ARE YOU A SLEEP DEPRIVED PARENT DREAMING OF A FULL NIGHT’S REST?
- Is your child waking too often during the night?
- Are you facing bedtime battles every night?
- Are you exhausted and overwhelmed, longing for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep?
- Do you feel that you should be able to figure this out, but can’t find a solution that works?
It can feel discouraging to feel tired and lost as a parent. If the family is not getting the necessary sleep then everyone is less resilient; parenting decisions made from a place of exhaustion may provide temporary relief, but usually leave parents wondering when and if they will be able to return to a sense of normalcy. Being on survival mode month after month, doing whatever you can so that everyone gets the most sleep possible is untenable; this can leave you hoping your child will magically start sleeping all night without your assistance and fearing that day (or night) will never come.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Many parents experience issues related to their child’s sleep before their sixth birthday, especially during the first three years of life. Parents of infants who are easy sleepers are often surprised to learn that many sleep problems develop between 6 to 9 months of age. For some, the move to a big kid bed is when the night time chaos begins. You may worry about causing harm to your child if you left him to sleep independently or feel confused as to what are developmentally appropriate expectations around sleep given your child’s age.
Learning the skill of self-soothing to sleep
Like everything from nursing to walking, a baby needs to learn how to sleep independently. As adults, we do not need to rely on someone else to put us to sleep. Children need to learn to put themselves to sleep as well. Developmentally, the ability to self soothe presents sometime between 8-10 weeks. However, other factors influence whether a child will self soothe to sleep without support from parents and this comes easier for some than others. Much of this depends on age, temperament, and previous experiences.
Teaching sleep skills
Sometime between 3 and 6 months of age the baby is ready to be put to bed awake and fall asleep on her own. Some babies are ready for this transition while others protest this change. The degree of protest depends on various factors: your child may prefer the “old method” of going to sleep, she may not be developmentally ready yet and/or family lifestyles may be interfering. For these children, parents need to create a sleep plan that both allows their children to learn the skill of sleep, while also supporting them through this transition and growth.
I Can Help Your Family Achieve a Good Night’s Sleep
The sleep plans I create with you will help your family become rested and excited to start the day together. I can help your family to sleep through the night and wake at a reasonable hour and create a stress free, predictable nighttime ritual and bedtime. If naps are a concern I can help you create a consistent, healthy nap schedule that brings predictability to your day and augment healthy night sleep. There are many books on how to help your child to sleep and the range of theories behind these recommendations are dramatic. Finding the right solution for your family can feel daunting. My philosophy on teaching your child to sleep and supporting you as a parent is rooted in research and experience. My approach is systemic and views the family through an attachment framework. I assess your family’s needs and, in partnership with you, determines the best solutions to implement.
You May Have More Questions or Concerns
Do I Need to Be Local to Get Help With My Child’s Sleep?
I have worked with parents all over the United States as well as countries, such as Dubai, England and Australia. Please contact me if you have any questions about how this works.
When can I begin sleep training with my child?
You may consider sleep training your child for naps as early as 8-10 weeks and night time between three to four months of age. However, this timeline is an average. Your child’s temperament, history and family factors all contribute when determining the most prudent time to sleep train your child successfully.
Is my child too old to learn how to self soothe to sleep?
It is never too late to teach a child healthy sleep habits, although the older the child the more involved the process may become.
Why does my child have to cry in order to learn how to sleep?
As parents, it is very difficult to hear our child cry. The first three years of life children are largely preverbal–meaning that when they want to express discomfort, they fuss and/or cry. When children are experiencing a change in the family rhythm and learning a new skill, such as self-soothing to sleep, this can be frustrating. However, providing space for them to learn this important life skill is not only essential to their health and growth, but children benefit by having rested parents who are more present and engaged. That said, many parents worry about how this process impacts the attachment bond. Fostering a secure attachment is not about preventing out children from feeling sad, angry, or frustrated; rather, it is about how we attune (or recognize) and comfort them when these feelings occur. Helping your child learn to self soothe does not preclude, interrupt or undermine secure attachment. Children who know how to self soothe to sleep are shown to sleep longer and have better quality sleep. In fact, the research shows that well rested children are more resilient, explorative, curious and better able to regulate emotions–all indicators of secure attachment. If you still have concerns or questions about this, please schedule a complimentary call to discuss in more detail.
How long will it take for me to sleep train my child?
The general rule of thumb is 3-5 days, but this is dependent on the age of the child and how the parent responded to the child regarding issues of sleep in the past. If your goal is to create healthy naps as well as nighttime sleep then allow two to three weeks to complete the training for both daytime and nighttime (again dependent on the child’s age). Often parents begin to significant changes and results early on.
Should I Sign Up for a Webinar Class or Individual Consultation?
This depends both on your child’s situation and your needs as a parent. For example, are there medical issues or other complicating factors that need to be weighed into your sleep plan? Do you feel that you work better with greater support or feel that you just need to know the ground rules? Please call, and once I know your particular concerns and where your child is with sleep, I can help guide your decision on how to best move forward.
“Sleep problems are a common problem in many households. As a pediatrician, I am thrilled to be able to refer my families to Rachel for appropriate advice and reassurance regarding nighttime issues. Rachel has a calm, nurturing approach to sleeping difficulties and provides excellent and continuing support when working with families. I have had numerous families contact her for help and have received very positive comments about her abilities. I would not hesitate for a moment to refer parents to Rachel for her expertise and guidance.”
-Jill Kamon, M.D. – Pediatric Center, Boulder, Colorado
“As both a physician and mother of two, it is reassuring to know Rachel has so much experience as well as being rooted in research when it comes to developing happy, healthy sleep habits in infants and children. She has saved many exhausted parents (me included) and children with her individualized program and incredibly personalized attention to the client and their entire family. Rachel makes herself available so that children and parents are set up for success! She is supportive, knowledgeable and helps families find their way through a challenging and often times overwhelming process.”
-Karen Kaufman, MD
“Rachel has been a God send for our family. She has advised, coached, encouraged and supported us as we’ve struggled to help our son sleep well through his developmental stages. When I have felt beyond frustrated, and of course, exhausted, I have called on her. And every time she has guided us toward blissful sleep. Thank you, Rachel,! “
“Just a little note of appreciation. I knew this “happy girl” was in my sleepless baby somewhere. You made all the difference. Thank you! We’re doing great! “
“We called Rachel hesitantly, we felt guilty that we were putting our needs before our daughters, but also found ourselves dreading naps and night time sleep. After talking to Rachel, she gave us a new perspective on sleep and crying. We were still hesitant that we would not be able to handle the first night. Rachel’s program made the first night a walk in the park, and every night since easier than the first. I am very against “cry it out” programs and this was nothing like “cry it out”. It was very nurturing and supportive. Rachel’s program has not only helped with sleep, but also helped in nurturing my daughter in many other developments because I have a better understanding of her crying. I feel that this was not only a gift to my husband and I but also to our daughter. We are not only more energized, happier, and ready to play, but so is our daughter. She was already such a happy little person, but with more constant sleep she is even more so. Thank you for making us a stronger!”
-The B Family