I understand what it feels like to have sleep deprivation affect every area of your life. Struggling to be mom, wife, go to work, trying to balance it all… Without sleep!
My only goal every day was to take a shower, even if it was only two minutes while entertaining the baby through the shower door. That was the extent of caring for myself.
As soon as the baby went to sleep, I had to rush off to bed in hopes of getting a little sleep before the first of many night wakings. There was no predictability in our days or nights, and I struggled with a lack of a schedule and sleep deprivation.
The idea of nighttime and getting some sleep was oh so appealing until I remembered that there would be no sleep for me. If I fell asleep, the sound of crying would soon wake me. All night long. Every night.
I couldn’t function well during the day, it affected my ability to parent, to be a wife, to be able to do my job.
Finally after many late night searches, desperate for help, I found a sleep consultant to help. Within days, my son was sleeping through the night and taking good naps. I can say with confidence, this is one of the best parenting decisions I ever made for our family. Today, I’d like to share five reasons why.
1. Sleep Training dramatically improves your life.
If sleep is a struggle in your home, the effects are more than just feeling tired. Your work is compromised, your relationships are stressed, mom guilt is high, you fear your child isn’t growing and developing on par, your immunities are down, leaving you sick more often, you have no time or energy for self-care. And ultimately, you feel like you can’t keep your head above water. These are all things clients have said to me when they’ve hired me for support.
Some families fear the confinement that comes with having a “strict schedule,” but I assure you quite the opposite is true. There is freedom that comes with having your child on a predictable sleep schedule. You know exactly when your child will sleep, so you can actually plan your days.
Long gone are the days you have to cancel your lunch date because your baby’s nap schedule is off. No more missing that AM workout, hitting snooze too many times because you are so tired from being up all hours of the night. No more being too drained for your job, intimacy with your partner, house projects, or playdates with your kids. No more missing adult-only parties because your child threw a two-hour tantrum at bedtime, and you couldn’t leave them with a babysitter.
So, yes, your child will want to sleep at specific times because of this predictability in her sleep schedule, but this allows you to plan your life with ease. I called it structured flexibility! And guess what? Not every nap has to be at home. Once you have a great sleeper, naps can happen on the go. Children with solid sleep skills are much more resilient to occasional changes to their routines.
2. Sleep Training takes the guesswork out of sleep.
When you try something new, you are bound to have questions, and with sleep training, we had a ton of them. “What time should he go to sleep? When is he supposed to nap? How long do we let him cry? Did we comfort him too much? Did we comfort him enough? When are we supposed to feed him?” And these are just a few. And we never felt alone, left to figure it out.
This is where it’s at! The extensive and personalized support we received from our sleep consultant was nothing we could have ever gotten from a blog, a book, or a Facebook Mom’s Group. The advice was customized for our son, and tailored exactly for what we were going through.
Sleep consultants work with you through the entire process, tracking your progress, making recommendations for change, tweaking the plan if something is not working, celebrating your successes, answering ALL of your questions, being your biggest cheerleader, and holding you accountable for the changes you want to see. So, if you’re working with a good consultant, and if you’re honest with them and follow their advice, it pretty fool (and fail!) proof. Sound too good to be true? I promise, it’s not!
3. Your Sleep Consultant has first-hand experience.
Most all sleep consultants got into this line of work because they’ve been there. Most are moms that have been through the desperation of sleepless nights. They’ve researched everything that makes the promise of more sleep…Google searches, sleep books, random blogs, Facebook Mommy Groups, advice from their pediatrician, friends, moms…you name it, they’ve tried it. Anything to get their own infant, toddler, or even school-aged kiddos to sleep better. And it didn’t work. So, like me, they hired a sleep consultant, and it was so life-altering, they became one.
So, when you hop on the phone and talk to your sleep consultant about the life-changing effects of getting a full night’s sleep or are crying and upset because it’s hard and you’re not sure if you can do it, they’ll truly know exactly how you’re feeling. Empathy is a powerful tool.
4. Sleep Training doesn’t necessarily mean “Cry-it-Out”
The elephant in the room…the crying. It’s the number one question I get asked about as a sleep consultant, and rightly so; this was a huge fear and concern of mine as well when we hired our sleep consultant. Crying is often the hardest part of sleep training. As parents, we are not biologically wired to listen to our children cry and not want to stop it; it triggers us.
Most parents think that the only way to sleep train is the cry-it-out method. And yes, this is a method to sleep train, if you are comfortable with it, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not the only way to teach your child healthy sleep habits. There are more gentle methods, like the ones I use with my clients.
