: Yeah, that story. I love that.
Helen Thompson: I think that is just so valuable to a mom and as you say, you follow your intuition and you go with what your gut feeling is. I know when kids get older, when they’re toddlers, they may have slept really well when they’re babies but when they come to the toddler stage, they’re not sleeping as well. I know from my experience, and from what I’ve spoken with mums about, that mums come to me and say, Well, hang on a moment, my baby slept really well when they were a baby, but why aren’t they sleeping when they’re a toddler? What are your thoughts on that?
Meredith Brough: Well, sometimes those things happen because they might go through a really tough regression. I’ve had people come to me and say, my baby has slept great until 18 months and that’s a really big regression. If anyone is listening and seeing an 18 month old and how much they change, how much their language develops and how all of a sudden they’re just so much more grown up and there’s always lots of teething, that’s a really big one. So it could be just something changing that way, or it could be like, we’ve introduced a floor bed, we’ve introduced a toddler bed and now the child’s in a room and that’s a big deal. Actually I’m always concerned about a sleep disorder. So I ask people to take a sleep disorder survey when we start working together and then I help them know what the concerns are and send them to the doctor or to a specialist and I help them find a specialist too. It’s just so important and a lot of the sleep disorder signs are normalized in our society, maybe because of the cartoons and the TV. I don’t know what it is but we think that snoring is funny, and that it’s normal, and it’s not. We think that mouth breathing is no big deal, and most people don’t even notice it, but mouth breathing is a sign of a sleep disorder.
Being a restless sleeper, people are used to that too. They’re like, oh, my kid tosses and turns and moves all over the place, it’s so hard to bed share. I’m like, oh, let’s take the survey, let’s look at what’s going on and if I see a couple signs and the kid’s having trouble with sleep, that’s all it takes, and I send them off to someone.
So, I love being able to help people. I just actually connected with a specialist this week who helped a mama know that it’s time to go back to that ear, nose, and throat doctor and it’s time to do some other work and it was really nice to hear back from them. They actually called me and thanked me and the other doctor, the other provider.
It was a first for me, but yeah, it’s really neat to see that because the sleep can get worse over time because of low quality sleep. Over time, they start to show the signs of the sleep disorder and that could happen at 2 or 3 or it could happen at 15, it could happen in your forties. It’s just at some point, if you have a sleep disorder, the low quality sleep will show up in some way. You’ll have some type of sleep disturbances or health disturbances.
Helen Thompson: It’s really interesting you bring that point up because I am on the lookout for speaking to pediatric dentists who pick those things up at an early age. As I mentioned to you in your podcast, I did a podcast with a mum and she was telling me all about the way she coped with teething. It’s not just a matter of going to the doctor and getting your tonsils out or getting your adenoids out. It could be to do with tongue tie, it could be to do with allergies, it could be to do with a lot of different things.
Meredith Brough: Oh, my favorite providers that help with this are called myofunctional therapists and they specialize in all the disorders of the mouth and tongue ties one of them. Some of them are very well trained in understanding what the causes of sleep disorders are and they’ll do their work, but they’ll also send you to where you need to go. You might need to see the dentist, you might need to see an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor), you might need to see a craniosacral therapist or a chiropractor. They call themselves a quarterback because they believe in the team approach and I love that. So that’s actually who I sent this client to this week was a myofunctional therapist and a pediatric dentist. So I’m with you.
Helen Thompson: Yeah, I think that approach is very good for moms to know about because a lot of them don’t know that, they don’t know about these different approaches. So let’s back track a bit. You mentioned about bed sharing and how you cope with that. So what’s your approach to bed sharing and moving from a cot or bed sharing to a toddler bed by yourself?
Meredith Brough: Well, I appreciate you bringing this up because our first conversation you were talking about being the daycarer or the childcare provider who was like, I get this and I love it, but it sure is hard here at the daycare, right? So a lot of times that’s why people want to change the habit or maybe they have to travel and they’re the only one who can get the child to sleep, that’s a big problem.
So yeah, I start out by really, truly having the parent just spend a lot of time in the bedroom, helping them wherever they’re going to sleep. If it’s in the same bedroom, then that’s probably not a big deal but in their bed that they’re going to sleep in. We spend a lot of time there and they learn to love it and I have activities I have the parents do to continue to work on this and deepen it.
