Lifford native and Goodnight Nurse Emma Pollard tells Donegal Woman how she hopes her guide, Go To Sleep You Little BLEEP!, will save the sanity of parents everywhere.
It’s no surprise that Emma Pollard’s book title is censored. Donegal Woman spoke with her over the phone this week ahead of the release, and she really doesn’t hold back with her language.
Emma Pollard is a nurse from Lifford, who is now living in Australia. She is a married mother of two, and she is the Goodnight Nurse – a baby sleep expert who provides workshops and consultations to help parents end their nightly troubles.
Emma’s book is seven years in the making. She had written six drafts before this, but had deleted each one because she hated them.
“The reason why this one is published now because it’s just me. I let the book be me – along with all the effing and blinding that comes out of my mouth,” she laughed.
“Everyone that has a child will know what I mean. If they haven’t been woken up in the middle of the early morning and gone “Oh for **** sake,” then that would be rare.
“All of the feedback that I’ve been given so far is that people love it. Everyone has a system they can relate to and it has made them feel not as isolated and not as alone as they try to get their baby to sleep.”
The first book of Go To Sleep You Little BLEEP! contains baby sleep solutions for babies from 0 to 23 months old.
The book offers practical methods to encourage babies to sleep naturally, and lessons on how baby sleep actually works. As well as advice, the book contains funny personal stories.
“There’s a story about when my daughter was just born. I was telling my husband to stop taking photos of her because she was really ugly. I thought she looked like a spud! Mark went home and loaded all the pictures up to the laptop to send to people. I remember calling my brother and asking him – “What do you think of her?”. We both agreed that we hoped she’d be better looking tomorrow. And she was!”
“I speak some honest truths, but it keeps people on their toes.”
Emma’s journey to becoming the Goodnight Nurse began when she had very serious problems with her own son, Cooper.
“He was such a horrible child to get to sleep. At the worst of it, he was about six months old and was sleeping for half an hour every hour and a half. This went on in relentless 24 hour cycles. I was nearly suicidal, he was really driving me crazy.”
At the time, Emma was working as a general nurse in at the Royal Perth Hospital before she moved to community health. She became disillusioned with the standard of advice she was instructed to give to new parents.
“I had all these parents coming to me, asking “How do I get my little one to sleep?” and we were just telling them crap. We were told to tell parents to let their babies have a little cry, but the stuff we were telling them was just rubbish.”
Emma was desperate to find a way to get Cooper to sleep soundly, so she began researching on her own.
“I came up with all these techniques, and ended up with a little bit of everything. Within three nights I had Cooper sleeping through the night, and for two-hour sleeps during the day. I thought, if I can do it for him. I’m going to do this for everybody I can.”
Looking back, Emma realised that she was also dealing with postnatal depression. “Eleven years ago, postnatal depression wasn’t known for what it is now. It’s actually a chemical imbalance, and it let it go undiagnosed and struggled through.”
“I thought – I’m going to make sure that I can get to as many people as I can, and that’s when I started the Goodnight Nurse.”
Through the Goodnight Nurse clinic, Emma shares the techniques she learned with many parents, tailoring the advice to suit each baby. She and her ‘Sleep Angels’ offer home or phone consultations, workshops and sleeping accessories.
Go To Sleep You Little BLEEP! combines all the information into practical tricks, along with Emma’s colourful language and illustrations.
One of the main areas of illustration is how not to lay out the baby’s room. Another picture series is step by step instructions on how to safely wrap your baby.
“I have a really practical way called the Swish, Swaddle and Shush. It’s easy for sleep deprived mums to remember. You can make up fancy names for this s*** but it’s all the same.”
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