That being said, I’m also here to tell you, yes, your baby will probably cry during the sleep training process. If there was a way to do this tear-free, trust me, that’s what I’d be doing. The cries and protests that happen with sleep training are natural; it’s your baby’s response to the confusion and the frustration with the changes to their sleep habits; and while it cannot be prevented, the goal when working with a sleep consultant is to get through this process faster with less stress and far fewer tears.
My job as a sleep consultant is to talk you off of your ledge when your emotions get the best of you, which is easy to do in the midst of your baby’s cries. I know for me, if my sleep consultant didn’t have an open and honest discussion with me about the crying, sleep training would have been that much harder, and I’d probably have given up.
5. Sleep Training can help you become a sleep expert and, more importantly, a better parent.
As a sleep consultant, my most important job is to educate you on all things sleep, the sleep needs of your child, how to fix your child’s sleep problems, and prepare you for future sleep snags.
I quickly realized how much I didn’t know about sleep, particularly infant and child sleep, when we worked with our sleep consultant. I learned about sleep cycles, how much sleep my son needed for optimal growth and development, why he was having such a difficult time with sleep, and how to fix all the problems we were having with sleep.
The immense knowledge my sleep consultant provided was a game-changer for us as parents. Sure, we could have read a book and learned all these things. But we were so sleep-deprived, that there was no way we could stay awake long enough to read an entire book, let alone retain all of the information and follow through with sleep training solo.
Our sleep consultant coached us through becoming a competent and confident sleep teachers to our son in a matter of two weeks.
And I do the same with my clients. And not only will you know how to solve your current sleep problems, but you will be equipped with the information you need to keep your child on track long into their future because sleep needs change as children grow and develop and life happens…. developmental milestones, travel, teething, and illness are all things that can disrupt sleep. But after working with a sleep consultant, you’ll feel confident you can manage any hiccup that comes your way.
As you can see, I wholeheartedly believe that hiring a sleep consultant is 100% one of the best parenting decisions, if not THE best parenting decision we’ve made.
Lack of sleep is not only detrimental to your child, but it also wreaks havoc on the entire family physiologically, emotionally, and socially. Sleep makes for healthy, well-rested, and happy families. Sleep is not a luxury; sleep is a biological necessity, and the effects are profound.
You don’t have to do this alone. If your family has been struggling with sleep, join my Formerly Tired Moms Club to get an inside look at what Sleep Training is all about. This community is full of FREE Sleep Training opportunities, run by two seasoned professional Sleep Consultants who have been where you are, and want to help your family finally get the sleep you need.
I’ve gotten this question hundreds of times, because Sleep Training often gets a bad rap. And it’s a topic that often sparks strong opinions and emotions among parents. One common misconception about Sleep Training is that it equates to the “cry it out” method. In this blog post, I want to talk a little bit about this myth and give you a clear understanding of what Sleep Training truly involves, including a more gentle approach that can help both you and your baby through the process.
Understanding Sleep Training
Yes, it’s true that Sleep Training may involve a few tears. It’s natural for anyone, including babies, to express resistance or frustration when adjusting to new sleep habits. However, it’s crucial to understand that Sleep Training does not mean leaving your baby to cry it out without comfort and support. In fact, there are more gentle and compassionate methods that can ease your baby through the transition of learning to sleep independently while maintaining your active involvement.
A Variety of Gentle Methods
One of the advantages of working with a Sleep Sense Certified Expert is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. I have a variety of methods that can be used, depending on the specific needs of your baby and your family. We’ll work together to determine which method is the best fit for your unique circumstances. While “Cry It Out” is not a method I teach, some level of protest or crying can be expected when making changes to sleep habits, just as it happens with adults.
A Holistic Approach to Sleep Training
My approach to sleep training is holistic. It involves not only the development of independent sleep skills but also the creation of schedules, routines, ensuring proper feedings, and other important elements that set you up for success. Every aspect is tailored to your family’s needs, and I provide personalized support to help ease your baby through this transition.
The Role of Crying
The amount of crying that occurs during Sleep Training varies depending on your child’s personality, sleep debt, and level of overtiredness. It’s important to remember that crying is a symptom of fatigue, confusion, and frustration, and it may not always be preventable. However, I will guide you on how to support and reassure your baby as she learns to fall asleep independently. When done correctly, the amount of crying is typically minimal, and success can be achieved.
