Show Notes: Possums Sleep Intervention Part 1Possums Sleep Intervention

Dr Koa Whittingham (A collaborator on the Possums Sleep Intervention – shares some wonderful information about the Possums sleep intervention, and how it differs from typical behavioural approaches, and normalising approaches.


  • Behavioural interventions in the first 6 months have very limited impact:
    • e.g. Falling asleep in the cot (as opposed to in arms)
    • 1 less episode of waking every two nights.
    • No evidence of long term benefits.
    • Can negatively impact breast-feeding.
    • Behavioural psychology world view.
  • Normalisation Approach.
    • It is normal for babies to wake many times a night and need to feed multiple times per night.
    • 4th trimester.
    • Most children will be sleeping through by their second birthday – wait it out.
  • Possum’s Sleep Intervention – Middle ground.
    • Agree with the normalisation approach and
    • Optimise sleep for mother and baby.
    • Help parents to get through the early years.
    • Incorporates behavioural psychology, biology of sleep, and lactation science.
    • Biology of Sleep
      • Circadian Rhythm/ClockPossums Sleep Intervention
        • Sleep doesn’t breed sleep – long naps during the day can confuse the circadian clock.
        • Darkened or artificially quiet room during nap time can artificially lengthen daytime naps.
        • Sleep consolidation at night can occur earlier than 3 months.
      • Sleep Homeostat – Longer awake = higher need for sleep.
    • Anxiety and stress can interfere with ability to sleep.


For more great resources on Mindfulness and ACT for parents, check out these links:

This is the 4th Episode in the series, here are links to the rest of the series:

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Have you felt pressured by common advice around baby sleep? Have you attended Possums? Or Read Dr Pamela Douglas’ book? Please start a discussion below.