I grew up in Sydney, Australia in a small street with only ten houses. All the families were friends and we all looked after each other. Growing up with that many kids around felt like having a big extended family. All the kids used to joke that we couldn’t get away with anything because we had ten mothers looking after us all.
I had always wanted to travel. My parents always talked to me about their year long journey around Europe on a motorbike and from a very young age I knew that I wanted to live in Europe.
After working in nursing in Australia, I left when I was 21 and moved to London. I found a job working as a nanny for a family with three small kids under 5. I spent the weekends travelling around Europe with friends. I met my Spanish husband in London and decided to come and visit Barcelona to see him again. That was ten years ago and I never left.
We got married and had our daughter in 2014 and my new life started. My daughter was always a very active baby and never really learned how to sleep. When she was around eight weeks we went to a family wedding and she spent the whole day awake. Everybody kept telling me she would fall asleep when she was tired but I could see she was extremely tired but didn’t know how to fall asleep. That night was awful as she screamed for five hours straight before she finally collapsed from exhaustion.
As the months continued and her lack of sleep started to become a bigger issue we tried to do everything in our power to get her to sleep. My husband and I would take turns bouncing on a yoga ball with her in our arms. I remember counting as I bounced and reaching the thousands before she would fall asleep. I knew something was fundamentally wrong and that babies needed a lot more sleep than she was getting.
I reached breaking point when she was six months old. I couldn´t continue on so little sleep, I was losing my mind, so I contacted a sleep consultant who helped us get back on track and turn our lives around. In just a few days my daughter went from sleeping almost nothing at all to 12 hours every night and having regular naps throughout the day. It was like a miracle. I could finally relax and start to enjoy being a mum. With the level of anxiety you feel being a new mum plus not sleeping, things get really strained.
Soon after, some of my friends started asking me for advice to help them get their own children to sleep better. I was really passionate about it and knew then that I wanted to learn more so I could help other people who were in the same situation that I had been.
I trained to become a Sleep Consultant in the USA. In Sydney and London I had been working with small children and already knew about the effects of sleep deprivation on the whole family. Sleep is fundamental to all human beings and to be a good mum you need to have a lot of sleep.
Since setting up my business in Barcelona I have been helping families create healthy sleeping habits. Understanding the needs of babies and knowing how to identify sleep problems and how to avoid them has enabled me to guide any type of family through this process and support them along the way.
I know what it feels like as I have been there, and being able to empathise with the families helps them to feel more comfortable and trust what we are doing. At the end of the day, everyone needs to sleep. Sleep is a fundamental human need but especially important to a child’s development and growth. Children who get enough sleep are more likely to function better and are less prone to behavioural problems and moodiness. That is why it is important for parents to start early and help their children develop good sleep habits.
More information about Amelia Hunter and Baby Sleep Solutions are available at www.ameliahunter.com