- Are you a new mom with a newborn who doesn’t sleep?
- Are you transitioning back to work and need baby on a schedule?
- Do you have a new arrival coming?
- Is baby not yet sleeping through the night?
- Are naps short and do you lack a schedule?
- Is your toddler’s behavior getting worse and they won’t stay in their bed or sleep well through the night?
Ready to Sleep Better?
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together.
Hello, and welcome back to this week’s episode of the kids sleep show. My name is Courtney Zentz, the founder of tiny transition sleep consulting. And I am so excited to join you today. It is a beautiful Monday here in Philadelphia and the sun is supposed to shine all week, which I couldn’t be more thrilled about. I’m definitely a summer person, and certainly said that we spent our last weekend at the beach for probably the foreseeable fall. But I will say I take every single chance I can to run down there. So hopefully we’ll get a couple extra trips in this year. And I hope you’re off to a great year, great school year and certainly a great day. And today we are going to talk all about when you should sleep train your child. This is a very controversial topic because many people have many different and very varying opinions around when the right time is to sleep train a baby to hire a sleep consultant to get a sleep coach for your toddler. And I’ll tell you that it’s something we’re gonna dive into today, because it’s an area where I think there’s a lot of misconceptions honestly about what I do, and what I tell you to do and how I coach you through it. And a great analogy I had the other day about what a sleep consultant does is think of a personal trainer. But for sleep, right? You hire a personal trainer at the gym, even though you know, you have to go to the gym. First you have to exercise, right. And you have to be consistent with that to see results will sleep coaching and sleep training is no different. You have to put in the effort to get out the result, right. And so you might know that you need to lift weights, you might know that you need to run but you don’t know how to put it all together to get to your unique goal, right? Not everybody wants to lose weight or build muscle or build endurance, right? It depends on what that person’s goal is. And honestly, it’s the same for sleep coaching, right? So for what I do as a sleep professional is work with you on your unique family plan to understand like, what are your goals as a family? What are the realities of your situation? And how do we build your baby, your toddler, your newborn into a really solid sleeper? taking great naps doing all those things? And what does that look like for you? So when is the timing right is really that first and main point that I want to talk through with you because I think it’s going to be obviously different for every family. Okay, so the first type of parent that I work with, in many cases here at tiny transitions more with my team, the slumber squad is the new mom. Right? So you are expecting a baby or you just had a baby? And if so, congratulations. And you’re going um, yeah, so now what? What am I supposed to do with this baby? Why does every day seems so different? Why are their naps so short? When will they sleep through the night? Right? And am I doing all the things I should be doing to set them up for success. No parent wants to have a child, bring them home from the hospital and go boy, I really suck at this right. It’s more about feeling prepared and empowered. To understand what’s happening. This is the biggest transformation I know that personally I ever made. I was a dumpster fire for the first couple weeks, I didn’t like the lack of control that I had with my son and just not knowing what the day was going to look like and not knowing how to properly help him making sure he was eating enough. And I was nursing and pumping and trying to do all the things and be this superhuman wife and I sucked at all of it, honestly. So, you know, finally around eight weeks is when I really had my aha moment and decided I needed to get help. And through the years and years and years I’ve been doing this now as a sleep consultant. I have seen so many different scenarios where you can build a solid sleeper from birth. Okay, you have to remember that sleep coaching sleep training, a sleep consultant, right? Like what we do is to help educate you. Okay, every baby’s born with the ability to sleep. How we teach them to sleep is either something that they do well from the start because we’re naturally building good habits right or something we have to sleep train them on later because they’ve developed the wrong habits, ie a reliance on something else that requires basically third party intervention to get them to sleep. So you either build an independently
From birth, or you have a child who has a reliance on something that we need to tweak at some point in the future. So, as a new parent, with a newborn, we offer sleep coaching, that’s a bit different. We’re building a solid Sleep Foundation from birth. And that would be where you might as a parent go, you know what, I don’t ever want to have to sleep train my child. So how do I build them into a good sleeper now without any tears without crying it out without the need for traditional sleep training, into a good sleeper. And that’s absolutely something we do. And we’re very good at it. And the nice part about working with myself for the team is you have somebody with you to answer all of the other things that are going on as well. So that you can feel empowered to make changes and choices, you can feel a sense of control around your day. And you can have a child who’s well rested and refreshed, to take on what they’re doing, which is growing rapidly, these first months of life and be in a really good spot with them.
