From the very earliest of weeks, my son proved to be a particularly unsettled and discontent baby. He cried and screamed for the majority of the day, quiet only during his feeds and when he would finally sleep from sheer exhaustion. My baby could on days be awake from 6.00am to 6.00pm and clearly, in addition to being over stimulated he did not actually know HOW to get to sleep on his own. His anxiety, upset and lack of sleep caused me to become so run down that I became quite unwell. My husband and I took advice from Plunket nurses, GPs, Obstetricians, Paediatricians and Osteopaths on how to calm him down. We were advised that he did in fact have reflux and colic, which could be somewhat addressed, but we would need to persevere with the sleep issue.
One of my biggest issues with pre-natal care, is the lack of post-natal advice! I found ante-natal classes put too much emphasis on how to breast feed and what to expect at the birth, a process which takes up only a few hours (or days). Very little information was provided on how to actually “mother” your baby. In particular, what is a baby’s routine? How long should they sleep for? What are the techniques for helping difficult babies get to sleep…?
Anna began working with us from when B was only 9 weeks old. He is now just over 3 months and although we have one or two more steps left to go I can hardly believe he is the same baby. She put a great deal of time in assuring me that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that my baby could sleep! I soon came to understand that in my case, sleep deprivation for both mother and baby, was at the root of both my ability to bond with and care effectively for my baby, and my baby’s ability to calmly develop and grow. Anna was able to closely monitor B’s behaviour and sleep patterns and advise me of various techniques to try until we had established a sleep pattern made up of methods that suited MY baby. Anna’s main focus was to help Ben learn HOW to go to sleep.
Anna has an extremely calm and personable manner, which I found invaluable when I had high anxiety levels in those early weeks. She kept up very regular contact, checking to see how our day had gone, and making refinements to methods as required. She has an excellent understanding of the various theories and practices for “making” babies sleep (such as the UN advocated ‘cry it out’ method), and for those in “helping” babies to sleep, and their subsequent effects on the developing baby and child. I found this to also be of assistance, in providing my own husband with rationale in why NOT to allow our baby to cry for long periods of time, something that in the early days, he wanted us to try. With perseverance and a sleep programme designed for my baby by Anna, I can now put him to bed and be assured that with a little help from me, he is content and able to fall off to sleep! I would recommend Anna and her methods in a heartbeat, for any mother experiencing difficulties with a sleepless baby.D - anon client
As a mother of three children under the age of 2, sleep deprivation was not a foreign concept.
When I started with Anna neither of the twins were sleeping through the night and nights were a constant battlefield. One of the twins took over an hour and a half to settle and was up every hour waking the whole family night and night for months. To start to help us, Anna gathered all the necessary history and got to know the children informally at the park before embarking on this challenge, she has been amazing. Daily contact throughout was essential to keep me on track, provide support and education, monitor how my child and the family were responding to the new sleep strategies and also for her help with the progress.
Anna consistently provided sound advice that was often supported with well-researched evidence. As a mother herself she was empathetic to my needs as well as my children’s. Her approach to our problems was always calm, firm and very reassuring. She provided plenty of positive reinforcement especially when the times were tough and I wanted to quit. Anna always recognised the diversity of the family and how each individual was being affected, and offered advice for each scenario.