We often get dad involved and actually that can be really tricky. Highly sensitive babies, they have this warning system in them that dad’s not safe when they’re tired, when they want their mom to help them feel safe and calm and you know, that magic power moms have. They could just scream and cry in dad’s arms. So there’s a way to introduce that carefully too. Obviously, dad needs to spend more time with the child and take care of them as much as possible. Maybe do some feedings and try to at least get dad to be part of bedtime routine or nap time routines.
If dad can put him to sleep, that’s ideal but you have to build that up. Just have them be part of the routine and then at some point take over, start the routine at some point, mom can come in and finish it off but just keep building that up. I have sleep methods that I’ll have the dad work on but the mom can be doing the same thing.
So honestly, my sleep methods that foster independence, that teach the trust and the security, my goal is to trick the child into falling asleep on their own and they’re basically waiting for their mom to come back in the room or we’re just taking our time changing things from day to day. So one example I like to share, I don’t know if you’ve heard of the pickup put down method.
Yeah, that’s a UK sleep consultants trick. The secrets of the baby whisperer, she included this in her book and she talks a lot about temperament, but then this method is the absolute worst method for a sensitive or spirited child it does not work. So the way I’ve modified that is to have a time limit. So we introduce the method. It’s picking up a child when they cry and laying them back down. We introduce that for like 5 minutes and it’s really good for younger babies, by the way. A child who lay still and not be crawling and climbing and trying to get out of the bed.
So we’re cuddling them to relax them or laying them back down in the bed to just to be like, hey, this is where you’re sleeping now, this is where I want you to be, but not pushing too hard. If baby cries again, we pick them up and it could either be 5 minutes, or it could be just a couple of those cycles. You put them to sleep the way they’re used to. The next day, we do that for a couple of minutes longer and we just keep trying to build that up a little bit at a time. Over time, a baby will learn to settle in the crib, so there should be some attempt to, to settle them in the crib before you pick them up or whatever.
I just find that a more gradual approach is what they need. If they don’t feel forced or pushed, then they’ll relax and they get used to this being part of the routine and that’s all it is in the beginning. Over time, they’re like, okay, this isn’t so bad, I can do this and it works really, really well.
I’ve got 8 methods that I use depending on temperament, what routine looks like and I’m all about parents using their intuition and having their own ideas and following those. So I like to share that example just to give people an idea of what they can try. Then, if you have more creative ideas that come, by all means do it, especially when it’s your child.
Helen Thompson: What sort of tips and advice would you give to a parent who was transitioning their child into their own room?
What sort of tips, you’ve shared the tips about helping them to sleep, but What sort of tips would you share to encourage them to get used to their bedroom?
Meredith Brough: Well, a lot of people will do like a camping out thing where they go in the room and sleep with their child. I actually prefer that over, if someone doesn’t want to bed share or they are too anxious to bed share then camping out in the child’s room is actually really, really comforting to the child and it’s a good way of helping them feel safe there. There’s no transition needed necessarily. It’s just a matter of getting back out and I feel like that’s the part of the parents need more help with is getting back out or getting baby out for the whole night, out of the bed. Other than that idea of camping out, honestly, it is about spending as much time as possible in the bedroom, it really is.
I’ve had some of my clients actually use that trick in other ways. Baby hates the car seat, we bring the car seat in the house and they play in it. Baby hates the stroller, we bring the stroller in the house and they play in it. Guess what, it just totally changes.
One of my clients used it with potty training. She had the potty chair. Actually I think she brought her daughter in the bathroom and had her just playing in the bathroom and sitting on the chair when she wanted and it became really natural. So this for me, it’s not rocket science. It’s more of an intuitive idea that works really well and I’ve seen pediatric psychiatrists suggest it.
I think that’s really important to note because people are afraid of confusing a baby. Well, if they’re playing in their room or playing in their bed, then they’re going to think it’s playtime all the time. Babies are so smart, I know you agree. They understand the difference between playtime and nap time and bedtime. they know the difference between nighttime and bedtime. So I don’t run into that problem, but if a child does play in their crib, and they think it’s crazy time and that just wakes them up more then it’s probably not a good idea to do that at bedtime.
