Toxic Stress and Infant Sleep Training

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If the first thing that comes to mind when you think about infant sleep training is hours of endless, pitiful crying, then this is the blog for you. It may help to know that you’re not alone in thinking that sleep training is stressful for your baby. Still, it’s my goal to help you realize that the splashy headlines about sleep training do not apply to your situation. We’re talking about toxic stress and infant sleep training today. (more…)

How To Sleep Train A Baby: Potty Training Edition

Ah, yes. You’ve come to the point where your little one is sleeping well, but it’s time to potty train at night. No more diapers, no more training pants, we’re talking about how to sleep train a baby to get through the nighttime potty training phase. Don’t panic, we’ll get through this together.

Day training

If you’re just at the beginning of the potty training journey, look away, focus on the days, and come back and read this in six months or so. Both you and your little one have enough to handle with the daytime milestone, so you want your baby to become a daytime potty pro before even thinking about tackling nights. For now, nights are business as usual. Carry on. (more…)

Sleep Coach for Baby: Gift of Sleep on Good Day Philadelphia

baby boy

The news of a Fox 29 producer having a baby provided the perfect segway for your own sleep coach for baby to be featured in a sleep segment! I was honored to be invited to Good Day Philadelphia to discuss how to sleep train a baby, but don’t be mislead by the segment’s title — “Techniques for Establishing a Sleep Routine with a Newborn.”

Newborns not doing anything wrong

As I shared with Fox 29’s Mike Jerrick and Alex Holley, in response to Mike’s question, “What’s the number one thing we do wrong when it comes to getting kids to sleep,” newborns aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong.

With a newborn, there’s really nothing wrong. You just do what you need to do to get the baby to sleep. And as the baby grows older, they have the capability to go to sleep independently, usually by about four months. When this doesn’t happen, Philadelphia-area parents hire me to teach them how to sleep train a baby. (more…)

Infant Sleep Training in the Limelight: Gift of Sleep in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Adorable baby sleeping in blue bassinet with canopy at night. Little boy in pajamas taking a nap in dark room with crib lamp and toy bear. Bed time for kids. Bedroom and nursery interior.

Apart from the fact that many of my former clients call me the “Sleep Whisperer,” I don’t like to toot my own horn (but yes, I’m really good at showing you how to sleep train your baby). However, when a major publication contacts me for an interview, I get a little giddy! In case you missed it, I and a couple of other certified pediatric sleep consultants were interviewed for a Philadelphia Inquirer piece about infant sleep training and more.

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Infant Sleep Training: Is It Safe?

baby sleeping on crib

The first thing you’ll notice about the title of this post is that it specifically states infant sleep training. Now, if you were to ask me if newborn sleep training was safe, I’d respond by stating that newborns just need to be and grow, and not to worry about sleep training. However, the age in question pertains to infants, so the short answer is yes, infant sleep training is safe. Let’s take a look.

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Parents and Sleep: Why the Holidays Aren’t Always Full of R&R

If you watch Saturday Night Live (SNL), you likely remember the brilliant skit from last year, featuring Matt Damon and Cecily Strong, called, “Best Christmas Ever.” The SNL skit features two tired parents sitting down on Christmas night, enjoying a glass of wine and recapping the day’s events. From the early wakeup to hosting family, they recap the day fondly, despite it being hellish and stressful. The skit is funny because so many American parents can relate. Let’s take a look at why parents don’t sleep over the holidays and how to avoid slumber pitfalls.

Holiday cheer

It’s a well-known fact that those who do imbibe tend to ramp up their alcohol consumption between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Unsurprisingly, alcohol.org lists holidays that fall between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve as three of the top ten times of drinking throughout the year, in terms of consumption.

While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a couple of drinks over the holidays, especially when celebratory get-togethers abound, the real sacrifice is a good night’s sleep. Why some adults may equate consuming alcoholic beverages with socializing and relaxation, the reality is that those beverages aren’t doing them any favors in the sleep department. Simply put, consuming alcohol before bedtime disrupts sleep.