As a direct result of the analysis and coaching of Anna, my family’s sleep patterns have improved to a level that my husband and I had simply been unable to reach despite researching and applying endless “text book” approaches. I strongly recommend Anna to you.Cathryn
I wanted to thank you personally for the help that you have offered to our family. The difference to all of us is huge and I really can’t thank you enough. S is now sleeping for 2 hours + through the middle of the day and is now sleeping through the night. If anyone had told me a few months ago that this would be the way it would be now, I’d have thought they were nuts! It is just like a dream to have time during the day AND uninterrupted sleep at night! I will most definitely highly recommend you to anyone I think may benefit from your wonderful, gentle approach.K & S
We were so sleep-deprived when we contacted Anna. Our 3 year old was waking 1 – 3 times every night with nightmares, and our one year old was up 3 – 8 times every night. We had tried many things, and read many books, but were at a loss as to what to do. With Anna compassionate support and wisdom, we are well on the road to recovery! My 3 year old son’s nightmares stopped the night of our first session with Anna and he now loves going to bed and sleeps soundly. He is a much happier boy. Last night was the night we have been waiting for – they both slept all night! Anna methods are gentle but they work. A wonderful thing to discover. We are extremely glad that we chose to work with Anna – it has been a huge turning-point and a big relief.LK
Our daughter slept through the night from 6 weeks to 3 months of age – after that things slowly went downhill and by 9 months she was waking every half hour to an hour. I was so sleep deprived and at my wits end. I’d read all the books and either was not prepared to follow their direction (to let her cry alone) or found the advice overwhelming with too many options and not sure where to start/how much to change at once. I thought I would just have to deal with it until she (hopefully) grew out of it on her own. Then I found Anna…
In one session Anna listened to our story including our successes and struggles with sleep. She asked us where we wanted to be, how we wanted to sleep (we have a side-car arrangement and wanted to keep our daughter in our room with us), what we needed to function again, and how quickly or slowly we wanted to get results. She then tailored a sleep plan to fit us. I was not willing to let my daughter cry alone in her cot and I was thankful to hear that there were other options. The relief was instant, even though change took a little longer. Suddenly I felt at least that we were getting somewhere and, in the time frame Anna predicted, we got the results we were looking for. More than that, we have the confidence and the skills to implement other changes when the time comes. Now when there’s an off week due to a cold or teething, I know it won’t take long to get us back on track. I strongly recommend Anna for any family dealing with sleep issues. She allowed us to continue to be the parents we want to be and to love and support our daughter the way that is best for us.
When we experienced “sleep issues” with our son Finn, we did not want to leave him to “cry it out”. Not only did it seem completely unnatural to leave my son to cry by himself in his room, but I had also read recent research outlining the detrimental effect of doing so. We were so fortunate to happen across Anna and her services. She taught me and my husband much. She helped us to identify what the issues with Finn were and coached us through very simple and easy methods to help him overcome them. Although warned it may take weeks, it took days and made a dramatic difference to our quality of life…Aside from helping us with Finn’s sleep (and teaching us about how babies’ sleep and develop, how to read babies’ signs and cues, nutrition and much more), the most refreshing thing was to finally talk to a professional who advocated positive parenting; someone who understood the way in which we wanted to raise our child and affirmed it for us as well. It was such a relief! Now Finn’s bed is his haven – it is not a place of traumatic memories, but of good ones. It is his safe place. It is the place he asks to go to when he has hurt himself, is sick or just wants a cuddle. There is never a struggle to get him to his room and for months now he will happily walk there by himself at the end of a busy day. It makes me so proud. Thank you Anna for helping us achieve this.
It is with pleasure that we provide this reference for Anna Martin, after all she saved our sanity, but most importantly she helped my husband and I resolve our babies’ sleep issues without compromising the caring and nurturing environment we had lovingly created. I contacted Anna via email. In summary this what we wrote…
Our nine month old baby girl has not been a good sleeper since she was six weeks old when she developed severe colic. We sought help at the Plunket Family Centre on two occasions with no satisfactory results. When she was three months old I had a prolapsed disc in my neck which led to breast feeding to sleep. From seven months old she could no longer be moved from the breast to the cot without hysterical fits of crying, choking and poohing her nappy (even if I stayed in the room!). For the past month, it has been common for this ritual to be repeated up to 10 times and last anywhere up to three hours before we successfully get her into the cot asleep, and then we have at least one night waking where the whole process starts over.
Anna helped us tackle one issue at a time, allowing our daughter to go at a slow pace, while continuing to respond sensitively to her needs, both physically and emotionally. This was not a one size fits all approach, nor was the solution set in concrete. The action plan was tailored specifically to our sleep issues and our little girl’s temperament, and as we reported on progress daily, it was tweaked accordingly. This coupled with Anna in-depth understanding of attachment theory, I believe is her winning formula. After working with Anna for two and half months, we now have a child who generally sleeps 11-12 hours through the night, only waking occasionally, and who falls asleep on her own in the evening. This was accomplished without our little girl feeling abandoned or traumatized in any way.
