Tweddle in the news

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Sleep hospital helping parents tackle restless nights

Herald Sun journalist Susie O’Brien has spoken with Director of Clinical Services and Nursing Ms Kirsty Evans and with a Tweddle mum about the importance of early intervention parenting support when it comes to sleep, mental health, secure attachment and brain development.

Getting sleep at night is hard for any new parent, but Tweddle is proving to be enough to restore calm and happiness to new families.

Just a few nights in a baby sleep hospital can be enough to restore calm and happiness to new families.

Data from Victoria’s oldest residential sleep facility, Tweddle, shows families often get help for a range of other problems when they go to sleep school.

Experts in residential care can assist with other issues such as anxiety, routines, mental health and parenting skills. More than 4000 families access residential, day-stay and other programs each year.

The public hospital has seen a recent spike in intake numbers as parents battle the effects of isolation, separation and stress.

Director of clinical services and nursing Kirsty Evans said there had been a dramatic increase in the number of referrals for families with ­babies under six months who were experiencing complex issues, many with babies from eight weeks of age.

Caroline with her 11 month old daughter, Xanthe Picture: Jay Town – Herald Sun

From March to August this year, the service triaged nearly 800 parents of babies and toddlers, with 85 per cent disclosing feelings of depression ranging from mild to ­severe.

Although many families come to Tweddle for help with sleep, 74 per cent in 2018-19 revealed mental health issues on their intake admission forms and 86 per cent had more than four risk factors.

One happy Tweddle mum is Caroline, from Airport West, who said she was anxious, stressed and “doing everything wrong” when she sought help for sleep issues for her daughter Xanthe.

“A few of the skills that I learned were related to sleep, but I also learned about reading Xanthe’s cues, and being able to adapt to her changing needs,” she said.

“Most importantly, I’ve gained confidence in myself as a parent, which has helped me be more patient and responsive to Xanthe’s needs on the tricky days, and not be so hard on myself either.”

Ms Evans said the pandemic had left many parents of babies “feeling isolated”.

“The typical ­new-parent rituals, like parent groups, coffee debriefing sessions, empathising friends and visits from relatives bearing casseroles, have gone by the wayside,” she said.

Ms Evans said babies needed their parents to be mentally well.

“It is especially vital for building the foundations of secure attachment, infant mental health and brain development,” she said.

You can read Susie O’Brien’s article here.


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