Before going to sleep school, I had no idea that there was actually (in some people’s minds) a stigma associated with sleep schools. Here I was freely telling anyone who would listen about how excited I was to be taking myself and Frankie off to the Masada Mother Baby Unit’s five day residential program, when some people were probably judging the hell out of me. At first, I was surprised to learn about the stigma, but then upon reflection, I can understand where it comes from. As mums, we can be so reluctant to ask for help, because if we ask for help, that obviously means we are not coping and we are therefore a crap mother, right?
Not only is there stigma, but there also seems to be a lot of mystery (“What happens behind the closed doors of sleep school?”) and this was definitely one of my motivations for starting this blog. For example, people talk a lot about the Masada “patting”, but often in vague terms that are not actually that helpful. I know before enrolling in Masada, I was reading people’s blog posts about their experiences and there wasn’t a great deal of concrete information, even though they all sung Masada’s praises.
And finally, I think there are a lot of mums with babies who are not terrible, waking-up-every-hour sleepers, and think: Isn’t sleep school only for those in dire straits? I probably fell into this category.
Aside from the fact I didn’t have a woeful little sleeper, for the first 10 weeks of her life, Frankie would only sleep for chunks of two to three hours at night. Our maternal health nurse had suggested these periods of sleep time would extend by the time Frankie hit about six weeks, but this never happened. Also in the back of my mind was the fact I was returning to work part-time in June, and I kind of wanted to be getting more than three lots of two hour chunks of sleep overnight. You know, just so my brain could actually function and I could improve my post-pregnancy, sleep deprived goldfish-like memory.
So given the above, enrolling in sleep school was a no-brainer for me. And here is the advice I would give to other mums considering whether to go:
- If you are sick of hearing the advice “sleep when your baby sleeps” (particularly useful advice if your little one doesn’t sleep) and if even trying to stick to this piece of advice is leaving your exhausted: enrol.
- If you are not sure whether your bub is a “bad enough” sleeper: enrol. Just the fact you are questioning it means that things could be better.
- If you are going back to work and your bub isn’t giving you enough sleep to be able to function like a normal human being: enrol.
- If you are worried about the sleep school stigma and are nervous about asking for help in fear that you will be nominated for “worst mother of the year”: enrol. And dump those friends that would judge you for such a decision. Like us mothers need more judgment.
- And if you are hesitant to enrol because you just have no idea what goes on in a sleep school, you might like to have a read of this blog as I have tried to give an accurate picture of what to expect (at least, what to expect at Masada).
And hey, even if you enrol, you can always pull out if Murphy’s Law strikes and your little one becomes a superstar sleeper. Incidentally, a couple of days after I enrolled Frankie, she slept for a full seven hours – but sadly this was never to be repeated, so we kept out place at Masada.
Have you been to sleep school, or considering going? I’d love to hear what your experience was, or what is stopping you from making the call to enrol…