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If there’s one thing new parents need, it’s infant sleep and wellbeing support.
A new baby in the household is one of the purest joys life has to offer. But it’s also fraught with anxiety and confusion. Conflicting messages send you into spasms of stress. You don’t know who to turn to or trust.
I have two pieces of advice for getting the infant sleep and wellbeing support you need:
RIE stands for Resources for Infant Educarers.
It was founded in 1978 by infant specialist and educator Magda Gerber, whose compassionate, human-centred approach to baby rearing saw the RIE movement become a global organisation.
What I love about RIE is that it honours your baby as an equal player in the parent-child dynamic. By understanding your baby’s communication cues, you can understand and respect her needs and thus respond based on what your baby is telling you, not what all the mixed messages are trying to force on you.
The RIE approach encourages you to use the maternal instincts you were given, which in modern times is often squashed and silenced by the many “experts” who claim to know what your baby needs.
I prefer this baby-led approach because it encourages parents to be accepting of their child, and allowing the child’s natural development to unfold. I’ve seen so many parents become panicked and distressed if their baby is not “operating” as the manual says they should. What I love about RIE is that it respects the individuality of babies by encouraging parents to really tune in to and try to understand what their baby needs to communicate before they react. To think, first and foremost, about your baby’s perspective, rather then what others think you should or shouldn’t do. This helps to guide parents to the best decision for their child. But mostly, I LOVE how RIE respects how capable our children are – rather then viewing them as poor, helpless creatures.
The RIE vision:
“Our work is inspired by the natural integrity of infants and the formative power of relationships in their lives. When allowed to unfold in their own way and in their own time, children discover, manifest and inspire the best in themselves and in others.”
It’s true that it takes a village to raise a child.
In modern Western society, we have lost so much of the family-based support network that human beings naturally evolved within. If we’re lucky, we have a loving partner and perhaps our parents, in-laws or grandparents nearby. But it’s nothing like it once was, with the entire extended clan all living together in one village.
Yet we so badly need that support. And so we must create our own villages.
That’s why I created the Baby Talk Australia Infant Sleep and Wellness Support Facebook group. Mothers submit questions in there to get help with their baby’s sleep issues and other wellness topics, and I answer them on my Q & A nights which are presented online in my private group.
My answers are based on my 20+ years of experience as an infant carer, Maternity Nanny and baby sleep coach. Mothers answer based on their personal experience and inherent wisdom.
In my regular Facebook Live Q&A sessions, you can get your questions answered directly.
It’s a private group and membership is free. I invite you to join so that you can get advice on baby care and offer your support to other mothers.
Here are some of the conversations we’ve had in the group recently:
Just want to say a big thankyou for your video yesterday. My son would only fall asleep on my bed with boob until last night, when I tried out your advice and put him in the cot with book, song , comforter and sleeping bag. Last night he screamed for 20 mins but each time since then when I put him down is getting less and less. Tonight he just grizzled for 10 mins and went to sleep with no tears. He used to sleep all night but recently has been waking every 2 hours so I’m hoping this also teaching him to self settle during the night. Thanks again!!!
Fantastic! Good on you! What a relief the change will bring to your approach now. 😆 In the night, resist jumping up immediately, give around 10 minutes before going in. Often babies just wake and grizzle in sleep talk grizzle. If they are given space to use their innate wisdom – they go back to sleep. You will know if hungry! Let me know how you get on…
Infant sleep is major parenting puzzle. Inspired by Magda Gerber’s RIE approach, I’ve been advising families for over 20 years on how to put the pieces together. I’d love to help you too.