So the next type, if you will, of person that I work with is someone who’s going back to work, right, and they say, you know, we are about ready to conclude maternity leave. I know here in the States, it’s like 12 weeks compared to the rest of the world, which is crazy. But when you have a parent transitioning back to work, there’s often a lot of other things that are happening. First, they might be going to daycare, they may be going to a nanny, they may be having you know, an in law or a friend or someone come in and watch your baby. And that transition to work can be stressful for a couple of reasons, right? One, are they going to nap? Well? Are they going to take long naps? Are they going to take consistent naps? And are they going to feel that they can do it without me there, right. So I often work with parents transitioning back to work, who also are, you know, potentially nursing and now they have to introduce pumping into the day. And I’m a lactation counselor as well. And I consult on how you make that transition. And you do so effectively. So you have this transition back to work, where you’ve got to make sure your baby’s getting the right amount of sleep in the day, you have a little bit of give up control, right because they’re in somebody else’s care. And you need to make sure they get good naps so that bedtime and overnight isn’t a dumpster fire. Right. So when I work with parents who are transitioning back to work, what we do is put a plan in place where first we fix bedtime and overnight, we make sure that baby is settling independently at bedtime, that they are sleeping through the night and that they are waking at an appropriate time in the morning, feeding in the middle of the night where it’s still age appropriate. People think what I do is like rip beatings out make kids cry it out. And it’s so not necessary, right? Like sleeps about building a skill set. If a baby needs to eat, or have their diaper change, or have a burp, we tend to our baby, if they’re using you as a mechanism to go back to sleep. That’s where you have the problem. So we build a solid Sleep Foundation. And then we work through naps. Right? So that’s typically week two of our time together privately is where we work through and focus on naps. And that way, baby can settle independently for nap. So if they’re a daycare, they’re in the care of another provider. There’s not this stress of Holy crap, how are they going to nap? Right? So, you know, working through that we talked about feeding schedules to maximize intake. And also to make sure that you know your child’s getting balanced in the day overtired is the devil. So a child who’s unbalanced in the day isn’t going to sleep well, overnight. And so you have to balance the day, the scheduled asleep and the avoidance of overtired, which often triggers stimulant hormones. So that transition back to work is really the next time I would say you know is a parent that I often see that I work with who just says, You know what, like, I’m going back to work. And this is not going to work. I once had someone call me they had an eight week old baby. And she said, I’m going back to work at 12 weeks, my baby is not sleeping through the night, they are maybe sleeping eight hours total in the day, and I’m a mess. And I’m a surgeon and I need to get this sorted. Because I have brain surgery on Monday. And I thought okay, like, you know, let’s work through it. And you know, lo and behold, we got started on Friday. And baby was a rock star by Monday and the parents were just like, holy cow. Why did I wait so long? I’m a doctor I should have known. And you know, we just taught them a skill, right? And so you know, there’s definitely every family on different timelines for when they’re ready to make the change. But I think people too often are scared about sleep training and have the wrong opinion of what it takes to get a child to sleep well. And honestly, it’s better for your child because they’re getting consolidated, independent restorative sleep, how you feel in the morning after a dumpster fire night is frankly how they feel at any age. They just can’t express it. So, you know, I often tell parents that when they say like, is this the right time to do it? Or, oh, no, we’ve hit a sleep regression. And that’s kind of the next topic, which is, I work with a lot of parents who have hit the four month sleep regression, the eight month sleep regression, the 12 month sleep regression, the 16 month sleep regression, and I have to be very honest with you
