- Erin discusses some key tools, tips, and tricks that most parents don’t know but should regarding how to balance with the overwhelm of a newborn.
- We get real on what to expect and how critical it is to build your village.
- Erin dives deep into how you build a strong sleep, what a newborn sample schedule should be how to balance and maximize intake.
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Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
Welcome to the kids sleep Show podcast where we dive into the magical world of sleep, and all things parenting. Join us as we embark on a journey filled with expert advice, practical tips and heartwarming stories that will transform your little ones into sleep superheroes, and empower you to navigate the beautiful chaos of parenting. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. And I’m on a mission to change how the world view sleep and provide accessible sleep coaching resources for all families to build healthy sleep habits in their home for children, and adults of all ages. As an award winning speaker, author and pediatric sleep expert, myself and my team of consultants work intimately with families around the world to teach healthy sleep habits to children and adults. I believe wholeheartedly that sleep is the foundation for which a happy home is built. So let’s sleep together. Hey, everyone, welcome to the kids sleep show. Thank you so much for tuning in. I am always blessed and honored to be here to support you with all of that amazing sleep education that we try to provide. And this week is no different. We are joined by Erin Forsch. She is a member of the tiny transitions team. She is a sleep consultant, a pending CLC. And also in the process of getting her CP S T. So I’ll let her introduce herself and explain a little bit of her background. And we’re diving in to all things newborn sleep, so you’re not going to want to miss this one. Aaron, welcome to the show.
Hi, Courtney. Thanks for having me. Hello, everyone. My name is Aaron. And I’ve been working with Courtney and the team for just over a year now. And I am loving it. I come from a background of 20 years in finance and in relationship management, client service type positions. And when I had my first child, she’s now five and a half. I was lost, I was exhausted, I really couldn’t see my way out of this exhausted place that I was living. And Courtney was a lifesaver. So the things that I learned from Courtney, I turned around and applied to my second two children who are each very different. So I have three kids total. But they were all different. They had different problems. They had different struggles. And so I found myself constantly asking questions and trying to learn more. And well here I am. So
amazing that you’re here. I mean, the transition from corporate right, I was there, I was in marketing and finance. And I came home with Max and felt lost and alone. And basically spoke to a sleep consultant that is still a good friend of mine today. And she said, You know what, you’re actually doing pretty good, Courtney, you don’t need to hire me, but you need to relax and know that they’re a newborn, and you’re gonna get there, you know, and I got off the phone. And I think it was probably similar with you, I got off the phone, and was like, This is amazing, I felt so much more empowered, right to take control of it that I was doing a good job, right, just as validation from some random stranger I talked to for 10 minutes made me feel like I was succeeding as a new mother. Right? So I mean, talk to me a little bit about just your similar transition, right? It’s like the pressure of the world that we’re in today and trying to be balanced for every one right? And you felt this calling, like, I want to do something that is in a different way giving back especially in in a space of a lonely time, right. Like I think we have kids and we’re supposed to be this like instant mom with instant happiness. And it’s like also instant overwhelmed, and it’s also instantly lonely. And I know, you know, you have been focusing on newborn and expecting parent education. Why?
Okay, so just the fact that you said, Someone coached you that you just needed to relax. For the record, just relaxing is not in my nature. I am always running high stress, all of that. So I feel like those words weren’t helpful to me. Even though I felt better after talking to you. And you said things weren’t as bad as they looked, I still needed to understand the why and how to make things better. So just kind of drawing off of that. My main focus really, I love working with newborns and expecting parents because I don’t want anyone else to feel the way that I felt in the very beginning. I had a village I had our families around us I had people offering help, but it was that’s not the help that I needed. I it was it was lonely with people around me it doesn’t make any sense to me, right? But I needed someone that I could reach out to who could help me understand what was going on and helped me understand my child if that makes sense. My with my first I didn’t. I thought I knew about babies. I had nieces and nephews and friends with children. But when you’re sent home from the hospital with this little baby and they’re like, Okay, have fun. What do you I don’t know what to do when I got Oh, I just stared at her. She shared It stared at me sometimes she was crying. Sometimes I was crying.
