Aussie-First Virtual Baby Sleep Training Program Could Be Sweet Dreams For Parents
It's enough to break even the most hardened parents.
Crying. Every few hours. In the middle of the night. The lack of sleep for both parents -- and the child -- can be detrimental.
For some, no matter what they do, they just can't get their child to sleep.
"It was becoming physically exhausting, mentally, emotionally," said Senzen Comert, a first-time mum from Western Sydney.
Her five-month-old baby boy, Abdullah, wasn't sleeping.
She went to parenting group Karitane, for help. It runs five-day live-in residential courses, where nurses teach parents how to put their little one to sleep.
The problem, is the wait is up to 20 weeks, and 20 weeks of nighttime screaming is almost unbearable.
But Senzen was lucky. She was one of the first to use a virtual home visit.
She only had to wait eight days.
Using a video link, nurses can talk the parents through their issues, give them tips and tricks, and take a look around their nursery.
The free service is the first of its kind in Australia.
It's primarily aimed at those who live in rural or remote areas, or for those who simply can't make it to the residential facility.
"To be able to provide a service that reaches right into parents homes, you're creating an access point, you're reducing upheaval of travel and time," said Karitane CEO, Grainne O'Loughlin.
According to Karitane, eight in ten mothers with children under five want help -- but only three of them ask for it.
"To say that you're struggling and you need help is a big step, and I suppose what we find is, the virtual home visit is a bit of a soft entry," Grainne said.
It's currently only in New South Wales, but Karitane wants to roll it out across the country.
"We all know there's no manual when you become a parent," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.
"That's why getting advice from the experts is really a practical thing to do - and I'm delighted that going digital can sometimes mean a parent gets help in days rather than waiting weeks or months to get support in person."
The virtual home visit has been a lifesaver for Senzen.
"As a parent, you feel a bit nervous to try something new, especially when he's crying," she said.
"[The Karitane nurse] gave us some strategies of patting him, patting the mattress, rocking the cot a little bit."
"It was very helpful, I would go back and do it again."
It may just give parents the sweet dreams they're so desperately chasing.