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Sleep Counsellors - recommend them here

(25 Posts)
talilac Fri 30-May-08 14:52:33

I read threads in this section from people going out of their minds with sleep deprivation, and I always want to post the same recommendation for the sleep specialist we used.

So rather than do it on 20 threads, which would be weird and time consuming, I thought I'd start one with the info. That way other people who have gone down that route can post their recommendations too.

I know sleep counselling isn't for everyone, its not cheap for a start, but honestly I think it saved me from completely losing my mind. Also, DH and I found that having someone else tell us what to do stopped us arguing about whose way of solving the problem was right! (for the record, I was more right than he was.)

Anyway, we used Andrea Grace, www.andreagrace.co.uk who was very kind and gentle and whose methods worked very quickly. She is London based but also does phone counselling.

Anyone else got someone they'd recommend?

pevie Fri 30-May-08 22:20:16

Interested in this cos have just booked Linda Russell, known as 'the sleep lady' who is Edinburgh based. Spoke to her briefly at Babyshow and seemed quite sensible, so will let you know. Would be good if works out as helpful for us north of border. We also have Sleep Scotland in Scotland which is a charity but need referral to this. We got referral which just came up and have posted to ask anyone if they have experience of this. I think you do get to a stage where you cant see wood for the trees and just need someone to guide you through.

talilac Mon 02-Jun-08 10:10:32

Yes thats the thing about extreme sleep deprivation - it makes dealing with ANYTHING just so hard..

Looking forward to reading your report, Pevie..

alice123 Tue 03-Jun-08 23:12:54

Naturally nurturing - I would recommend them

talilac Wed 04-Jun-08 13:11:21

Hey Alice, what were they like?

mamarug Fri 06-Jun-08 13:07:33

Can you tell me a bit more about Andrea Grace's approach, Talilac? I've just booked a consultation with her for next week for my 18 month old. He sleeps much better than he used to (first 14 months were a total nightmare), but we're still struggling with 4am starts to the day and waking at 2am every other night. Was having second thoughts about whether to go ahead with the consultation or just struggle on, so was interested to see your recommendation. I suspect your LO was much younger when you consulted Andrea?

alice123 Fri 06-Jun-08 21:25:47

Naturally nurturing offer sensible advice though mostly common sense. Within 2 weeks of following their advice my son who at 18 months was sleeping from 8 - 5.30 was sleeping 7.30 to 7 and it made a huge difference to my life (and his).

mamarug Sat 07-Jun-08 11:50:40

That's so encouraging that you had such a good result with an older baby, Alice. I was begining to think I had left it too long and was preparing myself for a couple more years of no sleep...

What were the main things they advised you to do?

talilac Sat 07-Jun-08 21:48:39

Hello Mamarug

Yes, we saw Andrea when DD1 was 6m and waking every hour thru the night (but I have friends who saw her for their nearly 2 year old.)

She was really kind tbh, thats what I mainly remember.

I was absolutely losing it with tiredness, and DH and I were arguing about how to fix it. The friends who used her previously, I think their paediatrician recommended her.

As I remember my main concern was not wanting to leave DD1 to cry, but that wasn't one of the methods used. It was all about creating good sleep associations, making a predictable pattern for every evening ending in bedtime. Plus we were given guidelines for what to do for night wakings - ie no bottle etc, so as not to give anything to wake for..

I think the theory is that if the LO is parented to sleep (fed, rocked, cuddled etc) then they'll need that when they wake in the night. We were given a plan to follow which aimed to replace existing sleep associations (fed to sleep) with new ones that led to her going off on her own (bath, book, song, bed) but the change happened pretty gradually and Andrea offered phone support while we were doing it.

I know it sounds a bit sketchy written out like that but it was a really dark time of no sleep and arguing a lot, and I actually don't remember it that clearly. But I do remember the relief when DD1 finally started sleeping, and I do vividly remember how amazing it felt to be able to hand the problem over to someone whose JOB it was to fix it.