Short-Term Discomfort, Long-Term Benefits
The good news is that once babies learn how to fall asleep on their own, the crying gradually decreases and eventually disappears. The discomfort experienced during the transition is short-term, and the rewards for everyone in the family are substantial at the end of the journey. Quality sleep leads to happier, healthier families and well-rested babies.
All this to say… Sleep Training is not synonymous with the “cry it out” method, no matter what you might have heard. With the right approach and guidance from a professional Sleep Consultant (like me!) you can help your baby develop healthy sleep habits gently and compassionately. Want to find out more about my Sleep Training methods? Wondering how Sleep Training could help your family? Let’s chat!
Is your family struggling with sleepless nights and wondering when you’ll finally get a full night’s sleep again? If you have a baby or toddler, you’re not alone. Sleep is a common challenge that many parents face, but the good news is that consistency is often the key to success. I have helped SO many families in my time as a professional Sleep Consultant, and I can tell you that they usually have one BIG thing in common. They know what they need to do. They just have a hard time being as consistent as they need to be to see real results. So, in this blog I want to talk about why consistency is so important and provide a few tips & tricks to help you stay committed to the process so you can see real results.
The Power of Consistency
Before we dive into the tips, let’s first understand why consistency is so crucial in sleep training. Babies and toddlers thrive on routines and predictability. When they know what to expect, they feel secure and are more likely to adapt to new habits. Consistency in sleep training provides several benefits:
- Establishing Healthy Sleep Habits: Consistent routines help your child develop healthy sleep patterns, which are essential for their overall well-being and development.
- Reducing Stress: A predictable routine reduces anxiety and stress for both you and your child, making the sleep training process smoother.
- Faster Adaptation: When your child knows what to expect, they are more likely to adjust to the new sleep schedule or habits you’re introducing.
- Long-term Success: Consistency sets the foundation for your child’s future sleep habits, ensuring that they continue to sleep well as they grow.
Tips for Staying Committed to Sleep Training
- Create a Consistent Bedtime Routine: Establish a soothing bedtime routine that includes activities like bath time, a bedtime story, and a lullaby. This signals to your child that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
- Set a Regular Bedtime: Choose a consistent bedtime for your child, ideally around the same time each night. This will help regulate their internal body clock.
- Stick to a Consistent Wake-up Time: Just as with bedtime, maintain a regular wake-up time in the morning. This helps set the rhythm for the day.
- Be Patient: Consistency doesn’t mean instant results. Sleep training can take time, so be patient and don’t give up too soon.
- Communicate with Your Partner: If you’re not the sole caregiver, communicate with your partner to ensure you’re both on the same page regarding sleep training techniques and routines.
- Stay Calm and Positive: The journey of sleep training can be challenging, but maintaining a calm and positive attitude is crucial. Your child can sense your emotions, so try to remain patient and optimistic.
- Seek Support: If you’re struggling, reach out for support. Consider connecting with a sleep training expert or a support group of other parents going through the same process.
- Monitor Progress: Keep a sleep journal to track your child’s progress. This can help you identify patterns and make necessary adjustments to your approach.
Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. The key is to find a sleep training method that aligns with your child’s needs and your parenting style. Stay consistent, and over time, you’ll likely see the positive results you’ve been working so hard to achieve.
Staying consistent isn’t always easy. But studies show that having support can make consistency a lot easier! If your biggest sleep struggle is staying consistent with the things you know your family needs to be successful during Sleep Training, let’s chat! I offer a FREE Sleep Evaluation where I can provide personalized guidance and support tailored to your child’s specific sleep needs. Grab a time on my schedule HERE! With consistency and the right approach, both you and your child can enjoy peaceful nights and well-rested days. Sweet dreams!
“Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), which includes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), is the leading cause of injury death in infancy. Sleep is a big challenge for families with babies, but following safe sleep recommendations can prevent many SUID fatalities.” – American Academy of Pediatrics
Ensuring your child gets a good night’s sleep is essential for their growth and development. However, it’s equally important to prioritize their safety during sleep. Over 3,500 babies in the United States die of SIDS each year. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides valuable guidelines on creating a safe sleep environment for your child, to prevent as many infant deaths as possible and help you have peace of mind while your child sleeps.
And I want every family to have all of the tools they need to ensure their munchkins can sleep safely. That is why I’d like to touch on a few simple ways you can create a safe sleep environment at home in this blog, and help you avoid some of the most common mistakes families make when it comes to safe sleep.