We can’t thank Anna enough for empowering us to make the parenting decisions we instinctively knew were right for our family, despite all the contradictory information we had been bombarded with (i.e. that controlled crying was our only option), from professionals such as GP’s and Plunket. The end result is a happier and well rested child, and parents who are enjoying every moment of her journey. It also proves that ‘tough love’ is unnecessary, as you can achieve desired outcomes in a more sensitive way if you are willing to invest the time and energy.S & I
We first had contact with Anna when our darling daughter was almost 10 months old. We had got to the point of total exhaustion, and were struggling to just get through each day. My poor husband had been banished to the spare room, so he could get some sleep before work the next day, and I was existing on about 3 hours total sleep a night. With a 3-year old toddler requiring my attention, life was fast becoming a nightmare! When Caitlin was born she was the perfect sleeper and this was the case for 7 weeks, then things went horribly wrong. She decided that 20-40min stretches of sleep were enough for during the day and she would also wake every 20-40mins at night. I fast dreaded the hours of darkness and spent more time in her room than our bed.
Anna entered our lives when we were at the point of not knowing where to turn next. People would ask me how Caitlin was sleeping, and I would reply ‘fine’ as felt her not sleeping was a reflection on us as being ‘bad parents’. I had also got sick of people telling me to ‘leave her to cry’, as this was just not an option for me! Anna listened to our story and then helped us set in place a strategy to overcome our sleep problems. Everything she was saying made so much sense, but we couldn’t figure it out alone in our sleep-deprived state. She told me the first few nights were going to be difficult.. and she wasn’t wrong!!! In fact I started to wonder if what Anna was saying was actually going to work!
After a period of time we began to have a MUCH happier family! I can’t imagine where we would be today if it had not been for Anna, she gave us hope in a desperate situation and allowed us to finally enjoy our daughter and sister again. Anna, we will never be able to truly express how much your expertise has meant to us. You are a remarkable lady, who we feel fortunate to have had work with us.L & B
We got in touch with Anna when we were at our wits end with lack of sleep. Chrissy was 16mths old and was all over the place. We had been through two months of being up at least 5 times a night, for at least an hour at a time and we were over it. We were ‘cry it outers’ with our son, and it worked for him, but our daughter is a total opposite kettle of fish. She could scream!! Nothing worked consistently. After seeing the results of Anna work, I wouldn’t feel the need to use ‘cry it out’ again. We saw drastic improvement in the first two days and within a week she was sleeping through. My husband is a bit of a fence sitter on these things, but even he couldn’t deny the changes we saw in her sleeping and how much easier she was to settle when she did wake. The other great thing is its pain-free for everyone! No screaming and crying (from baby or parents) and it really helped us to have a plan, we coped so much better. The daily contact with Anna was also fantastic, whether reassuring us or setting the next step, we felt and feel totally supported. And if we slip up, no problem, lets sort out why and go from there. We are still progressing….we still have the odd night where we are up and down, but its mainly now due to medical issues, once we have them under control she goes back to sleeping through. She is far far easier to settle though. The nights of rocking in her chair for hours are far behind us. We can’t thank Anna enough for her help and support and would thoroughly recommend this site and her to anyone who wants help with sleep, and wants to do it in a calm and loving way.
Your advice from the outset to rebuild our daughters trust was important. As a temporary measure Anna enabled us to sleep with her in her room etc without feeling guilty and this has saved us all a lot of heartache ( if not backache!) and we wouldn’t be where we are today, with our daughter now going to bed peacefully, independently and happily each night and sleeping through, if it wasn’t for that so thank you once again. Many many thanks.B & M
When I first received advice from Anna my son was 6 months old and waking constantly through the night. I began working with Anna almost on a daily basis to assist me with my son’s sleeping habits. Anna has a wonderful gentle approach that is still practical for working and stay at home mothers. Her methods always take into account not only the stage of development of an infant but also their psychological needs. As my son is now 9 ½ months old she has advocated changing his sleep pattern in small stages which is not only gentle for my son, but allows me small regular ‘successes’ so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.
