Susie Parker is a certified Sleep Consultant and founder of Sleep Baby Love, Child Sleep Consulting.
Thinking about getting baby sleeping BEFORE baby comes prepares you for the reality that they are not naturally great sleepers. Acknowledging that it could be difficult, will help you deal with it more confidently, because at least you will expect it.
Exhausted parents need support. Sleep consultants change lives! Get help if you can’t see an end in sight.
Sunit says many people associate “sleep training” with crying it out. She asks Susie, what is the definitiom of sleep training. Susie says sleep training does NOT equal CRYING IT OUT! It means teaching independent skills.
Sleep training is just teaching your child independent skills. Call it whatever you want, but it can be sleep coaching, sleep helping. You are helping your child learn skills to fall asleep independently. There are many methods, and much gentler techniques to teach your baby these foundational skills.
Just cover the foundational skills-put baby down awake, don’t use props, put them down before they are overtired, pay attention to total daily sleep needs.
Sunit asks what can a woman being doing before baby comes to prepare. Susie says don’t over stress/overthink-every child is different. Do prepare, be aware, once they are born get to know their sleep personality!
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. -great first book on sleep-covers the why of sleep importance. Also gives total sleep needed by age. Susie says if you are going to read one book, read that one.
It’s very typical that newborns don’t know how to sleep. It’s natural that they are fussy initially. Babies do not come knowing how to sleep. They are supposed to be fussy and bad sleepers in the first 6-8 weeks. They need closeness, rocking etc in the first weeks.
Don’t let your baby cry too long in the early days. Some experts are now saying even 4 months is too early for sleep training, but when you are desparate, you want it to happen as early as possible. Talk to your pediatrician. Do what feels right to you but it’s never too late. Susie works with people who have kids all the way from babies to 6 and 7 years old.
Consistency is key. Whenever you are ready to be consistent-that’s when it’s time to start. That is the biggest component to addressing sleep challenges.
When you are ready, if you can’t go it alone, and know that you will be successful-get a sleep consultant. All the information on the internet can be overwhelming. Ask for help. There are sleep consultants everywhere!
Habits that are never too early to start:
Dissociate food and sleep. Do not nurse your baby to sleep! Feed baby while they are awake.
Do not rock to sleep.
Put baby down when they are drowsy but awake.
Use nap time as practice.
Swaddled! If baby doesn’t like swaddle, find something they DO like. Babies have a moro reflex until about 4 months, their arms flail and they can’t control this. Swaddling keeps them from being annoying to themselves! Temper this with swaddling.
Mimic their in utero environment-white noise machine mimics what they hear in the womb, is soothing, and also blocks out other noise.
Dark room or blackout shades if needed.
Sunit asks if we are setting babies up for a crutch if we do things like sound machines or blackout blinds?
Susie says Maybe- but the worst thing that can happen is they sleep well but need something. It’s not a big deal. Typically kids will outgrow white noise. Every “crutch” is different-blackout blinds may create more reliance on a really dark room but again, look at your life and assess how important this is to you.
Babies SHOULD be sleeping in their room/crib for the most restorative sleep. Napping on the go might be convenient in the short term but in the long term it’s not optimal for good sleep.
Babies who are good sleepers with good sleep habits are more amenable and flexible when the time comes to go on a trip.
Sunit asks what advice do you give to the mom who is very active and doesn’t want to put that on hold. Does she have to sacrifice that to create good sleep habits? Assess your child and go with what they need. Don’t be selfish. Put baby's sleep needs ahead of your own habits and activities and work around that.
No one can make you sleep train your child. You do what’s best for you. You will only be successful if you are in the driver’s seat. Understand your child and your life, prioritize, and do what’s required.
Susie and Sunit both agree that even now, even at preschool age, their kids will never be the ones that are up late every night-it’s special occasions only. Sunit says when you prioritize your child’s sleep early on, it always pays off. That is her experience with twins.
Dr Ferber (Ferber Method)-Solving your Child’s Sleep Problems-is very detailed if you like that
Kim West "The Sleep Lady Shuffle"-a gentle method and good for an older child (1 year and older)
Sometimes blogs are better than books!
www.babycentre.com is a great resource
Communities with birth boards-have babies with the same birth month so you can compare notes
One piece of advice Susie would give to a woman for whom motherhood is in the near future.