Back to Sleep: The AAP strongly recommends placing your baby on their back for all sleep times – naptime and nighttime. This reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Always ensure your baby’s head and face are clear of obstructions, and they’re positioned on a firm sleep surface.
Crib Safety: Use a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and fitted sheet. Avoid bumper pads, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, or any other loose objects or materials inside the crib.
Avoid Bed Sharing: The AAP advises against bed sharing, and encourages everyone in your family to have their own sleeping space. It is recommended that infants sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parents’ bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for at least the first 6 months of their life.
Temperature: Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, usually between 68-72°F (20-22°C), and dress your baby in lightweight, breathable layers.
Tummy Time: While awake and under supervision, give your baby plenty of “tummy time” to strengthen their neck and upper body muscles. This helps prevent flat head syndrome.
Use a Firm Sleep Surface for Naps: During daytime naps, always place your baby on a firm and flat surface, such as a crib or bassinet, to sleep.
Avoid Overheating: Overheating is a risk factor for SIDS. Ensure your baby is dressed appropriately for the room temperature and avoid using too many layers or heavy blankets.
Breastfeed: If you are able to breastfeed, do so. Studies have shown that infants who are breastfed have a reduced risk of SIDS
Creating a safe sleep environment and taking other safety precautions for your child is essential for their well-being. These are just some of the guidelines provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and you can read more on their website. Following safe sleep recommendations can significantly reduce the risk of SIDS and ensure your child enjoys a comfortable and secure sleep. With the right precautions and care, you can provide your little one with a safe and restful sleep environment that supports their healthy development.
Not sure if your child’s sleep environment is safe sleep approved? Wondering if your child’s room or crib could be the reason they aren’t sleeping well? I can help assess your space and make recommendations to help you create a safe, comfortable sleep environment that helps your munchkin get the restful, restorative sleep they need each night. Book a free Sleep Evaluation to get started!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t just walk straight into my bedroom at night and get in bed without any preparation. I talk a lot about the importance of a good bedtime routine to help you and your little ones get ready for bed. Bedtime routines can help set the stage for sleep, but there is one important thing your family should be doing before your bedtime routine even begins…winding down.
Our bodies need cues to ease transitions, especially when it comes to sleep. By helping your family transition from the hustle and bustle of the day to a calm and relaxed state, you can ensure bedtime goes smoothly and everyone gets the rest they need. In this blog, we’ll delve deeper into the significance of winding down and explore a few easy steps to help you make winding down a part of your bedtime routine.
Why Winding Down Matters
Winding down isn’t just a luxury; it’s a crucial element in fostering a smoother bedtime routine, especially for our little ones. One of the primary benefits is stress reduction. Children, much like adults, experience the pressures of the day—be it school, extracurricular activities, or social interactions. Engaging in calming activities before bedtime helps alleviate this stress, creating a peaceful mental space for them to embrace sleep.
Moreover, winding down promotes the development of healthy sleep patterns. Consistency is key in establishing routines, and a consistent winding down routine signals to a child’s body that it’s time to prepare for sleep. This predictability can significantly reduce bedtime resistance and create a sense of security and comfort.
Beyond the immediate bedtime challenges, there are long-term benefits. Children who regularly engage in winding down activities are more likely to develop strong sleep hygiene, which contributes to overall well-being. Adequate, quality sleep is linked to improved cognitive function, emotional regulation, and physical health in children. Therefore, by incorporating winding down into your bedtime routine, you’re not just making bedtime easier tonight; you’re investing in your child’s long-term health and happiness.
How to Start Winding Down
Dim the Lights: Begin by dimming the lights in your home at least an hour before bedtime. This signals to your body that it’s time to produce melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
Transition to Calmer Activities: Encourage your family to switch to quieter, more relaxing activities as bedtime approaches. This could include reading books, drawing, or doing puzzles together. Avoid high-energy games or activities that stimulate the mind and body.
Limit Screen Time: The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with melatonin production and make it harder to fall asleep. Set a screen curfew an hour before bedtime for both kids and adults.
Create a Bedtime Routine: If you haven’t already, establish a predictable sequence of activities leading up to bedtime to take care of the practical elements of hygiene and set the stage for a good night’s sleep. This might include brushing teeth, taking a warm bath, and reading a bedtime story. Consistency is key to reinforcing the winding down process.
Mindful Breathing: Practice deep, calming breaths with your children. This can help them relax and unwind. You can even turn it into a game by having them imagine blowing up a balloon with their breath and then slowly letting the air out.