You sleep how you eat

Cookies, pies, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fat-laden dips — from parties to heavy meals, many Americans indulge over the holidays. Just as alcohol consumption before bed disrupts sleep, eating heavy, rich foods — and eating late — can be a GI disaster when it comes time to sleep. In fact, many of the foods commonly served and consumed over the holidays — low in fiber and high in fat and sugar — are the perfect recipe for a disastrous night of sleep.

Think about the number of meals and parties you attend each holiday season — how many of them offer food? What you eat affects how you sleep, and food choices you made at an afternoon get together can come back to haunt you when it’s time to get some zzzzzs. If you want to feel rested over the holidays, try not to overindulge or stray from your normal diet too much.

And then there’s the stress of it all

Parents find themselves juggling to get everything done even outside of the holiday season, so when the holidays come around, stress mounts. Buying gifts, planning dinners, hosting friends and family — there aren’t enough hours to get it all done! And when time runs short for holiday preparations, parents often dip into the overnight hours. Protect your sleep, fellow parents — you need it!

With a reported third of Americans reporting stress levels on the rise over the holidays, it’s no wonder we don’t feel rested! So, instead of succumbing to the stresses of the season, arm yourself with tools to fight holiday stress. Practice the self-care we often speak of, but rarely follow through with — there’s no better time than now.

Instead of staying up all night to assemble that Barbie Dream House, remember that your own sweet dreams are what will help you make it through the craziness of the holidays. Wishing you a wonderfully restful holiday season, fellow parents — you’ve got this!

Don’t Begin Sleep Training for Little Ones on Holiday

If you need sleep training for your toddler or infant sleep training, the holidays may not be the best time to start. It’s hard enough keeping up with all the festivities let alone learning how to sleep train a baby. You and your precious one will both be tuckered out and you may be setting yourself up for failure. You’re better off waiting until the celebrations are over and then looking for a sleep coach for your baby.

Infant Sleep Training: Enter the No Judgment Zone

infant sleep with mom

“No, I’m not plugging a national chain of gyms, I’m letting you know that when you come to me you’re in a safe space. Over my years of infant sleep training along Philadelphia’s Main Line I’ve seen just about everything, so not much surprises me these days. I also know that by the time parents seek my help, they’re exhausted and looking for a solution. This is why Gift of Sleep Consulting is a judgment-free zone.”

Infant sleep training: been there, seen it, own the t-shirt

Whether you’re co-sleeping or rocking your baby to sleep each night, I’m not here to judge. What I will say is that I’d rather you be room-sharing than co-sleeping for both you and your baby’s sake, but only because I want you both to get a good night’s rest! The reality is that you’re not the first and you won’t be the last to share that there are roadblocks preventing your infant from getting a good night’s sleep.

Many parents put their baby’s in their cribs after they’re already asleep and they fall into a cycle of holding or rocking baby until they’re asleep and putting them down again. Many parents don’t understand why their baby is having issues — until I ask them how they’d react to falling asleep in one place and waking in another. Scary thought, right? Many of the families who come to me just need an outsider to take a thorough look at what’s going on and offer suggestions. (more…)

How to Sleep Train Your Baby: Is the Pacifier Bad?

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As a pediatric sleep consultant in Philadelphia’s Main Line, the most common question I get — whether in-person or via email — is an obvious one: how to sleep train your baby. What many people don’t realize is that the answer varies depending on the variables, which include everything from the baby to the nursery setup. Today I’m tackling a common sleep training question: is the pacifier bad?

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More of My Favorite Things: A Sleep Gift Guide

While you won’t find me frolicking in a dirndl dress in the Alps, I am singing the praises of some of my favorite sleep-related things. Perhaps the number one concern with new parents, and certainly one of the most contentious new parent topics, babies and sleep are big business. From a thousand-dollar bassinet — that boasts the ability to sleep train your baby — to melatonin, desperate parents turn to these gadgets for the promise of help.

Unfortunately, I’m the bearer of bad news. Most of the baby sleep products on the market — including the two above — are gimmicky or promote lousy sleep habits, which you want to avoid. However, there are some sleep products that I swear by and recommend to my clients — take a look:

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