Sleep regression means that sleep has hit a speed bump, right? That can happen at five months, at six months, at 10 months, it can really happen at any age, because what happens is a baby was sleeping well, a toddler was sleeping well, right. And then all of a sudden, something got inserted into that equation that left them a window of opportunity. And what I mean by that is, you know, oftentimes sleep regressions while there are developmental sleep regressions, absolutely. that happen. Sleep trained babies often pass through those regressions without much incident, if any disturbance to their sleeping, okay? Because a lot of times we insert something in there that causes the issue. So we have a child who used to sleep well, then got a cold, right? Well, that cold resulted in one of the parents holding them all night, which I’ve done as well, both of my kids had RSV, and I was like, I am not leaving you, I will hold you, you know, and I get it. And you know, you do it for a night or two. And then they go back in the crib, or they go back to their bed, right? whatever age they are. Well, the problem is sometimes parents can’t make that transition back. Because then baby’s upset for a day doesn’t settle crate right or frankly, just got used to cuddling got used to your bed. I mean, whenever the thing, that usually means that the sleep regression happened because we inserted something back in, we started feeding again overnight, we started rocking to sleep, we started bouncing, you know, we had baby in our room, we had baby in their own room like so all of these things are happening, that kind of make that sleep progression seemingly last for ever. Sleep regressions, if they do happen should not be more than a few days. Okay? So if you’re going on seven months of your baby, not sleeping through the night, you hit what’s called a habit, right. And so it’s a very long sleep progression in that yes, sleep has regressed. But it was as the result of something else that we just need to correct. And there’s no problem with that many of the clients I work with, kind of started with the four monthly progression or the eight monthly progression where developmentally there was a lot happening. But where developmentally, they also, you know, didn’t really realize that their little one could, you know, could actually sleep in it for months, you know, they’re consolidating stages of sleep to cycles, they’re beginning the ability to have that circadian rhythm and body clock. And they also have naps that are happening that are, you know, starting to become more consolidated, which is what every parent wants, when you have, you know, something around eight months, they may be learning to stand up in the crib, and then parents get in and start setting them back down and setting them back down, they stand up, you put them down, they stand up, you put them down. And all that does is create habit, right baby stands up, mommy has to sit back down, right? So you want to avoid those types of things. In toddlers, it’s often that they come into your bed. So you open that bed up one time. And then every night, they’re coming in there and tapping on your shoulder going, Hey, can I come in and you’re like, not dealing with this again, just get in. And all of a sudden that boundary is broken, right? With toddlers, you’re not sleep training a toddler, you are changing a behavior, right. So that’s a very different type of sleep coaching that we do here at tiny transitions. Because you can create these sleep regressions kind of by accident by opening up your you know, your your bed one night, or just going in and laying with them one night, that you know, both of those things can cause a little bit more of that challenge, if you will. So the next thing that we’re going to look at is the new arrival of a baby, sometimes there is a gap in the arrival of a child coming because parents are all of a sudden having the attention focus somewhere else, maybe they’ve moved their child to a toddler bed to use the crib. And that created a bit of a challenge or a sleep regression or some bad habits, right? I tell parents keep kids in the crib as long as possible, right. And also make sure that you’re setting time for the toddler to balance that they’re getting the attention with the new baby that’s coming. So it’s certainly something that you want to make sure you are paying attention to. And with that new arrival, you know, understand that you can fix these things in the matter of three weeks that we work together privately. And know that you know, from a timing standpoint, you can have a really well adjusted family right before that baby comes and things might get a little bit chaotic. So you know, definitely looking into getting it sorted before the new baby so that you can be prepared with your toddler at that point to make sure that they’re set up with their needs. But that’s often when I see clients reach out going, Oh my gosh, I can’t have two kids that don’t sleep. I just finished with a new client who has a baby due in December. And her little one was about 16 months old and she’s like things are a mess. She’s in my bed. I’m exhausted and I need to get this sorted and by the time we finish, she’s like this is a dream and I’m so blessed to have found you. Thank you, you know, which is the really cool part about what we do.
Next is if your baby is not sleeping through the night, well, what has caused this so if your child isn’t sleeping through the night, but you also
To recognize that there’s probably some habits or things going on, that’s the next family work with and probably the most popular, right? Most parents come to me or seek a sleep consultant, because they aren’t really sure why they keep waking. You know, I look at different stages. So let me break out how when I work with families, I kind of look at the age of a baby that I’m working with to understand what that looks like. So first is going to be a child from kind of three to six months of age, right? They have the ability to settle independently, right, even before three months of age, honestly.
