A helping hand: our 'baby whisperer' experience

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 Photo: Getty Images

I should imagine that if I had opened the door that day to anyone other than this woman, I would have been embarrassed at the way I looked.

My hair was unwashed and hung in thick limp strands around my face, my eyes were boasting bags big enough to make Louis Vuitton jealous, and my t-shirt was embellished with remnants of baby vomit, leaked milk and last night's dinner.

But as I opened the door, my feelings were about as far removed from embarrassment as you could get. In fact, it would be fair to say that I felt nothing but pure hope and excitement as I opened that door, and for the first time in four months, I saw light at the end of the tunnel. 

Here, on the threshold of my doorstep, stood the answer to all my prayers.  Here stood an angel (known more commonly as a 'Baby Whisperer'), who was going to enter my home, scatter her magic dust, flap her wings a little and, most importantly, MAKE MY BABY SLEEP … or, so I wished desperately. 

It's fair to say that this angel indeed taught me a thing or two. For example, she taught me not to rush in when my son cried, but instead give him time to resettle.

She taught me to pat and 'shhhshhh' him instead of picking him up and rocking him. She taught me to remove all stimuli from his room, and instead leave little for his imagination. 

She also taught me that spending a couple of hours in her presence was the quickest way to empty my wallet of a few hundred dollars.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not belittling her ability or criticising her skills.   Nor do I begrudge paying the money at all - because, at the time, I really did genuinely need her, and she really did genuinely teach me techniques that I didn't know before. 

But in hindsight (yes, that wonderful thing), were these skills that I could have learnt on my own with perhaps a bit more time, and patience? Was my self doubt and lack of confidence purely due to my inexperience as a mum, and exacerbated by my lack of sleep, and inability to think straight? I think so.  

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When you embark on the steep learning curve that is parenthood, it's very easy to doubt yourself and your abilities. It's only human to want reassurance - especially if, like me, you have no family close by. 

More often than not you're on the right path but are just veering a little off track, and need someone to offer a guiding hand to ensure you don't stray too far.  

But I have to confess that, while it was an expensive exercise, I quite happily paid for the baby whisperer's services. After all, she didn't just offer me a guiding hand, so much as pull me out of the creek in which I was desperately floating along without the aid of a paddle or flotation device.

And, as a consequence of her visit, my son started sleeping better. 

No doubt reassured by my newfound confidence and ability to walk away when it was necessary, he started settling better, sleeping for stints longer than just the amount of time it took me to boil the kettle and pour myself a cuppa. He was happier and more settled in himself.

It was an experience that definitely helped us bond more as mother and son. All jokes aside, it was a valuable thing for me to do. 

Sure, my little man didn't become an angelic child by any stretch of the imagination, but it definitely made things seem more heavenly at the time. Our 'angel' definitely brought some peace and harmony to our home - but she never confessed to being a miracle worker, did she?