When my son slept his first 12-hour night at 2.5 months, I decided to share this "magic" with Filipino parents, and it was the beginning of my baby sleep coaching practice over three years ago. Since then, seeing what the baby human body is capable of doing concerning sleep has never disappointed me. My passion for baby sleep and parenting has never waned because baby sleep coaching was unheard of here in the Philippines, yet the majority of my clients are Filipino.
It's has been an incredible journey so far as a mother and educator to see how Filipino parenting styles are changing. There's more awareness, more hunger to learn, which makes me excited to teach parents about decoding their newborn baby's language, which I believe is instrumental in baby care and the foundation for securely attached children.
I often get asked why I don’t start sleep coaching before a baby reaches 4 months of age. One reason is newborns are not fully capable of organizing their sleep until 4 months. But your baby is talking to you from birth instead — LITERALLY TALKING TO YOU!
Are you really listening to your baby?
Nothing short of a miracle happened when Patricia Dunstan, an Australian, first-time mother began to notice her baby speaking distinct patterns of sounds at certain moments. Her auditory gift allowed her to memorize these patterns of sounds occurring repeatedly, which she then began to document. It led to eight years of research involving Brown University and data from 30 countries.
Now, millions of parents around the world use Dunstan's baby language theory that ALL babies have, which remained undiscovered until just 20 years ago. There are those that remain skeptical due to the variants in babies’ pronunciation, making it difficult for some to tune into the sounds. But probably the skepticism is because it was discovered not by a scientist, academic or qualified medical professional but by a desperate, first-time mother instead. What she found has thankfully touched families more positively than not.
Putting your newborn on a timed sleep and feed schedule suggested by someone other than your baby goes against listening to the one person who knows best: your baby! Why do so many parents continue to struggle with newborn care despite so much information available with the internet full of every piece of information you could possibly dream of? Why does neonatal care remain such a mystery?
Your baby is trying to tell you something
None of the popular and readily available newborn care guidance and scheduling suggestions (including “feeding on demand”) are actually taking your baby’s opinion into account — not one. Parents using these methods are hearing their baby, but none are listening to what they have to say. And let's face it: it's pretty unbelievable that a newborn can communicate more than feed, sleep, pee, and poop.
What happens during the first three months with baby, just when communication pathways are being established, you inadvertently ignore what your baby is telling you, and you don't get to attend to all his needs. The notion of “feeding on demand” fundamentally disempowers parents and caregivers by teaching parents to wait for baby’s next demand based on their baby being upset, sometimes paired with some physical clues (such as sucking, crying or both) to mean that their baby is hungry. This also ignores all other needs that your newborn can have before hunger and can be somewhat inflexible.
A newborn’s other needs are never the first choice when parents are trying to understand their baby — the first thing that comes to mind will always be to feed. The baby’s other needs automatically become second or third choice. The whole experience makes parents feel nervous and helpless not knowing how or what can calm their baby down when feeding, for example, has not been successful.
Know what baby-led caring on demand looks like
It is not always easy for parents to hear their baby talking to them once I share with them when I am listening to it during our sleep coaching sessions. Unfortunately, the only word parents seem to hear is “sleep” since this is the nature and focus of my work. However, there are over 20 needs that your newborn baby can share with you! Wouldn’t it be so amazing if you could hear your baby talking to you telling you exactly what they need from birth?
My experience since becoming certified to teach the language has been nothing short of inspiring! Babies settle quicker, and there is less crying. There is improved feeding, and there's a 50% increase in uninterrupted sleep for both baby and parents (baby sleeps on demand!). It's not just the baby who benefits — moms and dads become confident of their parenting skills.
Feel empowered! Know precisely what is true baby-led feeding, sleeping, caring on demand looks like and how to master it with ease.
Sleep coach Gabrielle trained with two UK based sleep trainers using various methods prior to gaining her certification in London. She specialises in the most up-to-date, respectful parenting strategies, 360-degree understanding of the factors affecting pediatric sleep, and how to help families with more complex cases. Coach Gabrielle is also a certified Baby Listening™ Instructor for newborns with the Baby Language Institute Sydney Australia . You may reach her at www.babesofbliss.org and Instagram @babysleepbliss