Prepare the Sleep Environment: Ensure your child’s bedroom is conducive to sleep. A comfortable mattress, cozy bedding, and a cool, dark room can make a big difference.
Limit Sugar: Avoid giving children sugary snacks and drinks close to bedtime, as these can disrupt sleep.
Set a Bedtime: Stick to a consistent bedtime (and wind down time) for both children and adults, even on weekends. This helps regulate the body’s internal clock.
Be a Role Model: Children often mimic their parents’ behavior, so be sure to wind down with them. Read a book or practice deep breathing together to demonstrate the importance of relaxation.
Winding down before bedtime is an essential part of creating a peaceful and consistent sleep routine for your family. By dimming lights, transitioning to calmer activities, limiting screen time, and following the other tips I mentioned, you can help your munchkins relax and prepare for a restful night’s sleep. Remember, the key is consistency, patience, and leading by example. Pretty soon, your whole family will love winding down together before bedtime.
Having trouble winding down? Is bedtime a disaster that winding down just won’t fix? You don’t have to go it alone. Schedule a free Sleep Evaluation to learn how I work with families like yours to get to the bottom of your sleep struggles and help you finally reclaim your sleep!
Being a mom is incredibly rewarding. It’s a beautiful thing to see your little ones grow. However, motherhood is also a journey that can be incredibly demanding, physically and emotionally, especially if you aren’t getting enough sleep at night. If you can’t remember the last time you got more than a few hours of sleep, because you’re constantly waking up in the middle of the night to feed or soothe a restless baby, I’m sure you’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Sleep is incredibly important, and when we’re not sleeping, we’re not at our best. This is why solving your sleep struggles and finally reclaiming your sleep is absolutely a form of self-care.
What is Sleep Training?
Sleep training is a structured approach to help babies develop healthy sleep habits. It involves teaching your baby to self-soothe and sleep through the night, allowing both you and your baby to enjoy better, more consistent sleep. While it may sound daunting at first, sleep training is not about letting your baby cry endlessly. I use gentle methods that parents are comfortable with and provide support along the way.
Now that you know a little bit more about my approach to sleep training, let’s talk about why sleep training is a form of self-care for moms.
Improved Sleep Quality
One of the most immediate benefits of sleep training is improved sleep quality. When your baby learns to sleep through the night, you can also enjoy longer and uninterrupted sleep. A well-rested mom is better equipped to handle the challenges of motherhood. When you’re sleeping better, you’ll be able to show up as the mom you’ve always wanted to be.
Enhanced Mental and Emotional Well-being
Sleep deprivation can take a severe toll on your mental and emotional well-being. It can lead to mood swings, irritability, and increased stress levels. By ensuring that you get adequate rest, sleep training can help you gain mental clarity, increase your patience, and foster a greater sense of emotional resilience, allowing you to approach each day with a renewed sense of calm and positivity.
Reclaiming Personal Time
New moms often struggle to find time for themselves amidst the constant demands of caring for a baby. Sleep training can give you some much-needed breathing room. When your baby naps well during the day, goes to bed on time and sleeps through the night, you can use that time to engage in self-care activities. When was the last time you were able to enjoy a show with your partner, read a book, or take a relaxing bath?
Strengthening the Mother-Baby Bond
Sleep training doesn’t mean neglecting your baby or distancing yourself from them. On the contrary, it can strengthen the mother-baby bond. When both you and your baby are well-rested, you can be more present, patient, and emotionally available during the day. This quality time together fosters a deeper connection between you and your child.
Successfully sleep training your baby can boost your confidence as a parent. It’s a tangible accomplishment that reminds you of your ability to care for and nurture your child. This newfound confidence can extend to other aspects of motherhood, making you feel more capable and empowered.
Physical Health Benefits
Sleep is not just vital for mental health but also for physical health. It aids in the body’s repair and rejuvenation processes, strengthens the immune system, and helps regulate hormones. By prioritizing your sleep through sleep training, you’re taking proactive steps to safeguard your overall health.
It’s clear that there are so many benefits to getting a good night’s sleep, for you and for your baby! I know firsthand that saying “Yes!” to sleep training can be one of the best decisions you ever make. By ensuring that both you and your baby get the rest you need, sleep training is a form of self-care that promotes your well-being, mental health, and overall happiness. A well-rested mom is a happier, healthier mom, and that’s a win-win for everyone in the family.
Ready to take the leap and prioritize your sleep and self-care? Reach out! Let’s set up a time to chat about what sleep training could look like for your family!