The first two days home from the hospital are such a treat. I remember I was like, I just nursed max. And he was screaming and it was like two in the morning. My husband was sleeping like a baby. Unlike the baby who was screaming on my shoulder, and I’m like, What the heck? Like, what do you want you little thing. And my girlfriend came over the next day. She’s like, Dude, he’s hungry, like your milk didn’t come in yet. Like slammed a bottle in his mouth. And he like chugged it and passed out. And I was like, Oh, no kidding. Okay, good to know, you know, and it’s just those things that like, you don’t know. So I guess that leads me to my next question. I think people perceive sleep coaching as one thing or another right connotations to the word what it means, what exactly is a sleep consultant? for newborns?
It’s not, it’s not what you think it is. So let’s start there. So a sleep coach for newborns, is really postpartum education. It’s looking at those first 12 weeks, from a high level trying to understand what you’re seeing in your child. It’s setting healthy habits, it’s putting routines in place that help you feel like you have a little control or a little structure to you to your day, in the early days, where there truly isn’t a way to deeply structure what’s happening. But it’s a little sense of, like I said, control or sense of routine and process, which is comforting in a lot of cases when you don’t have that.
Yeah. I mean, I think there’s so much that goes into the first 12 weeks, right that do set a foundation because I think people perceive that you can’t hire a sleep coach, right until four month regression, six month regression, eight month regression. And when I try to explain to people it’s like, if you start working on positive sleep foundations, sleep shaping, when they’re born, you never need to sleep, quote, train, right? Because I think people equate, like what we do to like this sleep training, cry it out, you know, atrocious thing that you’re doing with a newborn like, no, it’s about that balance in education. And I always want to be clear with people on that, because we talk about the fact that we are postpartum parent educators, right? We work with a ton of pediatricians who don’t have advice, time, or the knowledge on sleep like we do. And we partner with them to provide this education because you get shipped home from the hospital on day two, and the only thing they care about is that your baby is strapped in. That’s it? Are they in the car seat? All right, good luck, I. And that’s the best you get. Like, that’s the best you get, you know, and I know you’re in the process right now of getting your CLC talk about that, like, how is that going? Right? So you’ve got sleep coaching, you’re doing the CPS t, which is the you know, car seat safety. But talk about the CLC. Like what made you want to get your CLC as well, especially in the capacity of working with new and expecting parents.
So sure, I think you made a good point. Sleep shaping is not we’re not fixing a newborn. Newborns don’t have bad habits. Newborns don’t have any of that. We’re just trying to set a little sense of organization around the day for them. So I wanted to make sure I said that, when it comes to the CLC. I’m partway through my course right now. And I will tell you that maybe this is just the type A and may coming out. But I wish I would have been a CLC before I tried nursing, because I’m learning so much more from going through this program that honestly I wish I would have known before I struggled with my first I only was able to nurse and or pump for her mostly pump for about four months. And when I went back to work and didn’t have the ability to be hooked up to a pump all day long. My milk supply tanked. So I was done pretty early with her. But now that I’m into this course, and I’m learning, I want to be able to share this with new moms or expecting moms so that I can tell them the things that I didn’t know, not from a place of pressure to breastfeed. So I feel like that’s really important to say, because there is an overwhelming pressure on moms to breastfeed and if you want to I will fully support you. But I’m not at a place where I’m going to say don’t offer formula. That’s not my background. All three of my children were supplemented with formula at some point. So I just I wish I would have been more successful with breastfeeding. So going through this course and being able to understand the hows and the whys of what works what doesn’t why it It’s not working, these are things that I really want to be able to share with my clients, and to support them if they want to stick with this.
And I think that it’s such a beautiful gift if you’re able to breastfeed, and if you’re not, that’s okay too. I don’t like as a, as a lactation counselor as well, I, I never liked the the pressure, right, that pressure, I was so postpartum, depressed, and postpartum anxious, because I was like, under this immense amount of pressure to be this like cow that shot milk out of her boobs. And I felt like a total failure when I couldn’t do it for the whole year, and max bid me at eight months, and then he wouldn’t latch again, because I squealed like a circus pig. And that was it. He was done, he would never go down again. And I sobbed. I mean, I just remember laying in the bathtub naked, trying to get them to like relax in there. And the last time we breastfed was that my mother in law’s on Sunday night dinner, I got him to latch one time, and then even because it was a different situation, and that was it. And we were done. And I had to come to terms with that, you know, and when I had my second, I was like, whatever works, man, this time you’re getting formula, this time you’re getting breast milk. And I think, you know, everybody’s gonna have an opinion on it. Like, we’re a judgment free zone here at Tiny transitions, like, we want your kids to be healthy, and to be supported and loved. And, you know, I think people sometimes look at the work that we do is not necessary. I think the people that work with us see it as tremendously positive. But I also think there’s this, this culture of like, one side or the other. And we really just want you to embrace the best, healthiest, balanced, growing, thriving children. And whether it’s talking about the milk or talking about their sleep needs, like they’re very closely correlated, you know, I mean, talk to me, Aaron, what’s the number one thing you probably spend the most amount of time on in working with the new and expecting parents that you’re educating?
