Baby Sleep Advice, Controlled Crying Does Not Always Work

Sleep is precious and so are our children. Yet there appears to be a huge conflict in being able to negotiate a good quality nights sleep with the arrival of a new baby. Amidst all the conflicting advice on how to get your child to sleep us parents often feel torn between what’s best for our children, mother’s pearls of wisdom and medical advice. In the mean time where does sleep fit in to all of this? More importantly how are we able to truly enjoy our children when they are overtired and over stimulated and we are sleep deprived. What we really want to know is do we have to resign ourselves to years of sleepiness nights and confusion about the right method to enable our children to sleep well.

I studied Psychology because I had a great desire to help people, so when I started my company Naturally Nurturing sleep clinic my aims where to help parents with sleep and behavioural issues with their children, I had found my dream role in life. I say role because I do not see it as a job, I enjoy what I do and I love the challenge, the children and the positive change that each family makes once they have embarked on the journey to changing their baby's sleep problems.

Although my clinic is a private one, I am still a great believer in helping people, especially families, and not just the ones that can afford to pay for a personal service of baby sleep advice. I wanted to devote my time sending out the message “there is an alternative to the controlled crying method” , you do not have to “train your child” as advocated by some experts to get your chid to sleep the way that fits in with your lifestyle. I wanted to shout this message at the highest roof tops. Because every family deserves the right to have a choice about the type of method they would like to use and have it work.

However, so many of my clients had been dismayed when visited by their health visitor because they only advised CC, they wanted to find a way that did not involve distress, for them or their child. Their Health Visitors could not provide that answer and so the parents came to me. You see our method tries to find the underlying reasons for the sleeping habits and solve them rather than just applying regimes blindly. We emphasis respect and trust for parent and child, we pride our selves in that we treat each family as unique individuals. At present I am spending my spare time, when I am not looking after my four children and their Father giving voluntary talks in my local community to try and spread the word, to try and bridge the gap that exists between what to do when all the other tried and tested methods don’t work for your family. So I write this article in the hope of trying to inform more parents that I physically can’t reach so they can make a positive change within their families. I have enclosed the main principles of my method.

Methodology and Main Principles

“Confident parent Comforted child” the new and alternative method to solving sleep problems

  1. ABC = This tool will enable you understand the behaviour patterns within your family. Antecedents, Behaviour and Consequence.
  2. Acknowledge family systems = The emphasis is on the family informing behaviour through their communication and understanding. The child is not the focus or the problem
  3. Develop trust / Be present = When your child cries be there to understand what your child may need, comfort and offer reassurance.
  4. Increase confidence/Slow down = Your reactions, preparation, and house hold life. Remember bed time should be on a continuum (a seamless transition from being awake to being asleep) leading and ending in sleep. All your actions and responses should be in line with this process.
  5. Observe and Learn = Your child’s behaviour / language= (your child is the only manual you need)
  6. Communication talk to your child explain what is happening why it is happening, what is going to happen next. = reduces conflict / stress and tears
  7. Firm boundaries are like a big cuddle, they represent safety, love and reassurance.

Questions to ask yourself that might help you understand your family situation

  1. What is going on at your child/rens bedtime?
  2. What time does Daddy get home?
  3. What is daddy’s role at bedtime?
  4. How has all the advice affected the way you view your parenting skills?
  5. How do your prepare your child for sleep
  6. How are you/ your partner feeling
  7. How has your child’s sleeping habits affected you / and you as a couple?
  8. What would like to happen
  9. What are the main issues for you
  10. What other things need to be done in the home at this time?
  11. Do you devote time to yourself to reflect and regroup
  12. How confident are you in your parenting skills
  13. How can you become more confident
  14. Do you trust your own instincts?

NB: These principles should be used as part of a complete evaluation including full assessment, sleep diary and interview with each family.

For more baby sleep advice you can contact Chireal through her *Greatvine profile.


You can view the full list of Greatvine experts who can also provide advice and support with baby sleep problems.

About Naturally Nuturing

Chireal Shallow is the founder of Naturally Nurturing sleep clinic. Naturally Nurturing children’s sleep and behaviour clinic was founded in 2004 .The idea to form the clinic was born from the real need to offer hands on practical advice and support to all parents. Chireal’s experience of raising her own family of four, including a set of twins, her background in psychology and cognitive behaviour theory meant that she felt a great sense of responsibility to inform parents that they no longer needed to suffer with sleep and behavioural issues. Chireal along with her team run a clinic providing practical help/support for parents experiencing difficulty establishing sleep patterns for their children. Particular emphasis is placed on parents of multiple birth children, having recognised the unaddressed need for such support. In addition she has devised an extremely successful attachment style methodology that moves away from the one size fits all approach.

Useful links from external sites

CBeebies Grown Up Support, Baby Sleep

Written by

Chireal Shallow
Psychologist and TV Sleep Expert

Psychologist and sleep expert Chireal uses gentle, compassionate methods to help parents handle their children’s sleep problems. A member of the British Sleep Society, she has 17 years relevant experience.