Not much use re your 18m old, do you want me to ask my friend what she was like for their 2yr old?

rooibosh Sun 15-Jun-08 17:10:33

alice123, can I ask more about the advice you had, to go from sleeping 8-5.30 to 7-7.30. Our ds is nearly 13 months and goes to sleep by himself in the cot, sleeps well but wakes and won't be settled, generally 5.15-5.30am but can wake as early as 4.40. (When we go in to him he gets furious when we go so we often leave him until 6am).

talilac Tue 17-Jun-08 14:34:50

Rooibosh - bump in case Alice comes back.

Mamarug - how did it go?

mummyrayjay Tue 17-Jun-08 22:02:33

Ds is 11months, does not have a problem of waking early but is bf to sleep and cannot selfsettle.

How much is it for a sleep counsellor?

I want someone to get us in a proper routine,ds goes to bed sometime at 10pm, which is crazy. Never sleeps through the night and is always bf when he wakes...

mamarug Tue 17-Jun-08 22:03:55

Hi Talilac smile, I've been meaning to write for a few days to say thank you SO much for recommending Andrea Grace - she was absolutely brilliant and I'm only sorry we didn't go to see her a year ago. What a kind, intelligent and practical woman - it's the first time I felt that someone actually listened to me about the whole sleep issue and I really felt that what she suggested was tailored to our family and DS, rather than simply following some formulaic approach. I can't believe I wasted so much time and energy reading the wretched books/talking to health visitors/beating myself up over DS's inability to sleep when there are experts like Andrea out there to help. I realise that this is not an option open to everyone as it's pretty expensive, but if you can stretch to it I really think it's worth it. She has also recently published a book called "Teach Yourself: Baby Sleep", which I found really useful as well - it's very practical and doesn't have the same judgemental guru-speak tone of some of the other mainstream sleep books.

DS's sleep has definitely improved since we've been following Andrea's suggestions, and I just feel so much more confident knowing that we have a plan and that DH and I both know what we're doing and are able to respond in a consistent way. Looking back, the reason I felt unable to address DS's sleep issues for so long was that I received so much conflicting advice and I just didn't feel confident enough to carry any one method through. I won't hesitate to go back to a sleep consultant if I have sleep difficulties with my next one. So thanks Talilac for starting this thread!

enormouschangesatthelastminute Wed 18-Jun-08 09:40:55

I can also recommend the Andrea Grace book, which i use but I can also vote for Rebecca Stewart of the baby moon who was recommended by marslady on here. she was great and very sensible (north london based). i do still have a night feed issue with dd2 but that is because i am a coward about taking both rebecca and andrea grace book advice on dropping night feeds.
as i type this it makes me feel uncomfortably like i'm the problem, not dd2, hmm i wonder...

Roastchicken Wed 18-Jun-08 09:56:53

I can recommend Millpond's telephone service. www.mill-pond.co.uk Within a few days our 16 mth DD changed from waking several times a night to sleeping through. I also successfully used the strategies in their book to get my 6 mth old co-sleeping baby to sleep through the night in his own bed. You could just buy the book, but it makes such a difference to have someone understanding to talk to, and to see it through.

taliac Mon 23-Jun-08 14:02:32

Mamarug - Glad it went well!

I also thought the book was decent - a bit dry but full of useful info.

Mummyrayjay, it can be quite expensive - I don't know about others but I know Andrea's rates are on her website. However I found it was worth it to get my life back!

Thanks for the Millpond recommendation, RoastChicken. Were they nice? What methods did they use?

Anyone got any others? Anyone tried any NHS / Charity services??

taliac Mon 23-Jun-08 14:05:04

enormouschanges - I'm dropping night feeds with DD2 at the moment and its difficult to do isn't it! I know she doesn't need them but its tough to withstand her wanting them..

Thanks for the Rebecca Stewart recommendation..

Tinkjon Mon 23-Jun-08 14:56:22

I thought I'd heard of NHS sleep clinics (ie. free) - has anybody heard of these, or are they all private clinics?

