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SUMMARY- Carly shares her take on some of the themes that wove themselves throughout season 2. From how to know if something is right for your family, to flexible sleep arrangements and how pivotal the brain changes that come with becoming a parent are in the parenting journey. Join Carly in her discussion of what she learned from our amazing guests in Season 2 of the Beyond Sleep Training Podcast.

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The Beyond Sleep Training Podcast- a podcast dedicated to sharing real tales of how people have managed sleep in their family outside of sleep training culture because sleep looks different with a baby in the house and because every family is different there is no one-size-fits-all approach to take.

I’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which this podcast is being recorded, the Kalkadoon people, I pay my respects to the elders of this nation and the many other nations our guests reside in from the past, present and emerging. We honour Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, water and seas as well as their rich contributions to society including the birthing and nurturing of children.


Welcome to the Beyond Sleep Training podcast.  I’m your host, Carly Grubb, and today I am bringing you a wrap up of Season 2.  As we conclude our very successful second season of the podcast I just wanted to take an opportunity to thank each and every one of our listeners and readers, because we have got the transcripts available on our site for anyone who prefers to read rather than listen.  Right through the first and second season of the show it has been an absolute privilege bringing these stories to you.  Our guests have been of an absolutely outstanding calibre and I am hoping that they are bringing richness and reality to your listening ears each and every week.  It’s certain our aim here. 

So for the wrap up episode I just wanted to be able to share with you some of the common themes that I have been noticing across the season, just to wrap things up in a nice, tight bundle for you and to help make sense of it all, and maybe have some conversations with people if you’d  be interested.  We are on Facebook and Instagram.  We regularly post information about the podcast, as well as in our free peer support group for the Beyond Sleep Training Project.  I also really appreciate the people who have been leaving us reviews on their sites and giving us their 5 star ratings.  It actually helps our podcast distribution to reach more people.  So, if anyone has got some time it’s a huge help, but for a podcast that’s entirely relying on organic reach we’re doing super well, and you can help us make that go even further by leaving us a review or giving us a rating wherever you’re listening to the show.  One person, Brooklyn Shaw, left us this review recently.  It says, “I am beyond thankful that I found this podcast.  I resonate with Carly’s stories so much.  More mothers should hear this message.  I wish I would have found this podcast six months ago when my babe was a newborn.  I was, because of outside influences, questioning my every instinct to cuddle, respond to my baby.  Now my confidence has grown in who I am as a mother and how I choose to respond to my baby.  Thank you for this podcast.”  And reading something like that really brings to the fore why it is so important that we are putting these messages out into the world.  Because we are social creatures we really thrive on having role models and examples to build on when we’re imagining our own realities with our family.  So that’s what we’re aiming to do, and through the themes that we’ve been able to see throughout Season 2 tapping into your instincts has got to have been the number one thing that our guests has been… have been indicating that we’d love to bring that to everybody’s lives, because there is that pull deep down in your core that is telling you whether something feels right or wrong for you and your baby.  Sometimes we need us to turn the volume up on it, because I know when I was a new mum I really didn’t think I had any instincts at all, but once you turn up the volume on those instincts you realise that they’re actually your very best guide any time you’re making decisions for your family.  So if you haven’t yet tapped into those for yourself, maybe practice doing that today.  When you’re doing things with your little one have a little reflection moment and think about whether that felt, or gave you a feeling in your - for me it’s right underneath my chest bones there, just probably where my diaphragm sits - that’s where I get the feeling and it really is very much like a gut feeling.  I get a tightness there when things are going wrong, or even a little bit of a pull in my chest that goes, ‘Oh, hang on.  That did not feel good.’  Try and tune into those things for yourself, and if you’re getting those feelings then maybe it’s in need of a little bit of adjustment so that you can figure out what feels right for you instead, so that you’re not getting those pulls and tugs each day in your… in your body.

And the second theme that really stood out this season was the idea that just because it’s hard doesn’t make it wrong, and I think that’s one that catches a lot of people out.  When we are with our babies and up to our neck in it and things are so incredibly hard it’s very hard to then not go into a spiral of thinking that there must be something wrong, you must be doing it wrong.  Aren’t I meant to be enjoying this time in my life?  And so we start looking for a fix or a solution, and in reality most of the time there is no fix or solution to be found because this particular part, or this particular season in life, is actually plain hard.  There are ways to make it easier with support networks and accessing practical, hands on, or if you’re… if you’ve got underlying situations going on for your love seeking support around those.  But at the end of the day nothing you do might make it easy.  It might still be really hard, and you will still make it out the other side together by riding through that wave together, and it’s okay to acknowledge that you’re doing it tough in that moment.  But yeah, I think giving yourself a bit of grace around that.  If you’re finding this hard, that’s because it is.  Not everything in life is meant to be easy and some of the most worthwhile things we will ever do are also some of the hardest things we will ever do.  So take some heart from that.

