Dreaming of getting more sleep?
Updated: May 5, 2019
Within a few weeks of bringing her first baby daughter home, Micaela Giuffre began to realise her baby wasn’t sleeping as she thought all babies did. Out of complete exhaustion, heightened anxiety and utter desperation, Micaela reached out for help in an attempt to gain some sleep and sanity. Fast forward a couple of years and add in some intensive study, Micaela now runs her own small business, Dreamcatcher- Baby Sleep Solutions.
Through her own experience, Micaela is acutely aware of the harmful effects that a lack of sleep can have on both parents and baby. She believes she was naïve in thinking that babies just slept, and with close family overseas, she really hadn’t had much exposure to babies’ development and sleep. “Being overseas, I missed those heart to heart conversations with family and friends around topics like development, breastfeeding and sleep. So, when it was my turn, I just didn’t understand why my baby wouldn’t sleep in her own bed, without me wrapped around her, without a breast to get her back to sleep and for no more than two hours at a time” she recalls.
She reached out for help and researched everything she could on baby sleep patterns and habits. “I began to see amazing results, so I openly shared my knowledge with other friends who also didn’t have family close by. They too began to see results. I was so overjoyed that I was able to help them during such a difficult time” Micaela says.
It didn’t take long for Micaela to realise she’d found her passion and so began an internationally accredited course from the Baby Sleep Consultant Group based in Australia/New Zealand. Her studies focused on science and evidence-based theories and practice, as well as training in a variety of different techniques because she strongly believes children are individuals and a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t realistic.
At some point or another when raising children, sleep will become the hot topic of conversation among your family and peers. Micaela’s new business is her new baby, and Dreamcatcher promises to help resolve all types of sleep issues. From early wake-ups, inconsistent and short naps, to frequent overnight waking.
Dreamcatcher offers a variety of consultancy packages to suit many families’ needs and all include a comprehensive pre-assessment. Most consulting is offered via phone, Skype or in person and follow up support is provided. Although, the process is extremely flexible, and Micaela will do home consultations, overnight stays or multiple days, if required.
The online nature of this business means you can quite comfortably implement Micaela’s recommendations without ever having to leave your home. And, let’s be honest, those first couple of months with a baby are an almighty blur and venturing out of the house is not an option unless you have back-up. That said, I can assure you, if you were ever going to invite someone into your home after having a baby, Micaela is your gal.
Micaela understands the absolute exhaustion that mothers’ face in those early weeks. “Only when my own baby’s sleep patterns shifted, around the five to six-week mark, did things start to fall apart. I was functioning on low quality sleep and my mental health started to take a steep decline. I felt extremely anxious and exhausted the majority of the time and close to or in tears very often.”
Having always struggled with her own sleep, Micaela only began to clearly understand the importance of sleep once her baby arrived. “The more I’ve learnt about sleep, the more passionate and excited I’ve become about sleep. Quality sleep is one of the top three factors contributing to essential well-being” she says.
Most families implement coping strategies to get through the newborn phase and early months. But the reality is, these first weeks are the weeks in which parents should be trying to implement good sleep routines and habits. “What my husband and I needed was some help. We needed support and information, education and guidance in how to change the routine we had found ourselves in since our baby’s arrival” says Micaela.
“I felt like I just didn’t have it in me to try to make any big changes because, what if they didn’t work and worse, what would happen if things deteriorated further” she recalls. Dreamcatcher offers the reassurance needed for parents struggling through a sleep deprived haze, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Getting external guidance and advice during this phase, could actually change your life.
You couldn’t meet a more relaxed and empathic person than Micaela. When you are around her, she makes you feel like she’s truly listening to your every word. She’s not searching in her pockets, or glancing over your shoulder, she’s with you. “It’s so important to remember that everyone is different, and we should respect people’s rights to parent in a way that aligns with their values. Even close family and friends will provide well-meaning advice, but you should always follow your gut instinct” she advises.
Micaela suggests if you’re uncertain how to proceed or you are feeling too overwhelmed with information, seek out help. “An impartial sleep consultant will consider your entire circumstances as part of their assessment and compilation of a sleep plan. This means taking into consideration things like your child’s sleep environment, their daily routine, medical background, safe sleep practices and guidelines, diet and parenting styles. They'll support you while you make any recommended changes and tweak things as issues arise, helping you work towards achieving your sleep goals in a manner which is appropriate for you.”
Micaela believes most, if not all, babies and children like routine. “It makes them feel comfortable and safe. It is also possible to have core elements in place which will provide that familiarity and comfort for people wanting a more flexible daily routine” she says.
“I truly believe that if you take the time to establish healthy sleep habits from day one, your child’s relationship with sleep will be a healthy and easy one. I absolutely love Kim West’s quote, “'The need for sleep is biological, the ability to sleep is a learned skill'” says Micaela.
At the heart of any small business, there is always an underlying intense passion. Micaela has put her heart and soul into her business, out of a true desire to help other parents during what is often an extremely exhausting and overwhelming period. Her personal experience and that of many others, has guided her approach so that she is extremely flexible in her understanding of parenting styles and practices. Her core message is to always seek help and to never feel that you have to tackle the sleep issues you are facing, on your own.
If you’d like to chat with Micaela about your baby’s sleep issues, check out her details below. Micaela is based in Canada but connected globally.