Don’t stress: create knowledge and foundation to be ahead of the game. Just listening to this podcast puts you ahead!
Studies show that confident parents have better sleepers. Babies pick up on uncertainty. Fake it til you make it. If you’re struggling-REACH OUT!!!
Sunit says she wants to inspire women to not lose themselves in motherhood. Having good sleepers allows her time to do things she still likes to do.
She asks Susie the one thing about her life that she loves that sleep training allowed her to keep. Susie says watching TV! Early bedtimes allow for tv time, time for nice quiet dinners, time with your husband etc.
Susie and Sunit talk about the real housewives and how addictive it is.
You can find Susie and her blog at www.sleepbabylove.com
“Sleeping Made Easy” is her FREE facebook community. Search for it on FB!
Samantha Munoz-author of the brand new parenting book “the Intentional Bookshelf”. She is an engineer who blogs at Addison Reads.
Sunit says that she is a connoisseur of parenting books and would never rave about this one if she didn’t love it.
She asks Sam why she wrote this book. Sam says dealt with a lot of overwhelm when she first became a mom. She was by herself raising her daughter in Japan away from family and friends and she didn’t know if she could do it. The idea of molding your child and having the responsibility of teaching them and growing them was too much. She realized that children’s books could help her parent. She realized they have important and valuable lessons to teach. They could help her teach core family values and other things beyond math and science. She decided to share with other parents. Sunit observes that Sam did not give a list of what books to buy but instead tells people what they need to take into consideration to create their personal bookshelf. Sunit parallels this to how she approaches her coaching of expecting moms. Sam says yes she purposely wanted to avoid that. Telling parents what they “should” do is doing the opposite of what she is trying to accomplish. It gives people anxiety when someone tells them what to do. You need to parent how YOU want to parent.
Sunit mentions that the book addresses all sorts of cool info about budgeting and book clubs and book boxes and that her own children’s bookshelf is NOT intentional. But it will be now! Sam says the main point of this book is to encourage parents to utilize books to help them parent and also in the book there is a worksheet that helps parents plan their bookshelf. Have goals for your bookshelf. Sit down and talk about it with your spouse.
Sunit agrees that you need to plan ahead with your partner on how you will parent and what kind of kids you will raise and this can help you guide your bookshelf.
What is a good place to start when it comes to books for your baby? Sam says board books are the best place to start for babies. New and expecting moms should start with board books.
Some of Sam’s favorites are by a company called Baby Lit. They have a series of books inspired by classic literature. That is a great place to start.
“Dear Zoo” by Rod Campbell
“Cheeky Monkey” –a story about honesty that comes with a little stuffy monkey. Great for incorporating values early on. Sunit reminds everyone that it’s never too early to start reading to the littles. Books are a great way to communicate with your child from Day 1.
Sunit asks Sam why she thinks parents should have “the intentional bookshelf”. Sam says even just having this book on her nightstand reminds her that she has a plan for her parenting and that she is incorporating what she wants as a parent into her child’s life. It makes her feel more at peace. Sunit and Sam talk about the fact there is so much pressure and stress to raise kids with the right values-parenting can be made easier with this book!
Sam gives her one piece of advice for new and expecting moms: Sam says-RELAX. Trust your instincts and what you know you want to be as a parent. Everyone has an opinion. Remember what YOU want to do and what your purpose is, and what you have in your mind and your spouse’s mind. Be clear on that, nothing else matters. Sam took too much advice and stressed about everything. And it hurt her, she wishes she hadn’t taken so much advice.
Sunit asks Sam to share something about her SELF that she has held onto outside of her role as a mom. Sam says that she loves to write and her blog really helped her get focused and clear on what she loves, and she has come full circle and been able to go back to being an engineer. Get clear on what you want. We CAN be amazing moms without having to let anything go. Hold onto some piece of you and embrace it. Sam says you feel like the perfect parent until someone reminds you that you’re not. Don’t compare just be laser focused on what YOUR goals are for parenting.