I have great respect for Anna. Her advice on infant sleep and behaviour is obviously well researched and thought out. She seems to approach all babies as individuals and advises accordingly as well as taking into account the situation of the parents. However Anna always has the needs of the infant foremost in mind and her methods are wonderfully supportive of babies’ psychological growth and development and always encourages the bond of trust between parent and child. Her methods give the best of attachment orientated parenting whilst respecting a parent’s need for rest too. The best part is of course that her advice and methods have and do indeed work, I have had great success working with her and I know others do as well. I do not hesitate to wholeheartedly recommend Anna for any role working with Mothers and their children to solve their sleep or behaviour issues.T
After months of multiple night wakings with my 8 month old, I began to research possible “solutions”. As a new mum, I had read many, many books on helping teach my child to sleep, and had tried so hard to do all the “right things” that the books told me would ensure my son would soon be sleeping through the night. So I was bewildered when our 1 night waking became 2, and then 3, and then 4…
Once again, I turned to the books and the “experts” in my endeavour to get an idea of how to fix our sleepless nights. I became disillusioned and despondent though as I found that continually the solutions being suggested conflicted with my natural maternal instincts. I am still amazed by the enormous pressure put on parents to turn their back on their babies and leave them to cry alone, scared and confused. Fortunately, a mutual friend helped me to get in contact with Anna. Anna helped me to find a solution which did not involve leaving my child to cry. Instead, Anna encouraged me to foster my instinctive nurturing impulses. Anna taught me that my experiences were not unusual, nor were they permanent and helped me find a plan to meet my baby’s and my own needs.
So now my son and I are putting that plan into action and Anna has been there every step of the way with understanding, compassion and warmth. Thank you for guiding me through the confusion of baby sleep, helping me to understand my son better and working towards a good night’s rest.Jo
My son, now 10mths old, was never good sleeper. Before I contacted Anna, he had slept through the night maybe 10 times and would have two 30-45 minute naps during the day. On his worst night, he was waking up nearly every 45 minutes. On the 5th night of implementing the Anna plan, he slept through the night and hasn’t looked back. 10 days into it, his morning sleeps were consistently 2hrs and he usually also had a 1hr afternoon nap. I wonder how my poor boy managed to stay so happy in his days of very little sleep. My little non-sleeper has turned into a sleep-a-holic in less than 2 weeks. Now, if he doesn’t sleep through the night, I know he must be really unwell. Thanks so much Anna for your help! You have saved our sanity without the pain of having to deal with any crying.Rachael
Restoring a new parent’s sanity is no small feat. Anna managed not only this great task, but did so with a supportive, guiding hand which saw our restless, wakeful baby settle into a calm, consistent routine. It took time, but when we got there it remained constant and we have the peace of mind that we did it in the most gentle way possible. She now sleeps an amazing 12 hours a night and looking back I realise how far we’ve come and what a different person I am now that I have my sleep back myself!SM
For most of the time, Sophie was the most happy, contented and chilled baby parents could ask for but, by the time she was 8 months old we were exhausted. She was sleeping an hour at the most in the daytime (and not all at once) and was waking upwards of five times every night. We had read every “help your baby sleep better” books we could find in the library and we were feeling pretty desperate. We knew there must have been something more appealing than simply accepting this exhausting lack of sleep and less abhorrent than using the dreaded controlled crying method, but we just didn’t know what it was.
That was until someone told us about Anna Martin. She sounded like just what we needed, so we instantly looked her up and got in contact with her. During our first conversation I felt so comfortable and supported. For the first time in 8 months, I felt like maybe I wasn’t doomed to a lifetime of sleep deprivation after all (extreme I know, but at times in my sleep deprived irrational state I really thought I was!!). Anna was so thorough and offered us practical and gentle techniques to encourage S to sleep. We started to notice improvements really quickly and it was all so easy. The constant support that Anna offered resulted in a pretty painless process for everyone involved. There was no crying (controlled or otherwise), no guilt and no feelings of failure.
Not even three months down the track and Sophie now sleeps consistently well during the day and we are currently up to night number 11 of uninterrupted sleep! It is truly miraculous. There are truly no words that can express the gratitude that we have for Anna. Our family life has been changed immeasurably and we couldn’t recommend her more highly!Mum and Dad of S
For further enquires or to make an appointment, call Anna on 021 248 3414 or use the email form below.