Okay, so let me go back for one second, if I can’t, you said something really important. So yes, we coach children, we educate parents, but we want to ensure that your child is healthy. Absolutely. But I think what’s also really important and being that, you know, we’re in the month of May, which is mental health awareness month is the mental health of mom and dad, honestly. But you, we will address those things. We want to give you the confidence and the education that you need to be able to understand what’s going on around you. And I feel like that’s something that I was missing. So when you talk about being postpartum, depressed, and I was there, I don’t think I knew that’s where I was. And
that’s where I was, I was like, I’m good. I got this microphones like, you need to go to a shrink, dude.
Yeah, and you just tell yourself the whole time, no, this is how it’s supposed to be like, I’m supposed to be this tired. And I’m supposed to be this clueless. And it just looking back on it, it’s, that’s not where you have to be. And so I want to be part of that village that helps you understand you are doing a great job. And if you if there are things that you want to change, or you want to set different goals, I’m going to help you get to them. So all right. Now I can answer the question that you did ask me about the number one thing I focus on with my clients for expecting a newborn parents. So right after you have your baby, you’re in the hospital and like you said, they check your car seat and they send you home. No one says to you, do you know that you’re supposed to be keeping an eye on how long your baby baby is awake, before they’re back down for their next sleep session. No one said that to me, I mean, except you, so thank you. But in those early weeks, your child’s only going to be awake for 45 to 60 minutes at a time. So you will feel like they are sleeping so much. And that’s right. They may be short, the brief naps, half hour, 45 minutes, maybe an hour. They’re not sleeping for five hours on end. But they will be asleep every 45 to 60 minutes. So it’s a pretty crazy cycle, wake up feed, lay back to sleep, wake up feed, lay back to sleep. And you’ll feel busy because of that. That’s how you find yourself on showered exhausted bottles to clean or pumping equipment to clean all piling up on the sink, you easily find yourself in that position. Because you’re constantly going through that same 45 to 60 minutes cycle. So I always start with first thing we’re going to focus on is those weak windows. If we are not using the proper weak windows with small children, newborns, then everything else that will try to change in terms of routines and habits and said set those up. Those are more difficult to put in place because your baby’s either under tired overtired. It’s a struggle
And I think it leads to a bigger struggle, right. And so I don’t think parents correlate the fact that their kids overtired, I did a Pinterest live last night right with new parents. And somebody was like, this baby hasn’t slept. Since we got home from the hospital. They’re chronically overstimulated at this point, like, so it’s this spiral effect, which I don’t think parents understand that, like, if your kids overtired, then they’re not going to eat well, they’re not eating well, then they’re not going to grow. If they’re not growing, then they’re not, you know, I mean, it’s like just these dominoes start to fall. And it can have effects like that’s why you do weight checks every couple days, like they need to make sure that you’re getting on that right balance. Schedule, the right structure, your baby’s safely sleeping on a hard, flat, safe surface. Right now I know a lot of the families that we work with, have babies in their room, the AAP says, hey, it’s a huge reduction in SIDS risk. If your kid is in their own bassinet, or crib in your room for six months. Now there are some studies that say they don’t know why the rate of reduction is less than if they were in their own safe space in a separate bedroom. That is a recent study that just came out in 2023. But either way, like hard, flat, Safe Sleep surfaces, our house was the size of a matchbox when we had our son. And he was in his own room from day one in a safe Ford flat crib. And we had a video monitor that was on him at all times. And superduper sensitive, you know, but it’s just as parents like there’s just this overwhelming and ultra conflicting amount of information. But it’s also about like making choices with your family to Aaron, right that are going to work for you like we couldn’t have fit a crib or bassinet in our shoe box at a house. So we had no choice our son was in the nursery. And we made that decision because we didn’t have a house that supported, you know, a child being in the room with us in a safe capacity. Right. You know, talk a little bit about safe sleep.