I am considering a sleep counsellor but have felt like it would be a waste of money because I've read about all the sleep tactics so can counsellors really have anything different to say? Has anybody here felt that they knew all the standard advice but the counsellors still gave them a new approach?

taliac Mon 23-Jun-08 15:26:48

Well I did a lot of reading but I think probably I got overwhelmed by the different approaches. Plus my DH and I disagreed on tactics quite frequently.

I liked having someone else in charge if that makes sense. Andrea came to see us, I told her some no nos (I didnt want to leave DD to cry) and she gave us a sleep plan (it was based on gradual withdrawal with lots of stuff designed to create positive sleep associations) which both DH and I followed. We took alternate nights settling DD without interference from the other and I think that really helped us get our sense of solidarity back.

Andrea was then on the phone and email for the next month to help us work out any problems we encountered along the way.

I'd love some info on the NHS clinics - anyone??

Badpups Wed 25-Jun-08 23:09:45

I've just found this thread.

I went to an NHS sleep clinic recommended by my HV at Hertford County Hospital (Herts).

Ita Andrews was great and her advice has given us back our evenings and sanity (although DS2 is still not perfect at sleeping through the night).

taliac Thu 26-Jun-08 15:33:29

Okay good info thanks Badpups. What sort of methods did they suggest?

oxfordcomma Sat 30-Apr-11 20:48:10

Although this is quite an old thread, DH and I found it useful when we were dithering about choosing a sleep specialist to help us.

We recently had a phone consultation (+ 4 weeks of phone support) with Andrea Grace.

Andrea devised a clear sleep plan for us to follow, and provided invaluable phone support over the next 4 weeks. As a result, DS's sleep skills have improved beyond recognition.

We found Andrea to be very professional and understanding throughout this process, and I cannot recommend her highly enough.

InvaderZim Mon 02-May-11 21:26:09

Oooh, I was just coming onto MN to ask about this, I fear for my sanity, with the lack of sleep around here. sad

If there are any other recommendations, I'd love to hear them...

TheRtHonCountessOfBapula Tue 03-May-11 08:17:17

We used Andrea Grace and didn't get anywhere TBH. DS is sleeping worse than before if anything. She tried her absolute best but DS is a hardcore sleep refusenik and gets hysterical very easily during any kind of sleep training.

Her service is excellent - I would often email her in desperation at 9/10 at night and get a response within an hour. She is a lovely woman, warm and sympathetic, and generous with her time, often giving over and above the 'package' we'd bought.

All I would say is that she is insistent on full night weaning from six months. I thought this was too harsh and it was a bit of a bone of contention throughout the time we were using her. From reading people's experiences on here, I know that other sleep clinics advise keeping a dreamfeed/10pm feed until you're comfortable with dropping it. So unless you're happy to drop all night feeds (7pm to 6am) Andrea might not be right for you.

Also, consider the temperament of your baby before embarking on any sleep training programme. Andrea uses controlled crying or gradual withdrawal, but both were too much for DS - he screamed hysterically for hours and the stress made him wake more, not less. If your baby increases tension by crying, there is a limit to what sleep clinics etc can do IME. Even Andrea admitted there wasn't much more she could do for us sad

Under normal circumstances I'm sure she would be excellent. I just wanted to share my experience, as sleep consultants aren't miracle workers and if your baby is very resistant there's not a lot you can do about it.

saltyann Wed 26-Sep-12 20:17:43

Yep, that's exactly what I'm worried about TheRtHonCountessOfBapula. I've been reading all the threads (& books) and am considering a sleep consultant, however when I have tried to very gently sleep train our 5 & a half month old son (Elizabeth Pantley style) it's resulted in inconsolable crying fits that last an hour each time by which point he's too wired to sleep (& I'm a dithering wreck) so I don't dare go anywhere near controlled crying. Our problem is that DS wants to BF to sleep, but wakes every hour or two from midnight onwards... sad
Were you eventually able to solve your dilemma yourself
TheRtHonCountessOfBapula?

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