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5 Valuable Lessons I Learned from Sleep School

I cringe every time my baby cries. The sound of my little girl crying and the sight of her teary eyes give me heartache.

So why am I writing an article promoting sleep school?

To begin, I wish someone else has told me how sleep school was more than a sleep training institution. Also, I want to share my experience as well as the life lessons I learned at the Queen Elizabeth Centre.
 
Without further ado, here are they are:

#Lesson 1 – Give it a go (no matter how much you don’t feel like doing it)
When I first arrived at the school, the nurse told me to go about my day as per usual which I happily complied. I then started breastfeeding my baby to sleep.
 
Amanda, nurse assigned to me, came marching in at the sight of me holding my sleeping baby. Amanda asserted ‘if you choose to be here, then you need to give [sleep training] a go.’
 
‘if you choose to be here, then you need to give [sleep training] a go.’
I sighed.
 
She was right. It was only a day stay program which means my baby and I will be here for only 7 hours. Even though I don’t feel like it, I should give it a go because I already made a decision to be at the school by being there.
 
#Lesson 2 – Keep calm and keep doing what you are doing.
 Following Amanda’s instruction, I put my baby in the cot. But as soon as her little body hits the cold surface of the mattress, her glossy eyes open in shock.
 
She was wide awake.
 
I could hear my heart pounding as she demands that I pick her up. My breathing quickens as my mind is telling me how stupid I was to follow the nurse’s advice. But, my rational-self tells me to take my chill pill.
 
‘It’s not the end of the world, Sok! Relax. You are doing your best for your baby and you so keep calm and continue what you are doing.’
For once, I listen to rational Sok.

#Lesson 3 – the outcome of an unusual action can be surprising and unexpected.
‘Don’t pick her up. Keep patting and shushing her until she calms down,’ the nurse says.
 
I did as per Amanda’s instruction. My baby eventually calms down so I waded my way outside.
 
My body feels so light and free as I watch my baby moves around the cot without throwing her body onto the mattress.
 
‘Looks like your baby is happy to play by herself,’ the nurse says. ‘You deserve a cup of tea so go make one for yourself at the tea room’.

#Lesson 4 – Building trust by honing your listening skills
I was enjoying my tea when my baby declares that the cot is boring.
 
‘Sok, don’t go in just yet,’ Amanda told me as my right hand touches the door.
 
‘So when can I go in? She is crying!’
 
Just wait and listen to her crying because right now she’s only protesting. You need to give her a chance to give it a go.’
She was right. I had never given my baby a chance to learn self-settle at home.
 
‘How do I know when to go in? Is there a recommended timing that I need to follow?’
 
‘You need to listen. By listening, you can respond to her better which helps build trust. If she’s in distress, then you need to give her assurance. So we don’t recommend going by the clock.’
‘By listening, you can respond to her better which helps build trust.’
Apparently, a baby is in distress when there are no pulses in her cries.

#Lesson 5 – Action really speaks louder than words
I went in and out f the room several times with Amanda being by my side.
‘Sok, perhaps take your time in getting out rather than rushing out of the room. When you rush out, your baby will feel stress about you leaving.’ Amanda gently whispered into my ears before leaving to check on the baby next door.
Amanda’s comment made me re-evaluate what I am communicating non-verbally to my baby.
Conclusion

In overall, I found the experience to be worthy and educating. I like how the nurse is not being pushy (though assertive!!) nor strict as I thought they would be. In fact, The nurse was empathic and understanding so I feel very supported!

I really am not sure whether sleep training is for me and baby, but I’m glad I went along as I learned so much!

I’d love to hear from you…

If you’ve been at a sleep school, I’d love to hear what you learn from your experience! Please leave a comment on this blog.

Were you satisfied with your experience?

Did you enjoy your sleep training guidance?

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6 thoughts

  1. As we’ve never done sleep school (although sometimes felt like we probably should have, sleep deprivation sucks!), I find this article really insightful on what actually happens inside the walls!
    Cannot wait to read more blog posts from you!

    Ps. Hope you can make tea for yourself today xo

    1. Hi Heidi,

      Thanks for comment! Yes, sleep deprivation sucks! (make that two cups of very strong tea please!)

      Glad this article is insightful. It may sound weird but it was for me as well when I wrote it.

  2. I went through similar experiences with my baby which lead me to trying out some sleep routines on my daughter. I did them mainly so she could learn to settle herself and i could catch up on a bit more sleep. Unknowingly, i was doing similar routines to the one you tried at sleep school. It’s great that you did try it out and even learned more, however like you, i don’t feel like it’s for me and my daughter. But it’s great that you went through it and gave it a go, so others may read about your experiences and your emotions through the process because it can really effect us mummy’s. It’s great to see your perspective and to figure out what works and what doesn’t work so well. I believe it all depends on what makes you and your baby comfortable and happy. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Siniva,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad that I could share this experience with everyone, especially with those who don’t feel sleep training is right. Yes,I totally agree with you that everything comes down to whether you and your baby feels comfortable and happy or not. After all, life is too short to be unhappy! Good luck with your routine! You are doing great.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It’s very true how we should listen to our own intuition and trust our own motherly instinct!! It is critical to listen and understand our baby’s cry and familiarise with the different types, from hunger, thirst to distress. This all comes down to experience and wisdom from the ones who have walked this path before us.

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