Show Notes: Possums Sleep Intervention Part 3

Dr Koa Whittingham (A collaborator on the Possums Sleep Intervention – shares some wonderful information about the Possums Sleep Intervention including how to co-ordinate baby wearing and feeding to sleep with multiple caregivers, a new perspective on sleep association, tired cues, incorporation of ACT and how to access the Possums Sleep Intervention.Possums Sleep Intervention Podcast Image


Does co-sleeping, baby wearing, feeding to sleep restrict caregivers?

  • Everyone who cares for baby does NOT have to do the same thing.
    • Each caregiver can find different ways to settle the baby.
  • As the primary caregiver, you want your life to be as easy as it can be.
  • Each caregiver needs to flexibly experiment and find what works for them and baby.
  • There are many ways to comfort a baby, and baby will learn what to expect from each caregiver.

Sleep Associations

  • Feeling relaxed after food is extremely natural.
  • Any external association with sleep can become problematic.
  • Sleep should be primarily cued by the internal cue of sleepiness.
  • The feed relaxes baby, the sleepiness cues sleep, at that point we do not want to wake baby and uncouple sleepiness and sleep.
  • If feeding to sleep is easy and works for you, enjoy it. Just because your baby has learned one thing, doesn’t mean he or she can’t learn another.
  • The Possums Sleep Approach: You know your baby and situation best. It is about flexible experimentation to figure out what works best for you and your baby.

Tired Cues

  • Problem with tired cues
    • It is important to understand your child’s cues
    • Infant behaviour cannot be classified into observable cues – Babies are all different – you need to learn to understand your baby.
  • You will learn to understand your baby’s cues. Flexibly experiment until you understand the patterns.
    • You will get it wrong. That is part of learning.
    • Be flexible and live in the moment.
    • You will develop expert intuition through experience. You won’t always know how you know.

Possums Clinic attitude to breastfeeding and co-sleeping

  • Fully support breastfeeding, formula feeding, or combination feeding.
  • Fully supportive of co-sleeping and solo sleeping. Keep baby within sensory distance for the first 6 months.

ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)

  • Most interventions are focused on infant sleep.
  • Mother’s ability to get back to sleep is also important.
  • Support mother’s sleep efficiency with mindfulness and relaxation exercises and taking the focus off sleep.
    • Learn to disconnect from worrying thoughts.

Accessing Possums Sleep Intervention

  • Possums Sleep Film
  • Skype consultations
  • Face-to-Face sessions with Dr Pamela Douglas in Brisbane
    • General assessment
    • If sleep is the primary issue, then move into the Possums Sleep Intervention
  • Group sessions (Accessible online and in person)

Possums Sleep Intervention Links

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

This is the 6th 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 under the previous show notes.