A Complete List of Sleep Schools in Australia
Sleep schools have been relatively common in Australia for quite some time. They are an oft recommended option for parents struggling with babies and toddlers who won’t settle and have little in the way of sleep routines. This pattern of sleeplessness can be detrimental for parents, and although sleep schools target babies and toddlers, the entire family can benefit.
Despite being far from unheard of in Australia, there remains a distinct lack of cohesive information about Australian sleep schools. A quick search will show a number of ‘native experience’ articles about mums and dads who’ve tried sleep school and either succeeded or failed. But there aren’t really any guides for parents to educate them on what a sleep school does, who it might work for, and where they are located.
Well, there is now!
What Is A Sleep School?
Essentially, a sleep school is a kind of clinic where parents can come to get assistance in training their babies to sleep through the night. By the time a baby is about three months old, they should be starting to sleep through the night, but for some babies this process is far from instinctual. For new parents, the idea of their baby sleeping from 7pm – 7am is entirely foreign, and their own sleep deprivation can have a marked effect on the well-being of them and their child.
Sleep schools tend to run a number of different programs for parents to attend, and in some cases siblings and partners are welcomed. Usually, the programs are in the form of 5-night or 7-night stays, but intensive two day visits are sometimes offered. The schools are often headed up by a sleep specialist, and when parents arrive they are assigned a specially trained nurse who will guide them through the process of training their baby to sleep.
The idea behind sleep schools is that the habit of sleeping must be learned. It begins with babies learning to self-sooth, which will allow them to wake between sleep cycles and fall asleep without disturbing their sleeping parents.
Who Can Attend A Sleep School?
There are now a range of sleep schools in Australia that provide baby sleep training services. Each of these schools have their own regulations about what age they’ll accept babies, and you’ll need to check the specifics with the school of your choice. Some schools will take babies from the three-month point, or even a little before, while others do not allow babies until they are already six months old.
What Are The Costs Involved?
Again, this depends on the sleep school, and on your own health insurance. Some of the sleep schools are available through private health insurance with minimal excess, while others may not be covered. Talk to both the school and your insurer, before deciding on the best option.
Where Are The Sleep Schools?
New South Wales Sleep Schools
The Karitane group have been working with parents, children and families since 1923. They provide education and support to parents and children from birth to 5 years old. The services include helping parent around sleep and settling, establishing routines, feeding and nutrition. They run both residential, day, and outreach sleep school programs, and are located in New South Wales. In 2018, Karitane launched 3 new services such as Virtual Home Visiting and two parenting centres at Oran Park and Carramar.
Australia’s largest child and family health organisation Tresillian which started in 1918 and is probably one of the more well-known names when it comes to sleep school. Based in NSW, Tresillian runs sleep schools and provides a number of care services for parents with children of all ages such as Day Stay, Residential Stay, Parenting Programs, Home Visiting and etc.
This private, at-home specialist based out of Sydney is a baby sleep guru and baby whisperer. Karen, the head of Nurture Parenting, is a nurse and midwife with a background in psychology and baby and toddler behaviour and is available for home consultations and overnight stays.
Nurture Parenting has three sleep programs such as Nurture Sleep, Baby Sleep Help, and Toddler Sleep & Behaviour Sleep. The Nurture Sleep Program is a course with 7 easy lessons across 3 age groups. Baby Sleep Help and Toddler Sleep consist of overnight stays and consultation service to help parents and babies get proper sleep.
Bubba Bedtime is headed by Aprilla, a certified Baby and Infant sleep consultant who has worked with families in Australia and on the international setting. Aprilla at Bubba Bedtime creates sleep solutions for babies from birth to 4 years old. They offer in-home consultations, overnight consultations and phone/email consultations.
Night Nannies is a National Nanny Agency in Australia and offer services from babysitting and sleep guidance packages for children from birth to school age. It was started by Annemarie who has over 18 years of experience in behavioural and sleep strategies in children.
Queensland Sleep Schools
The Ellen Barron Family Centre, located in QLD but servicing families in a catchment area that covers parts of the NT and NSW, specialise in building practice parent skills. They offer sleep school as well, and are referral based.
Baby Sleep Co. is a private company in Brisbane that offers consultation services in home, phone or fly-in from newborn to 4 years old. Just like Tresillian, Baby Sleep Co. is already known in their consultation services and was accredited by the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants and Association of Sleep Consultants.
Formerly known as Brisbane Nurture Center, Brisbane Early Parenting Centre is located at the North West Private Unit Hospital and the first mother baby unit in a private hospital in Queensland. This centre offers support services to mothers who are new or is experiencing troubles when taking care of a baby or a toddler.
Queensland sleep is an accredited service who caters both adults and children with sleep disorders. It was formed in 1995 by five Brisbane doctors and two doctors in Townsville and has then provided both hospital and home-based diagnostic sleep study service.
Victorian Sleep Schools
The Early Parenting Center is formerly known as Mother Baby unit at the Masada Private Hospital. It was changed in recognition of the diversity of families in the community.
Located in East St Kilda, Melbourne, the hospital provides a residential unit for parents to overcome the physical, emotional and social challenges a new baby can bring.
The Queen Elizabeth Early Parenting Services in Victoria offers a number of programs to families with children up for four years old. This isn’t just to do with sleeping, but they do offer help in a sleep school capacity, with both residential and outreach options.
Formerly known as Mitcham Mother Baby Unit and located in Victoria, this centre has helped parents with difficult babies since it opened in 1994. The centre helps with a range of issues, including sleep-related, for babies up to 12 months old. Just like Masada Private Hospital, the name was changed to cater to the diversity of families in the community.
The Sleep Clinic is located at the Community Child Health Center in Royal Children’s Hospital. The Clinic offers services to children who have sleeping problems from 0-18 years of age.
Tweddle Hospital and Early Parenting Centre offer services and programs for babies, toddlers and families to promote infant-parent relationship. Their residential program is for vulnerable families struggling with parenting challenges.
Safe Sleep Space is founded in 2008 and provides phone consultancy services in sleep and settling toddlers. Their consultation has three packages such as the Nurture Call which is suitable from 0-10 Week old, Sleep and Settling Call is for 10 week to 3 yrs old, and Sleep and Settling 3x Call Package which triples the time allotted for Sleep and Settling Call.