Sleep is one of the most precious things in life to me. Right up there with family, friends and my love of anything Disney. You don’t realize how much you appreciate and love it until it’s gone and you are struggling every single day to get it back.
I’ve always been a great sleeper. My mother will attest to this fact. She said I was sleeping long stretches (10:00pm – 5:00am) at two weeks of age! That is not the norm for newborn baby sleep, so she was one lucky mommy! In college I even tried to schedule my classes to begin no early than 9:00am and even then I felt like that was too early. A self proclaimed “Night Owl,” I was commonly found sleeping in to at least 10:30 – 11:00am on weekends up into my early 30’s. But one day that all changed. The day I became a mom.
Being The Baby Whisperer – How Did It Start?
When I became pregnant, I was excited (if not a little bit nervous) to become a parent. I felt I was ready for the most part and that any anxiety I felt was just due to being nervous. And early on a warm August morning, my life changed in a wonderful way. I became a mommy to a beautiful 7lbs 1oz. baby girl I named Elizabeth. And there ended my long established love affair with sleep. That’s when healthy sleep habits took a back seat.
Like most new parents, I was thrust full speed into parenthood with one of the most important parts. Feeding and bonding with your little bundle of joy. Of course knowing I wanted to give my baby the best start in life I decided to breastfeed my little girl. Right from the start I was diligent to try and feed her at least every two hours around the clock from the moment she was born to stimulate my milk production and help her gain weight. While I was utterly exhausted from childbirth, I was diligently following the instructions during breastfeeding class to the letter. In the end I ended up hardly sleeping during my hospital stay. When we came home from the hospital my sleepless nights continued.
Being The Baby Whisperer – How Not Getting Sleep Started My Career
Without going into all of the lengthy details, my dear sweet little Lizzy did not sleep more than 2 – 3 hours at a time for the first few months of her life. And that was even after we had to switch to formula due to my inability to produce breast milk (but that’s a story for another blog post). I was told by many of friend that she would most likely start sleeping longer stretches at night around 6 weeks of age…just as all of their children had. Well, 6 weeks came and went and there was no change or lengthening of sleep. And as a result, I began to sleep less and less.
One day I reached my breaking point. I was so sleep deprived that I no longer was having rational thoughts, I was suffering from high anxiety, exhausted both mentally and physically and no longer taking an active interest in life. In clinical terms, I was suffering from post partum depression and I needed help. Thankfully, help came via some wonderful healthcare professionals and a very supportive husband and family. Funny enough, the first piece of advice I was given was for me to improve my sleep habits. “You need to get more sleep,” one doctor stated. My initial (and somewhat sarcastic) thought was well, BRILLIANT…why didn’t I think of that. If I could have found a way to get a couple of hours of decent sleep a day I wouldn’t have found myself in a dire situation such as sleep deprived. Where do I look for help?
Help arrived in the form of a friend who suggested that I research the many different books available offering advice on how to get your baby to sleep through the night. So I fired up my computer and began my research. I never knew there were so many books available for this topic and all of them stated they had the best method. I quickly became overwhelmed until I stumbled upon a book and method that made sense and changed my life. I found a way to encourage my daughter to sleep longer stretches at night. The first night she slept 5 hours straight I cried. And this time they were tears of joy.
Being The Baby Whisperer – Better Sleep = Better Wife = Better Mom
And slowly, I reconnected and rekindled my love affair with the sleep I so dearly missed. I became a better wife and mother to my baby and began to look forward to the next day. I felt empowered to help every new mommy I met to solve their own sleep problems. I’d shout it from every rooftop and playground if I could. Without knowing it, I began my path to a new career that I love.
Fast forward 3 years and another daughter (awesome sleeper I might add) later, I connected with my mentor Dana Obleman and began my extensive training and certification program to become an Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant. The best decision I could have ever made.
Being The Baby Whisperer – From Sleep Deprived to Sleep Revived
I help change lives, I help families regain a healthy dynamic and spouses reconnect. I help guide families from sleep deprived to sleep revived. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. To have a chance to touch lives and make a difference in a sleep deprived mommy’s life by working one on one with her to achieve healthy sleep habits for her child/children warms my heart.
In closing, I’d like to share a frequently asked question and answer to help weary parents everywhere…
A: More than you might think! Many parents are quite surprised to learn that children need anywhere between 12 and 18 hours of sleep depending on their age. Below is the guideline for specific age groups:
- 0 – 3 months of age: 16 – 18 hours per day
- 3-6 months of age: approximately 15 hours per day
- 6 – 12 months of age: approximately 14 hours per day
- 12 months of age and beyond: 12 – 13 hours per day (and that is through elementary school)
A good night’s sleep gives children the energy they need to wake up each morning feeling happy, refreshed and ready to learn.
If your little one is not getting the sleep they need to be engaged and energetic, be proactive and find solutions to help correct unhealthy sleep habits.