So, first thing, so in the newborn course that we actually just recently put out there, the very first thing I cover is safe sleep. Courtney’s already mentioned a few of those pillars. So firm flat surface, I want to ensure that you know what Safe Sleep is. So we go through that in the course. But I also I’m not here to shame or judge you for any bad habits, or we’ll say unsafe air, quote, things that you’re doing. What I’m here to do is help you move towards Safe, safe sleep. So what I get when I start working with parents of newborns, or even infants who have found themselves in survival mode, right, it’s real easy to start doing things that would not be considered safe, just for the sake of getting everyone sleep. So judgment free, absolute gesture free, I’ve done some of those things. So I just I’ll be fully transparent. I have held my baby all night long, I have nurse to sleep and fallen asleep in the chair with my child. I’m not here to judge but I’m here to do is help you change what you’re doing. If you wish to so that we can find you find your way to safe sleep for everyone.
That’s that’s an important point because I think it is easy if you are nursing to fall asleep at two in the morning while your baby’s nursing because you’re strung out and exhausted. You know, but what if you dropped your baby, right? So like, we’re trying so hard as as postpartum parent educators? Again, it’s it’s not about judgment, it’s about how can we get you so you’re not so exhausted so that you can finish nursing and put that baby back in the crib to settle? You know, you just worked with newborn twins. Okay. How old? Were they when they started three weeks?
They were Yeah, I think for three or four weeks, but we got on that first phone call to kick off the sleep plan. Yeah.
Okay. Tell me a little bit about what’s it look like to work with one month old twins in this case, right? Because I think parents are listening on. I don’t know, what do you think what does a newborn sleep coach actually do? So what do you do?
So in the case of the twins, they just get scheduled. We’re using that term loosely. Their days were a little all over the place, because there were points in the day where they were awake for 45 minutes. And there were points in the day where they had been awake for two, three hours at a time. And so, again, the first thing we always talk about after Safe Sleep is looking at the weak windows. So still at you know, four, four weeks old. We’re still looking at 45 to 60 minute week windows. So we started there or, and mom was better able to identify what their sleep cues were. Once we started trying for a nap every 45, after being awake for 45 to 60 minutes, it was a little easily more easy for her to identify what each child’s sleep cues were. So that going forward, she could start to tell when it might be time to extend those weak windows, keeping their child on a better schedule as they grow. So it’s, again, it’s not about do this, do that at first of all, when all I want you to do is watch every 45 to 60 minutes of being awake, see what they look like, see how they’re acting, and then move them to a cool, calm, dark place. You can give them a feed if you need to, if it’s time for a feed, and get them down into their crib. However, you can write initially, that’s all we’re trying to do is just get them to sleep on the proper windows.
And then what does it look like? Right, so what did How long did you work with these folks? And what did what did the kind of end result look like? Right? Talk to me a little bit about because I think people go Alright, well, what is the evolution? Right? We start with the Wake windows. And that’s great. And then we start to balance in feeding and intake, make sure the babies are growing, you’ve got two of them. So you’ve got two individual personalities that are unique, right? And then you’re working with families from a newborn standpoint, up through kind of 12 or 16 weeks, depending on the package, right? I mean, that’s a long time. And I know that this particular client was like, gosh, you’re just a lifeline to know that you’re there.
Yeah, so you said it. So after we get a good look at the weak windows, and we make sure we’re kind of following the proper week windows for the child or in this case, the children, what we’re looking to make sure is that they are taking full feeds full feeds at least every three hours at that young of an age. So a full feed means that baby is taking it rather than graze eating, right. So I think you’ve used this example in the past, where if you’re snacking all day long, you are not hungry for a full meal when you should be hungry for a full meal. So what that does is it throws off the balance of the rest of the day. So for children this young, at least every three hours, a full feed, whether that is nursing or bottle fed breast milk formula, doesn’t matter. Our goal is to get these children to between 24 and 32 ounces of milk formula, whatever it might be each day that ensures that they are getting enough intake to properly grow and develop. So we move to focusing on the feeds, we ensure that they’re getting enough of the feeds for each of the days. In this case, the twins actually, I worked with them for an extended period of time because mom had purchased one of the higher up packages. So I worked with them through 12 weeks on one on like, one on one coaching with regular phone calls sleep tracker analysis, I could message her if I saw something to tweak or adjust. She could chat with me if she had questions along the way. But after that initial 12 week period, these guys were oh my gosh, they were doing so well. Mom had already purchased the additional three months of support. So as things adjusted over the next three months, these guys were thinking what to say about five months old when our work time together was finally over. She wouldn’t every couple of weeks just message me to say first of all how well they were doing or ask a question about what she was seeing. But the best part about those chats with Mom where she already knew the answer. She was looking for a little bit of competence from me. But the education and the things that we had talked about during this first 12 weeks together, she knew what to do when babies were not going down as easily for naps. Or if their naps were too short. It was too likely time to exchange it extended their week when? No. So in the case of newborns, this isn’t again, this isn’t about watching the clock, by no means can we say at three months old, your naps are going to be at 10am They’re going to be at 12. Now, it’s that’s not how newborns work. It’s about watching the duration of the time that they are awake, ensuring that they are taking full feeds and proper total ounces during the day. And just you’re that’s what you’re watching for in the early days in the early months.
