I know some people wonder if sleep consultants are really necessary. Really, shouldn’t we just go with the flow like people in different cultures do and our ancestors did? Obviously 300 years ago child sleep consultants didn’t exist, but a lot has changed since then.
The three biggest things that I think have changed from native cultures, traditional cultures now and our ancestral cultures is the lack of the “village”, modern life – the pressures of the modern life and thirdly, that a lot of women are now professionals.
Lack of the village
In traditional cultures and our ancestors’ cultures, everyone lived pretty much in a village. All mums were stay-at-home mums. They lived with their sister and their aunt, or their sister-in-law and their mother-in-law and all of the women in the clan or the tribe were all together. Often there was wet nursing so they could take breaks. It’s not like the mother now, who is in downtown suburbia where she’s stuck at home with three children and she’s completely outnumbered.
Back in tribal days or native cultures, the older children would all go off, the younger babies would be staying with the mothers. There’d be just as many children as there are mums or even fewer children than there are mothers or grandmothers. It was a lot more of a village as opposed to now. Adults often don’t live with their mothers or don’t even live in the same cities as their mother. We have help, absolutely. A cleaner might come once a week, that’s help, absolutely, but it’s not going to help with the daily minute-by-minute grind. The lack of the village I think is a really, really important one.
We have a mortgage. They didn’t have a mortgage then. Our ancestors might not have had a mortgage or certainly wouldn’t have been one that was going to take that long to pay off. You might get a mortgage before you have children and then you’ve got to go back to work. What are you going to do? You need to help your little one sleep so that you can perform your job, so you can keep up with the modern life. I’m not talking about people having multi-million dollar houses. I’m talking about people everyday parents having normal home loans. I’m not talking about keeping up with the Joneses. I think that modern life, even if you don’t need to go back to work, a stay at home mum has a lot of things that she needs to keep up with.
I don’t think that babies need to be sleep trained to fit into our life, but at the same time, when we’re talking about someone with a toddler who’s just relentlessly not sleeping, and we can help them sleep better, then a mother who has to do school drop off, that’s an example of modern life. School drop off, all of those things, that’s really difficult to do with zero sleep.
I do find that a lot of the people we work with who were professional pre-children, and people in professional roles feel like they should be able to work it out. There’s a way that we can help this little one sleep better, so let’s just do it. And that’s what we can do. Our tribal ancestors also had witch doctors; people were burnt at the stake, etc. Society evolves and back then we had some pretty, pretty sketchy medical practices and now we have people who can help our baby sleep. I don’t think we want to take everything from our old, traditional tribal cultures. I think that we can move forward with new practices.
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