The third thing that I’ve noted keeps coming up, and it was right through the first season as well, and that was around flexible sleep arrangements, and what we mean by that is just keeping an open mind about how and where you can find the best sleep for your family at that particular moment in time.  This might mean considering having a floor bed, or if you have space bringing the cot into your room to make a sidecar arrangement.  This might mean for a period of time you don’t have bedside tables, or it might mean that you are sleeping separately from your spouse for a period.  We actually had several guests talking about the benefits of sleeping separately from their spouse, mainly around snoring, but it also worked well when people were trying to navigate supporting a toddler when there was a new baby in the house as well.  When it comes to these flexible sleep arrangements the important thing is to know is that they’re flexible, meaning that they’re everchanging.  You’re not set in stone just because you’re doing it a certain way now.  It’s okay to do what works now and then come up with something different when your needs of your family have shifted again.  In my particular family we’ve had many sleep configurations depending on the needs of the family, and it’s honestly been the best stress-free – or not stress-free, I wouldn’t call it stress-free – less stress way to go and roll with my babies and children as they’ve grown, rather than trying to fight to keep a rigid view of where everybody should be sleeping in that night.  And it also comes down to things like when you find, if you’re bedsharing and that’s really not working for you anymore, the only option isn’t to then put your child into a separate room in a cot or their own bed in the other room.  Sometimes there’s ways to be creative about it and, like we had little kindy beds that we could set up, or little… those camping stretcher beds can be a good option too for older toddlers, that helped give us the space that we needed to start shifting away from the bedsharing that was giving us all poor quality sleep, but didn’t automatically assume that our child was then going to be ready to be sleeping entirely or for the full night in another space.  So having those… I guess keeping an open mind on it allows you to problem-solve those things for your family knowing that you’re not alone.  There’s many families out there currently coming up with creative ideas to help get everybody the sleep they need in your house, and yes, some options probably aren’t ones that are going to work for you right now, but what could?  And that’s the prompt I think that people listening along, I hope that you’re taking on today.  Keep that option, keep those options open, keep your mind open to thinking what could work for us right now, and trying it out.  Nothing’s set in stone.  No harm in trying.  Give it a crack.  Doesn’t work, try something else.

The next theme is one that I think we cannot emphasise enough, especially for people who are still in the thick of it, and that is every single one of our guests who has made it out the other side has zero regrets - zero regrets - about doing what felt right for their babies and children when they needed them in the night.  Zero. And there’s not many things in parenting life where you come out the other side and can actually say that, because for the most part we all have things that we would have liked to have done better or differently and whatnot, but following our heart and our babies is not one of them.  So if you’re up to your neck in it and wondering what on earth is going on and will this ever end, please know that when you get to the other side of it all you will feel nothing but pride in the way that you worked your way through this together with your baby; your unique, little family.

The next message is one that’s really near and dear to my heart, and actually got me in a little bit of trouble this week and I’m feeling quite… I still have a bit of a sting going on.  I definitely could have improved my messaging around this.  But it’s around the idea that getting the message about safer shared sleep out to every single family is a no-brainer to me.  It’s not information that should be being gatekept from families who need that information right now.  And unfortunately the society that we’re living in, the way things are set up, the way policies and government organisations and protocols have been set up mean that some of the people who are on the very frontline working with families every day are unable to deliver those messages because they are bound by codes of conduct.  And to me that is completely unacceptable.  It actually makes me wild.  This is for every family.  This is not for isolated cases.  This is not for some small minority of families who want to co-sleep.  We know the vast majority of families end up sharing sleep with their babies in the first three months of life, and even more so after that, and we also know that the people who do this unintentionally often do it in dangerous situations because they think they’re actually avoiding co-sleeping.  Falling asleep on nursing chairs, on sofas or lounges, whatever you want to call them, recliners, all to avoid bringing a baby to the bed.  And health professionals know this.  They know and accept that this is the reality that’s going on and yet they are bound by policies and codes of conduct that tell them that they cannot share information with families about how to minimise the risk in their setting.  But the more and more people speaking up, the more likely the message is to filter through.

Back to the wrap up, and the next thing that we have noticed time and time again is that having a support network can make all the difference to how families experience this time.  And I know that’s not something that everybody’s had, particularly during the COVID pandemic, but I guess that’s the thing when if you have had a really tough time with no support network try to take a little bit of the pressure off your own shoulders for why you found it so hard.  You were never meant to do this alone.  And if in the future there is any, any possibility to activate a more solid support crew for you, you deserve that because it can be an incredibly long and difficult road to navigate your early babyhood and toddlerhood and raising children in general in an isolated way, and we could hear that from our guests.  We heard examples of people who’d been very isolated and we heard from people who’d been very well-supported, and there is a vast difference in the way that they were telling their stories.  We’re social creatures.  We’re interconnected in every way.  We are meant to be well-supported at such a crucial time in our lives.

