- Sleep School Founder + CEO
- Certified Sleep Consultant
- Mum to William, Rafferty, Atticus & Bowie.
As a mum of four, Marissa knows what a rollercoaster ride parenthood can be—even before your baby is born. Her second-born, Raff, was born at just 32 weeks with chronic lung disease. He was transferred to the NICU to help him breathe and Marissa counted down the weeks until she could bring Raff home, expressing milk day and night, and sitting by his side for up to 10 hours at a time. After seven weeks, she was finally able to take her baby home. It was a life-changing experience that built strength and resilience ingrained in her.
Her third baby, Atticus, put that theory to the test. Unlike her first two children, Atticus struggled to sleep for more than two hours at a time. Each night, he woke routinely at 3am and Marissa would try to nurse him back to sleep for hours on end. At 8.30am, exhausted and barely able to function, she’d scoop up her eldest boy for school drop-off.
Sleep deprived and worried about Atticus dropping weight, she began to wonder if something was seriously wrong with him. And who to turn to first? When she consulted a senior paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital, he turned to her and explained ‘Your son is very tired, he needs to sleep’. It was obvious and yet complex. How do you really help a baby sleep?
What followed was a game-changer for Marissa and Atticus. The paediatrician sent them to an early parenting centre within a hospital where Marissa learnt sleep and settling skills. Just days later, Marissa felt like she had a new baby. It wasn’t a total fix, but it was a beginning. And she had her confidence back and felt a new sense of empowerment as a parent.
If it was a game-changer for her, Marissa was sure it would be a game-changer for other parents too. Yet, she also knew that not all parents could access the same care she had received. The cost of her care was covered by private health cover. Families without private health insurance could face costs over $10,000. And a week-long stay for one parent and baby in a hospital often wasn’t possible for families with other children at home.
It was this friction between the needs of sleep-deprived parents and the lack of truly accessible help that planted the seed for Baby Sleep School. What if, Marissa wondered, you could offer modern parents affordable and readily available sleep training from the comfort of their own home? She trained as a sleep consultant and, soon after, launched Baby Sleep School, an easy-to-access digital educational platform and support network that offers not only baby sleep training but also the tools, the community and the confidence to support parents.
Since its launch, Baby Sleep School has helped thousands of families regain their parenting confidence with easy-to-understand digital sleep guides. And Marissa is constantly developing new ways to offer families support. Today, parents can access tools and resources via an app, online guides, 24/7 access to sleep consultants and specialised sleep products. Marissa believes it’s the kind of help every family, no matter their resources or setup, deserves.
SUPPORT AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
Every baby is unique, but one thing is universal: the right support is invaluable. It’s also harder to come by now thanks to the pandemic. So, in 2021 Marissa created a way to give parents easier access to baby sleep training and support with the Sleepy app. Parents can subscribe for 24/7 access to consultants and access to the community forum. 3am, or 3pm, Sleepy app is always there.
The Sleepy app is the latest offering from Baby Sleep School but by no means the last. Marissa’s on a quest to normalise baby sleep struggles for parents, and empower them with new digital tools, resources, and a supportive community. Behind the scenes, she’s also hell-bent on supporting mums with a workplace that’s flexible and family-friendly. Baby Sleep School: brought to you by mums, for mums.