But when people kind of think of traditional sleep training or sleep consulting, that’s what they think about from an age standpoint, right? So remember, as a newborn, you’re building a solid Sleep Foundation. So you don’t need to sleep train, at three to four months, you’re going, Okay, this should be fixed. And it’s not I now need to sleep train, right. So when I look at parents between kind of that three to six months, there’s probably still a feed that’s necessary and completely appropriate, something we keep in during our private coaching. Some sleep consultants will rip the feedings out from overnight and have your baby scream for hours and hours, just to get past that first night. And then they’re over it and they’ve shifted that milk to the day well, that sleep consultant generally doesn’t have to sit there and listen to a baby scream four times a night for two hours each, because they are legitimately hungry. Okay, so one of the things that we do differently is that balance of intake, right, if a baby’s hungry, they need to feed, they shouldn’t be feeding, they need to eat 24 to 32 ounces, in a 24 hour period. And then what we do is we balance where you are, and then how we get you off of that. But gently and effectively with coaching through getting those feeds into the day, in a way that is not ripping it out and having your baby cry for hours and hours. Because no parent wants to hear that, right. So if they’re not sleeping through the night, we have to understand why are they used to rocking to sleep bouncing to sleep nursing, to sleep feeding, to sleep, any of those things that you’re doing to sleep or again, the mechanism, right, a lot of times it’s feeding, that’s the biggest one or rocking some sort of motion, right? People spend 15 $100, for a snoo bassinet that really just creates a sleep association with movement, right, it’s not natural that a baby moves every time they cry. So while it works in the short term, and can probably provide some relief, you’re much better off hiring me as a sleep consultant for the 15 $100. And I’ll work with you through all of the changes as a new parent, and with your newborn, so that you never need to hire anybody again. And you have this well rounded education on sleep. But if you’re not sleeping through the night, you know whether it’s an infant or a toddler or a school aged child, we have to understand the root of why and that, you know, those reasons change as a child grows, certainly, but that’s what we get into and understand like, okay, let’s break this down, we’ve got a balance of intake, we’ve got a balance of some habits in there. And then we’ve also got a misalignment of timing, right, if your timings a mess, that’s going to cause wakings, too. So, you know, a lot of times parents will call me because their baby is not sleeping through the night. And they need help with figuring that out, which is something that we do very well, here’s obviously so the next thing you want to look at is if baby’s sleeping well, overnight, they settle independently at bedtime, they sleep through the night, but their naps suck. That is actually usually a timing issue. And sometimes people will just book and ask me anything call with us. It’s a 30 or a 60 minute call to chat through why the naps are short, because if they can settle independently, it means they possess the skill, which is the foundation of sleep training. However, if their naps are short, it’s either that there’s too much support and that they’re going down with right, or their timings off. And if their timings off, that’s going to lead to, you know, tears, upset frustration, pissed off short maps, and you know, a parent going, Oh, my gosh, what am I going to do? Or maybe a daycare where, you know, at nine months old, they’re sleeping for an hour the whole day. So they’re just a mess. So, you know, sometimes it is just a timing type of issue. And that’s something where we coach people through Ask me anything calls with a sleep consultant on my team, not through three weeks of private coaching in most cases, because it’s not necessary, frankly. And if any baby sleep coach is telling you that you need to hire them for three weeks to sort out naps. They’re probably just trying to take your money. And I mean that nicely, honestly. So you want to make sure you’re working with the right professional is going to give you the support you need based on the issue. Now don’t get me wrong. There are some nap issues where parents want to hire us for three weeks. But, you know, in many cases, it comes down to timing and habit, especially if they’re settling independently and sleeping through the night. It’s generally a timing issue. Not much else, really. But the next thing you want to look at is when you’re ready, frankly, people asked me when they should hire a sleep consultant when you want to write how early is too early. It’s never too early. Again, it’s not traditional sleep coaching. It’s not sleep training a newborn it’s building a solid Sleep Foundation. So I often categorize what I do into ages right so when we support your newborn, we’re teaching you asleep foundation we’re educating you, we’re sleep coaching you on your newborn, when you hire us for an infant, which is typically between three and 17 months, that is the more traditional form of what we would call sleep training, your child does not possess the understanding that they can actually settled themself. Okay, that’s the foundation of sleep training, they are missing a skill set, because the skill set that they have relies on you.
The next is going to be a toddler, right? It’s behavior, you’re not sleep training a toddler, so many of my clients were like, I’ve tried crying it out, I’ve tried leaving check. I’ve tried this shuffle method, I’ve tried the chair approach, and nothing works. And my toddler screams all night for hours and hours and hours. Well, then the reality of that is that
they don’t, you’re not sleep training a toddler, you’re changing a behavior, right? There’s often a behavior, your kid knows how to sleep they’re choosing not to, right. So at that age, it’s a bit of a different situation, approach structure, right. So a lot of people come to me, and they’re like, I’ve tried all these baby sleep training methods, nothing’s working, well, they aren’t gonna work. Or I mean, they will eventually kill just cry for like a lot, for hours every night. And that’s, you know, nobody wants to hear that there’s definitely a more effective approach to sleep coaching and working with a pediatric sleep trainer to help your child to build back, that empowerment, that sense of choice, that sense of control, while doing it within certain boundaries that we build here, as what we do in the world of child sleep consulting.
