Waiting lists at some Melbourne sleep schools are reaching up to four months.

“Pregnant women are buying a cot, a bassinet, a car seat, a pram, a breast pump — and booking in for sleep school,” author, midwife and maternal and child health nurse Cath Curtin told The Herald Sun.

“Mothers are so fixated about the birth … and then they go home and it’s like ‘Now what do I do?’

“My concern is that we have lost touch in teaching parents how to parent. It starts in hospital, where mums only stay for four days which is not long enough to be really taught what to do,” she said.

Ms Curtin said babies commonly don’t settle because their bellies aren’t full.

“You can’t overfeed babies, because Mother Nature is too sensible,” Ms Curtin said.

“But there has to be a balance between food intake and energy expended, to help the baby sleep.”

The manager of Masada Private Hospital’s mother-baby unit, Patsy Thean, said her present waiting list was eight weeks.

Ms Thean said women try to book in before their baby is born, but she discourages it.

“Not every baby will have a problem, so you have to wait for a couple of months first,” Ms Thean said.

“It’s quite distressing if a new parent doesn’t know it’s normal for a baby to cry a total of three hours in a 24-hour time period. There are a lot of education classes out there for parents to prepare for the birth, but not much talk about what to do when the baby comes,” she said.

Did you attend sleep school?

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  • Never heard about it – but I guess these days no one wants to listen to family – mum, aunts, sisters, etc. who have gone through all this and have tips galore if you ever thought to ask them.


  • We went to sleep school when my eldest was two – we had a Newborn and couldn’t handle big brothers’ bad sleep as well. It didn’t help – they couldn’t get their heads around the fact he is deaf, and kept suggesting useless stuff like “Don’t make eye contact, just use a stern voice…”


  • We went to sleep school with my first when he was 9 months old. We had to wait 2 months to get in but it was worth it. I would never think to enrol before a bub was born as how would you know if you are going to be battling sleep issues?


  • 4 days??? Most go home in 2 days or even less than 48 hours. One Mum I know was asked if she wanted to go home the next day or stay an…..extra…..one., possibly because she was in a private hospital. Many go home 24 hours if htey go to a public hospital. Some Mums in labour are told are sent home. If the Mum starts vomitting and the Dad phones the hospital he could be told there is no beds. I know one dad who then rang the hospital and told them he was taking his wife back to the hospital and they were not leaving until after the delivery of their baby. They then physically refused to leave.


  • I would have if I had known about it and had the funds. Not from new born though but with Bub now being 12 months and still wanting to be cradled to sleep I can 100% understand their intentions


  • With my first we had to spend a night at sleep centre because he hadboriblems with sleeping and of coarse that whole night he feed and slept perfectly but the tips that they gave us have been helpful for the next three of our children so it was worth the time.


  • Yes there are lots of sleep schools around. I didn’t use one, I just chose to let my daughter decide when she was ready to sleep through


  • I have heard of these in recent years. Never had anything like this when my kids were babies tho. Don’t think I would have used them either. Not sure why parents are booking in before bubs even here, that’s beyond me. Must be the trendy in thing to do


  • A sleep school? I didn’t know it existed! Why enroll yourself there? You don’t even know if your child will have sleep problems.


  • I had never heard of sleep school before this article. I do think it would be more useful to have parenting classes so that people know what to expect and what to do when they take baby home.


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