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What is Batelle Sleep School?

Batelle is a modern solution to an age-old problem: children’s sleep. Think of it as sleep training, but also so much more. 

Who is Batelle?

In simplest terms, Batelle Sleep School is a sleep training program that is based on principles of early childhood development and behavioral change. We are a remote sleep school (headquartered in New York) with a global team of 35+ sleep experts, doulas, lactation specialists, and early childhood development specialists. Yet, in a lot of ways, these descriptions are oversimplified – which is perhaps why “Sleep School” has stuck…

The value our families realize through our program far exceeds just better sleep. Further, what we offer in support and teaching is far more than just ‘sleep training’.

Our goal as a company has always been to solve one of the highest pain points of new parents (middle-of-the-night wake-ups, exhausting bedtime routines, and various other sleep issues), but in a way that made both parent and child better off beyond their improved sleep habits.

When looking at the overall well-being of the family unit, this required us to not only focus on the success rate of our sleep solution in the short term – but to also always ask and answer the more fundamental question: “why is my child not sleeping well in the first place?”. By approaching the problem in this way, you solve the root issue – meaning that it is solved for both the short and long term. 

The more we dug into the problem, the clearer it became that solving sleep issues was intertwined with some of the most impactful and important aspects of parenting; how you communicate and connect with your child. We have built the methodology and process around the principles of engagement, responsiveness, and communication. The skills learned around how to communicate with your child can be applied far beyond what happens at night (for example, you can apply the same learnings for tantrums, potty training, and other parenting questions).

Sleep Training Fundamentals – The Batelle Basics

Sleep has biological, psychological, and behavioral components. Specific biological needs change with age (eg, naps, optimal hours of night sleep, the likelihood of a sleep regression, etc). Then there is also a psychological need for safety. Caregivers are what a child associates with the pinnacle of safety, which is why a lot of children will kick and scream when their parent tries to leave the room or will wake up consistently to check if their caregiver is still nearby; they are trying to ensure that they remain safe by keeping their caregiver closeby. The good news is that feeling safe beyond the comfort of a parent’s arms, is something that can be taught and learned – and is core to our Sleep School Program.

To address the root of why a child is not sleeping, you need to make sure they are getting their basic sleep needs met, ensure you are creating a sleep space that feels safe, and then make sure their sleep associations are not causing disruptions. Put simply:

  1. Biological needs: Make sure your child is on the right sleep schedule. (1)
  2. Psychological needs: Ensure that they feel safe and responded to, by providing predictable and reassuring responses. For example, the bedtime routine should be a time of connection that prepares your little one for the nighttime separation from you. Engaging during this time can help meet their need to feel close to you (2).
  3. Sleep associations: Make sure that you create healthy sleep habits by removing disruptive sleep associations (eg. feeding to sleep) and layering on new associations that will improve your child’s sleep in the long term (3). 

The Batelle Program: Data-Backed and Measurable

Our promise to families is simple: teach your child to go to bed in 5 minutes and sleep through the night with a money-back guarantee on success. We chose this because it’s clear so that we could actually measure and measure the efficacy of what was working and what wasn’t. What we see is that when parents come to us, they have often been previously let down by a sleep consultant or program. One of their biggest concerns coming in is ensuring that we won’t give up on them (followed by the fact that we are not cry-it-out). Having measurable goals, coupled with a commitment to support a family, is our way of making a commitment to seeing this through the long term.

The other thing that having measurable goals does, is it provides a feedback loop for learning and improving both the personalized content and the methodology. The data on pediatric sleep was almost non-existent when Batelle was established. The largest pediatric sleep training studies were done on just a few hundred participants and they relied on surveys that were sent out sometimes years after the sleep training happened. We have spent years building up data, have helped thousands of families through this problem, and have seen practically every possible permutation and variation of the issue. We’ve been able to observe, day-by-day, hour-by-hour as they progress towards their goals. This means we have a deep understanding of what works and what doesn’t, and are always improving our knowledge of what works, what doesn’t, and why.

The Batelle Sleep School Process

Think of the process as having 5 steps. Every child has a different plan, which adapts over time as we learn more about how a child is responding. 

Step 1: Get a personalized plan built on our diagnosis. This plan is based on your child’s age, sleep issues, any medical considerations, and temperament. It is further tailored to your goals and lifestyle to fit your family on a day-to-day basis

Step 2: Get unlimited daytime coaching & feedback. You will work through your plan with our experts supporting step-by-step. Adaptions are made as you go through, as we learn what is working best for you and your child.

Step 3: Real-time coaching for bedtimes & wake-ups. You have access to in-the-moment coaching so that you never have a question unanswered. This also helps us adapt your plan live as we learn more about how your child responds. 

Step 4: Get proactive guidance going forwards and once you have reached your initial goals. We know that things change. But, your child’s great sleep doesn’t have to. We’ll help navigate developmental leaps & regressions, moving house, sickness, starting daycare – you name it. 

Step 5: Get subsequent assessments & coaching as needed. If you fall off course, we’ll get you back on track. Think of this as sleep insurance for the next 5 years. We have you covered

What to Expect

It’s difficult to predict  what a family’s program will look like, as every family comes to us at a different starting point, with different sleep histories and different problems. Some families struggle more than others. Some families need more in-the-moment coaching.  However, what we do know is that this  can be one of the most rewarding and life-changing experiences for parents. Below are some of our latest snippets from our feedback forms from familes who were asked “describe Batelle in own words”: 

  • Batelle is a wonderful team that goes through this journey with you. They help you by giving you the tools and resources needed to transition your baby to sleep on their own and feel safe”
  • Batelle helps you understand your child and how they relate to sleep. You learn techniques and methods that you initially use just for sleep, but can implement throughout every aspect of parenting. Batelle taught me to pause and listen to my child, to provide reassurance when needed, to set boundaries, and to hold space for my little one when he’s feeling big feelings”.
  • It’s not just sleep training, it’s building confidence in your child to sleep on their own and feel comfortable in their own space without our (parent’s) intervention. It’s a sleep confidence course”.

However, much like anything worthwhile, it is not easy. It requires a level of engagement, responsiveness, and patience that other programs don’t. Unlike with a Cry-It-Out or Ferber approach, you cannot just close the door and walk away. You cannot go to another room to wait until your child calms down. We ask you to be present, engaged, and supportive – especially during tough times. This requires you to put in the work to understand how to respond to your child in a way that reassures them but also creates new healthy sleep associations and behaviors. And lastly, it requires you to be patient both with yourself and your child, as you both learn new ways of communicating with each other and interacting with each other around sleep. If you want to learn more about whether you think we’re a fit, you can read our blog “5 Things You Should Know When Deciding If Batelle Is For You”.

This is not an easy process, but if step up to the challenge, and treat this as a learning opportunity, you will come out not only with a sleeping child but so much more.

This article was written by Batelle – a team of sleep experts, lactation consultants, therapists, doulas, and early education specialists.

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