Helen Thompson: Yeah, there’s something that I’d like to mention on that, from a childcare perspective, and from my own experience from nannying and babysitting. If you put a child down to sleep and there are a lot of toys, and a lot of distractions in the room, they’re more likely to be focused on the toys and the distractions because they think it’s playtime, but if you make the room, as you said, a nice environment where you’ve got this maybe stars on the wall and a nice nightlight and I’d even put some very light music on. This is my technique of getting babies to sleep, a nice sort of gentle relaxing music, whether that’s Enya, Vivaldi or whatever it is, something that’s nice and soothing and relaxing or sleep melodies. That can also help them to calm down because they know that it’s sleep time, they know that that time is when they go to sleep, they know that when they go into their room and they’ve got this, it’s time for them to go to sleep.
Also having a routine, a sleep routine, whether that’s a baby massage sleep routine when they’re young or having a little routine where they learn when they’re toddlers to tick it off themselves, right. I have to clean my teeth now, and then I have a story with mom. Then once I’ve had my story with mom, I give mom a cuddle and they tick this all off and then they know that, okay, mom’s going to lie me down now and it’s time for me to go to sleep. That’s my personal approach to sleep and it works for me. That’s from a nanny babysitting point of view and I’ve shared that with moms before and they’ve said, wow, I didn’t think about that.
Meredith Brough: Yeah, those are great ideas and what they do is they create a sense of predictability, but also if you think about what you just described, there’s a sense of peace and security there too and anytime we’re deepening security, that sense of safety, predictability makes you feel safe and the ambiance that you’re creating that makes a baby feel safe. Any sense of security or safety will deepen sleep. Isn’t that great? I have one side note when it comes to night lights, it really matters what type of light you’re using. So you want to use something that’s soft or red. I like Himalayan salt lamps because they’re more like moonlight. It’s a pink or orange hue. Red I think is scary once we get to be a child’s age and they’re like, what the heck is a red bulb, that’s not very soothing, but that’s works fine for the first couple of years. So that’s probably something you’ll find easily, but Himalayan salt lamps here in the U. S. are really easy to find too. I love them. So anything that’s like LED, bright, white, yellow, that’s more like the sunlight and actually triggers the brain to wake up. We don’t want that in the middle of the night.
Helen Thompson: No, you need to have something that’s darker and a bit lighter, like the moon, as you say.
Meredith Brough: Yeah, do you mind if I go back to what I mentioned how hard it is to get baby out of the bed long term? I don’t want to take long because I don’t want this to be too long of an episode but I will say that this is something you can approach in baby steps. So just remember when you’re working on sleep at all, anything you can do in a gradual way, it’s just going to be received better.
The child won’t be stressed out by it or overstimulated. They won’t resist because it’s not as obvious that we’re making changes. So when it comes to bed sharing, you can make a goal like baby stays in their own cot or crib until I go to bed. That’s your first thing, let’s make that a consistent theme, so the child is used to it and I’m used to it. Then while you’re working on all of these different elements, all these factors, we’re talking about, the holistic things, making sure the wake windows and sleep cues are appropriate, like the best optimal ones to respond to.
Baby’s not overtired, that’s what I mean by wake windows is we don’t want them to stay awake too long. Anyways, sorry, I’m trying to condense things, but maybe it’s not helpful. Then also maybe working on that sleep method and security in the bedroom. This is a good time to expect sleep to get better. So creating a later goal would be easy. You’d be motivated. Baby might be sleeping longer and so we can make that cut off time that baby stays in their bed till 11 or 12 or 1 in the morning and we get kind of motivated and excited as things are working and then we can keep pushing that time later and later. One of my clients told me the other day, I was able to keep my baby in her bed till 5 in the morning, but then she went to breastfeed for the last two hours and she gave me a little tired sign.
I was like, wow, your baby stayed in their bed till 5 in the morning, that’s incredible. I feel like that’s a pretty good payoff for having to nurse for 2 hours after that. That’s probably a good thing. So the baby had that connection and maybe they needed breastfeeding for pain relief or something. So just kind of helping her with perspective that a 5 am stretch, that’s pretty awesome,
Helen Thompson: Yes, that is.
Meredith Brough: She did that in baby steps, so it works. It works really well.