I think that comes back to the next point, and that was we heard again, because a lot of our guests have actually got older children, and that was around connected bedtimes and how as our children get older and they need less physical nurturing throughout the night a connected bedtime is still really important for many of our little humans, especially after a busy day where we’ve often been separated from each other it’s a really beautiful opportunity – not that it feels beautiful every night, I know that from my own house – but it’s a really beautiful opportunity just to take some time, just for you and your little ones in the quiet of the night to reconnect and help them find sleep.  And I know that’s easier said than done.  I didn’t have a pretty bedtime last night with my people.  I was not in the mood.  I had so much going on; my brain was racing.  I did not want to lay in the dark.  I get it.  But do you know what I actually needed? I needed some time out, some quiet.  I needed to lay down with my kids because I had been go-go-go-go-go all day.  My brain was racing all day.  I fobbed them off way too many times yesterday afternoon because I had way too many things going on in my head that wouldn’t let me concentrate on them.  And so when I caught myself in my frustration and took my deep breath in I sunk down into that bed, breathed in my little 3-year-old, had another little, quick chat with my guy who’s very excitedly planning a birthday party of his that’s coming up, and heard once again from my older guy that he’d had a really crappy day at school and he hoped that today would be better, and they found sleep, and I had silence and stillness and cuddles to calm my busy brain down, and that connected bedtime was as much for me as it was for them, and I think sometimes that’s something we forget about.  As much as we might be meeting their needs for connection, we’re also meeting our own.  So I think that’s something that I’ve definitely taken from Season 2, being able to listen to our beautiful guests and their experiences of it as well.

And the last thing I wanted to bring up was that from what we could hear, from every single person the period of matrescence or patrescence in the family was a pivotal life experience.  And there was growing pains and uncertainty and confusion and grief, and it was all part of the process.  And it’s the process of becoming the person you are after you’ve had your baby.  And you do feel lost some of that time.  Most of us do.  Most of us at some point will be like, who am I?  Or just miss our old life, or miss our old way of being with our partner.  It is a monumental shift in life, and it is one that gets far too little respect in society, and the whole notion of bouncing back is just plain harmful.  There’s no bouncing back and there’s no going back, because we’re moving forward.  And it’s going to strip us bare in many ways and rebuild us and give us opportunities to grow.  Just like in adolescence we tend to flourish more when we’re well-supported, when we’re well seen, well heard, respected, trusted.  And so that’s my hope for more people going through their matrescence and patrescence in the future, that you have all of those crucial elements to help you make it out the other side of this massive change in your life feeling even more full and whole than you ever did before, because it’s a beautiful shift once you get through the ugly, hard parts that can really, really, really strip you bare at the beginning. 

So they’re the main eight themes that I picked out from Season 2.  I’d really love if anyone who’s been listening along would like to share with me some of the things that you’ve taken away from the show, and I would also love to hear if it’s had any impact on the way that you’ve done things, particular pivotal episodes that really shook things up for you or maybe just connected with your heart or your mind or your experience in a way that really mattered to you.  And in the meantime I’ll be getting stuck into recording Season 3.  I’m hoping, I’ve got a really big, long list of people that I’m trying to get on the show for the next season, and hopefully I can pull some of them off.  I will say I have like, like an absolute dream list of people, but some people are very hard to contact unless you’ve got an in so I will be needing all of your fingers crossed that I can get some of the, because I’d dearly love to be able to hear their stories.  If you’ve got some people that you’d like to hear, or particular themes that you’d like to hear more about, or particular questions that you’d rather that I was including in episodes, please also do give us that feedback because we are learning as we go along and we really want to make this a worthwhile resource… resource for families.  That’s the whole aim.  So thank you so much for your time, your listening, your reading, your support, your reviews.  It’s hugely appreciated.  And we’re also always keen for monetary support, because as much as we provide all of our resources, including our free peer support group, for free, that’s free of charge from the consumer end.  It’s not free of charge from the back end.  So it costs us about $1,000 a season to produce this podcast, so $1,000 might not sound that much in the grand scheme of budgets, but in a small charity’s budget it’s actually a decent chunk.  So anyone who is wanting to support us that way, we would hugely appreciate it, and Acast that hosts the podcast also just has a supporter function where you can just make a one-off donation to say thank you.  And I don’t like talking about money, but money is a thing and… and we do find it really tough to access the funding we need to keep bringing services to you.  So if you’re finding value in this resource and you have some funds available, we’d hugely appreciate your support.  And I’ll leave you be with that, and I’ll be back bringing you Season 3 after Elise, my beautiful volunteer producer, and I take a much needed break for a little while.  So thank you Elise.  Thank you to everybody who’s listened along and joined us for this fun.



I really hope you enjoyed the podcast today the information we discussed was just that information only it is not specific advice if you take any action following something you've heard from our show today it is important to make sure you get professional advice about your unique situation before you proceed whether that advice is legal, financial, accounting, medical or any other advice. Please reach out to me if you do have any questions or if there's a topic you'd really like us to be covering and if you know somebody who'd really benefit from listening to our podcast please be sure to pass our name along also check out our free peer support group the beyond sleep training project and our wonderful website If you'd like even more from the show you can join us as a patron on Patreon and you can find a link for that in our show notes if listening is not really your jam we also make sure we put full episode transcripts on our little sparklers website for you to also enjoy and fully captioned YouTube videos as well on our Little Sparklers channel so thanks again for listening today we really enjoy bringing this podcast to you.


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