About The Possums Sleep Program

On this page

What is The Possums Sleep Program?

The Possums Baby and Toddler Sleep Program helps you and your little one sleep better, by working with your child's biology, not against it. We're the original and evidence-based baby sleep revolution, shown to work in university studies. We've been transforming families' lives since 2011.

We flip a lot of the advice you receive upside down. We aim to help you trust both your baby and yourself. We aim to empower you. We aim to help you grow joy in life with your baby.

The Possums Sleep Program protects

  • Your baby or toddler's sleep patterns - without leaving your little one to cry
  • Your child's secure attachment
  • Your mental and emotional wellbeing
  • Breastfeeding, or evolutionarily-aligned bottle feeding if you aren't breastfeeding
  • Your child's sensory motor development

Here is an international news report on our gentle but effective approach. The Possums Sleep Program is the first of its kind, the paradigm shifting approach to sleep by Dr Pamela Douglas. It is an investment in your and your family's future.

Back to top

Building this program from the science

The Possums Baby and Toddler Sleep Program is the sleep domain of Neuroprotective Developmental Care (NDC) or the Possums programs, developed by Dr Pamela Douglas over the past 20 years.

Dr Pamela Douglas has worked with families as an Australian GP, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Breastfeeding Medicine Physician for over three decades. The road to the Possums programs (NDC), which were first launched by Dr Pam in 2011, began in response to parental needs shared with her in her clinical practice.

Dr Pam's response began by reviewing all the available evidence and interpreting the findings through the lenses of evolutionary biology, complexity science and holistic generalist clinical care. Next, she started to publish her uniquely interdisciplinary evidence-base in peer-reviewed systematic and metanarrative reviews in international journals. Today, the evidence-base stands at over 30 peer-reviewed research papers. You can view it organised by category here.

The Possums programs were, and are, the third step of Dr Pam's response to that parent need. They are the translations of all of this scientific evidence into holistic and clinically effective help for parents and training for health professionals. They are continuously being updated.

As it falls on the effective side of the gap between evidence and practice, The Possums Sleep Program itself continues to lead a paradigm shift in the way we think about infant sleep internationally. For example, The Possums Sleep Program pioneered concepts from:

  • Evolutionary biology
  • Infant mental health support
  • Chronobiology and circadian medicine
  • Social prescribing
  • Nature therapy
  • Environmental enrichment

before these became more mainstream in health professional practice.

The Possums Sleep Program also integrates the science-based methods of:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Compassionate Mind Training, from Compassion-focused Therapy

to optimise perinatal mental health and wellbeing.

This is what we mean when we say built from the evidence. Nowadays, every online infant sleep program claims to be "evidence-based", but you can rest assured The Possums Sleep Program is truly evidence-based, and the only program of its kind. If another program looks like it, it is because it is based off it.

Back to top

Research studies show this program works

The NDC or Possums programs themselves have also been the subject of research. Positive impacts of the programs have been demonstrated in nine university-led studies to date.

Findings of this study are consistent with access to NDC/ Possums services being efficacious for infants' crying, maternal perception of their baby's sleep problems, maternal sleep satisfaction, maternal experiential avoidance and maternal risk of postnatal depression.

Crawford et al, 2021.View the paper here

And so far, The Possums Sleep Program itself has been shown to work in four university studies.

Improvements in parents' frequent night waking and feeling stressed about their baby's sleep were the most frequently reported positive outcomes.

Ball et al, 2020.View the paper here

It is the only infant sleep program in the world with these credentials.

Because of its evidence base and published positive evaluations, The Possums Sleep Program is also the only sleep program mentioned in the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine’s Clinical Protocol #37: Physiological Infant Care - Managing Nighttime Breastfeeding in Young Infants. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine is the peak international body for breastfeeding medicine doctors. You can view the protocol here.

Back to top

Testimonials from parents

Back to top

About Dr Pamela Douglas

Dr Pamela Douglas is an Australian GP and researcher. She has developed Neuroprotective Developmental Care (NDC or the Possums programs) over the past 20 years.

Pam is also a breastfeeding medicine physician, first qualifying as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 1994. She’s an Adjunct Associate Professor with the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, and Senior Lecturer with The General Practice Clinical Unit, The University of Queensland. She is the author of the bestselling book for parents, The Discontented Little Baby Book.

Pam lives alone amidst unruly bookcases and the gumtrees which crowd in through her windows. Her pets, a hive of native bees, generally keep to themselves out on the deck. They make honey regardless of what’s happening in life. She walks by the river most days, does parkruns, continues to learn French against all odds, dances Nia and Five Rhythms, and participates in acapella workshops whenever possible. She has a big bunch of children, stepchildren, and grandchildren, of whom she is very proud.

Back to top