So you have to do it when you’re ready, right? There’s no right or wrong age, there’s no,
you know, right or wrong way. It’s what your family is comfortable with. And it’s what your child is comfortable with, frankly, with some parents want a specific approach or method, or their parents don’t have any idea what’s going to be best. And sometimes we don’t know, till we get started. And that’s the beauty of customized consulting, and customized coaching for your child, because everything’s gonna change. There’s no two babies I’ve ever worked with that are exactly the same. And that’s where, you know, the customization aspect of this comes in, right? When you’re looking to hire a sleep consultant, I think the biggest misconception is that we’re all the same. And you have to be very careful about that. Because there are many consultants, and some of them are friends and peers and acquaintances of mine that are like, I don’t want to talk to parents, I don’t have time to talk to parents. I’m busy with my own kids at home. And so I’m just going to use voxer. And I’m going to boxer them all the time, so I can answer when I can hide in the bathroom for 30 seconds. And that works. For some families, that’s fine, that sleep consultant is a great choice. The problem is that you don’t ever get the context of the phone, right. So you want to make sure that when you’re looking to hire a sleep consultant, first you’re looking for what level of support you get with the coaching. I am very proud that myself and my team offer the best customer support in the consulting space today. And I can tell you that with certainty because we offer you the ability to have phone calls with us as much as you’re needing to write sometimes, you can’t replace a good old fashioned phone conversation, right? Email might be easier for you to email, and we use WhatsApp, it might be easier for you to message it might be great to do a combination of all three. And I think the differences get we’re not the cheapest. If you want the cheapest you do get what you pay for right. So, you know, I think that there’s something that comes along with that coaching because it is time. But it’s supporting you where you are, if you’re going to make this investment, you need to make sure that it works for you and works for your family. And you have to make sure that the person you’re doing it with is educated, right? You could wake up tomorrow, build a website and call yourself a sleep consultant, or have done some DIY program for $200 that gets you quote certified. This is an unregulated space, anyone can become a sleep consultant. And it is a very different space because people think of it as a medical field. In reality, it is coaching. We’re teaching you we’re consulting you, right? We’re no different than a business coach than a personal trainer. Right? We’ve had education, all of us, right. But the degree in which you have that education and the advanced education that you get in your foundation is going to be very different. So making sure that when you’re looking to hire a sleep consultant, you’re finding someone who has the proper experience, right? Look at the reviews, we have over 100 Reviews on Google. We’ve got a great foundation of people who understand what we do and are very good at it, frankly. So just make sure if you’re not going to hire us, which is fine. I’m not for everyone and neither is my team. Just make sure the person you’re working with has experience because you know there’s a lot of vanity that goes into the website and I often laugh because the reviews are the same on like 20 different consultant websites. And you know what happened was the sleep consultant went through a certification. They then got a layout template. They got some generic reviews from whoever sort of Buy them because that person used that approach that you were just certified under. And I always laugh because I still see even some of the old sleep sense consultants that I studied with have the reviews now they’ve been doing this seven or eight years. And they’re actually not bad at what they do. But they have these reviews that are, like not even their own. And I kind of chuckle sometimes at that, because I just don’t understand. I don’t know the way that some folks run their business. But that’s not for me to care about. But it’s it’s very interesting to see in this space, because it is unregulated, who you work with. So just definitely make sure that you’re getting somebody who knows what they’re talking about, and who is willing to support you on that journey to sleep. And, you know, there’s a lot of different great qualified sleep consultants and toddler sleep coaches and sleep trainers, whatever you want to call it, whatever you want to Google. But you have to just realize that you have to be comfortable with who you’re hiring to support your family, and you have to be comfortable that you’re ready to do it, there’s no right or wrong time, it’s when you as a parent feel as though you need to make a change. For me that change was that eight weeks because I was not in a good place mentally, right. But I took it upon myself to do that newborn type of foundation setting, right? Like there has to be a better way than this dumpster fire, right? And everybody’s gonna be different. You may say, you know what, I’m just gonna let it ride for six months, and then get some help, that’s fine. You got to let it ride until you’re ready to get help. And when you are, we are here, right? You can always join my sleep community called slumber Made Simple. It’s out on Facebook. And you know, we do weekly Q and A’s and training and education out there. You can always book a discovery call with myself or someone on my team. I have an awesome team of sleep consultants with a lot of different backgrounds. And you can find us over at tiny transitions calm and just take a look. Reach out, connect with us, let us know where you need help. And if you’re thinking about beginning your sleep training journey, just be sure to touch base and understand that first you can do it second, feel empowered to make that choice. And third, to know that if you work with us, you’re going to be in great hands. So I hope everybody has such a beautiful rest of the day. And I look forward to seeing you out here next week. All right, bye for now.
Hold on one more thing before you go. As the value listener of the kids sleep show, I want to help you build a great sleep or not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community. That’s tiny transition stuff comm forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.