Helen Thompson: I agree, I think that’s good. You’ve mentioned that you work with some challenging children. So just very briefly or an autistic child or a child that doesn’t like to be touched or doesn’t like to be cuddled, I know from autistic point of view from my own experience children who are autistic don’t like to be touched and some of them don’t like to be cuddled. So how would you support a mum who had an autistic child who didn’t want to be touched or cuddled and they were having sleep problems?
Meredith Brough: Well, some of my clients’ kids are highly sensitive or it is a sensory need, like they get overstimulated through touch, it just bothers them. I’ve actually had kids like that in my daycare where you lay them down and they just relax instantly. Like I just need space. In some ways that’s easier because a lot of them don’t want to be touched, even to settle down. It’s very challenging. I think that those kids often need a lot of the daytime activities, exercises to wear them out. You do want to make sure that you get the balance right with how much they sleep during the day. You might have to be extra cautious about like a long nap during the day might make it harder for them to fall asleep.
So I think the biggest goal would be just what can you do to really wear them out? I love the idea of massage for relaxing, but in this case, that wouldn’t work. So I would put Epsom salts in the bath to make their muscles feel nice and heavy and tired and that’s probably the best thing if you can’t do massage and then experiment with those activities, exercises, and I’ll give you some examples that builds sleep pressure.
Anything sensory, those are great activities. You want to do those throughout the day and then maybe within an hour of bedtime. So those could be sensory bins, it could be outside time playing, when you’re outside and there’s so many things triggering the senses, that really wears a kid out because their brain’s working harder.
Then the type of physical activities that will wear out a child are climbing, jumping, spinning, rolling, hanging backwards, dare I say climbing. So a lot of the rough and tumble play. That stuff is really good for wearing kids out. One of my client’s little girls is like that. She doesn’t want to be touched and she’s very, very active.
Her mom sent me a video once of her jumping on the bed and she was asleep 6 minutes later. So, I know I kind of switch from kids who don’t want to be touched to that, but I think that those activities are good for all kids for wearing them out. You just might have to do them earlier, like an hour before bed if it makes them awake too much. So yeah, we want to slow down. With all the environment that you were creating when you talked about the lighting and music or white noise. that bath would help. Yeah. So hopefully that made sense.
Helen Thompson: It did, thank you. I think those tips are very good for moms. So we’ve had a lovely chat about how you get kids to sleep and I know you’ve got a podcast that you do as well. So, can you share how people can get in touch with you?
Meredith Brough: Yeah, so my podcast is called The Sweet Slumber Podcast and you can find that on any of the podcast apps. You can also look on my website, Sweet Slumber Time, just add that time in there. So it’s SweetSlumberTime.com. com is where I have resources. You’ll find my blog, you’ll find my podcast, there’s a resource tab, by the way. You’ll find a group that I run and I’m on Instagram mostly.
I spend most of the time on the podcast. So there’s lots of resources for you there. Great place to start and when you’re on my website, you’ll see other things like set up a call, take a quiz. That’s my favorite resource that I have that’s quick and easy. There’s a quiz for finding out what your baby’s sleep nature is, whether or not you have a child that’s going to be fairly easy to teach or a baby who needs a lot more time and patience and creativity when it comes to sleeping well. It’s called the sleep temperament quiz.
Helen Thompson: Well, thank you, Meredith, for sharing your tips and thank you for being on this podcast. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you so thank you so much for being here and thank you for sharing your pearls of wisdom and knowledge with me.
Meredith Brough: You’re welcome. It was really fun and I love being able to share this information with you and your listeners. So thanks for having me.
Helen Thompson: It really makes it challenging day to day when you or your little one is sleep deprived and I’m certain that you’ve picked up some helpful suggestions to help with their sleeping challenges from our chat. I’ve included links to Meredith’s website, the quiz that she mentioned, as well as her podcast and social media. I’ve also included links to some of the First Time Mum’s Chat episodes relating to sleep, which you may also find helpful. These can be found in the show notes, which can be found at MyBabyMassage.net/podcast/142.
I share each episode on the First Time Mum’s chat Instagram page and you’ll hear me chatting live with folks I’ve interviewed from time to time. Please support me by following me and I look forward to meeting you during one of my lives. Be sure to listen to this episode when it comes out next week and please subscribe to First Time Mum’s Chat via your favorite platform so that you get quick and easy access to all of our episodes when they are live.