Sam blogs (and you can also find the book) at:
Not yet possible to walk into a bookstore and buy the book, but you can order thru her website or on Amazon as a paperback and also Kindle.
Kendra Hennessy-mom coach and strategist at “Mother like a Boss”
Helps women become home maker-ish and focuses on mindset and strategy to get moms organized.
Deeper issues often come into play when looking at a clean and organized household
We are all “homemakers!”. Kendra helps moms DO IT all and ENJOY it all.
Works one on one with moms over the course of a month. Assesses each woman's unique “issues” separately. Does everything from helping women get the toy room uncluttered to helping create meal planning and digging deep into childhood issues that may be contributing to current situation.
Motherhood doesn’t have to be frazzled. Motherhood can be kept simple and stress free with the right strategies and systems in place-Kendra can figure out where is the breakdown in systems in your life. Motherhood CAN be stress and frazzle free.
Systems help you become more calm, more collected. No more playing catch up from the day before.
Sunit and Kendra talk about perfection in motherhood-you CAN be a perfect mom as long as you stop comparing yourself to others. Perfect is whatever you want it to be, decide whats important to you and then do it.
Perfectionism gets a weird “rap”. There are contradicting sayings out there. "Nobody’s perfect". But "practice makes perfect". No wonder moms are confused and overwhelmed. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. Avoid comparing yourself to others like THE PLAGUE.
Kendra and Sunit say, before your baby is born, decide how you want your life to look and what you are willing to do to get there! Overwhelm is caused by wanting something but not wiling to work to get there. If you want a “martha stewart” perfect home..you can have it. You have to work for it. Do what gives you joy. "There are as many ways to mom, as moms in the world”. Change your expectations and progress and evolve as a mom. That’s perfect too! Do not use perfectionism as a coping mechanism OR a defense mechanism. Women try to DEFEND the fact they’re not living a perfect life. Deep rooted issues in your childhood can cause your issues with “perfectionism” now. Ie)all or nothing. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It can be whatever you want it to be.
Sunit talks about the fact that she didn’t even baby proof because she likes her living space to be clutter free and clear. She asks Kendra if everyone thrives in a cleared out space or if everyone is different. Kendra says that even people who think they love ALL THE THINGS don’t realize how much they will actually benefit from de cluttering until they do it. Clutter in your mind is affected by physical clutter in your life. From her experience, Kendra sees that for the vast majority of people, having less clutter-the more peaceful your life tends to be and the less stressed you are.
Doing it yourself is better than having someone do it for you. It’s best to learn the system and do it right the first time to avoid Boomerang clutter! (clutter that comes back).
Kendra’s biggest tip:Have a home for everything. (Homelessness is the best friend of clutter because then it requires a temporary space). Then you won’t have to worry about losing stuff or random things cluttering your space.
For new moms:it’s so tempting to want all the things and cute baby knick knacks but it’s dangerous because it can take over your home. Ask a veteran mom “what did you actually use?” so that you are not just buying random stuff.
Have stations in different parts of your house so you always have supplies in the areas you’re using them (i.e. a diaper change station on every floor-this can also avoid overwhelm).
Take care of YOURSELF whether you had a baby yesterday or 15 years ago. Be #1. When you are not at 100% you can’t give your best to your family. Throw away the guilt over taking care of you. It’s ok to be #1. Your kids will be better for it.
Sunit says that’s why she started this podcast is to encourage women to start thinking about this before babies come.
Sunit recommends the book “How to have your Second child first”-by Kerry Colburn & Rob Sorenson
Kendra's one piece of advice: Be really true to yourself. think of what values you want to install in your kids. Not what you saw on pinterest or what your neighbours are doing. And then be whatever kind of mom YOU want to be. Show up as YOUR best authentic self.
Kendra shares something about her SELF that she holds onto:she has not given up her radio and tv shows that she loves. She knew she didn’t want to give them up because she would feel deprived. She also gets her hair done every 4 weeks without fail. She decided what’s important to her and stays true to that.
www.kendrahennessy.com -there is a free tutorial video on boomerang clutter!
The book Sunit references is "How to Have Your Second Child First" by Kerry Coburn and is available here.