Yeah, no, definitely. And I think you made a great point, right? We have a different variety of packages here for all different levels for all different financial abilities for all different requests for support. Depends on what parents want. Right. So I mean, talk about some of the packages from a new parent perspective that you offer that are a bit unique to other sleep coaches in you know, in this space.
So I think you know, I, I truly work truly enjoy working with expecting parents. And with newborns. It’s where I focus most of my time. We haven’t expecting Parents package that gives you the education upfront. So prior to having your child, if you really want to understand that things you might not be told in the hospital. But kind of understand what those first 12 weeks look like, there is a package that’s education for that before you have the baby. And that package comes with a check in call, you know, a month after baby’s born to see how things are going ask the questions you have. Now that you’ve seen baby, see how things are looking, you get to have a phone call just to touch base and look for a little more guidance and education if that’s what you need. When it comes to newborns, we have actually, so once baby is here, if you are looking to work with me or one of the other consultants on the team, we have three different packages, there’s one that really covers with the focus on the first 12 weeks after baby has arrived. And then we have one that covers the whole first three months of their life where we can have regular check ins at the education session, for sure. And then we have one for the whole first six months. And I actually really am excited about these the newer package structure that we have. Because if you have, if you have someone that you can reach out to a lifeline, a member of your village that can help you understand what you’re seeing, and even five or six months old, you really are setting your child up for sleep success. And I think that’s critically important because for children who are not in the habit of having healthy routines and things like that, the older they get, the harder the regressions are on the child. So there’s a benefit to setting these healthy routines and habits right up front right from the start, your child will have will recover more quickly from any regressions that that you might see in the future. regressions can be caused by a number of things, we usually see those with teething illness, development, developmental changes. So there are certain milestones that you can physically see happening with your child sitting, standing, crawling, walking, all of those things can have an impact on sleep. But there are developmental cognitive changes going on in your child’s brain that you can’t necessarily see. But they change the way your child processes what’s going on around them. And that also can have an impact on on sleep. So you can sit there with your little checklist and say, No, they’re not teething, they’re not sick. They haven’t really done anything new physically what is going on. So having someone that you can ask questions of like, what is this? What am I seeing? I think is super helpful. The feedback we’re getting about these new packages is, is really good. And I actually love hearing it because parents feel like they have the answers they need to be confident and to be comfortable in helping their child. Get through them.
Well, I’m excited. I know you do a ton of work right now, with the pediatricians and OBGYN in the Philly area here. Aaron is based right outside of Philadelphia, as am I and I know you’re doing a ton of work right now in speaking with corporations, right? So talking to HR, getting in an educating expecting parents within companies is a benefit to employee wellness, employee mindset, employee retention, right. And you know, so for those listening that don’t know much about that reach out to Aaron reach out to myself reach out to anyone on the team. Aaron also is certified to work with adults, as are a number of the other consultants on the team. And we do a ton of corporate engagements where we just go in and do sometimes one webinar talking about What to Expect When You’re Expecting, sometimes we do whole global implementations of like sleep coaching that companies buy, that they can provide as an employee benefit to their employees, you know, so I mean, there’s just a wealth of knowledge. And I think the biggest thing, as the owner of this company, I can say is like, I want to educate people, I truly want people to understand the why. And it’s something you’re also passionate about, which is why you’re on the team. But I think we we see a space that’s highly unregulated, right? Like, there’s not a ton of quality control, you know, and in a time where anybody can make a pretty website, right, you have to be careful with who you’re choosing to work with. And so I’m very proud of the work we’ve done for eight years here at Tiny transitions and for the work that you in particular have done with these families. And I just think it’s so important for people to understand, like, whether you’re at your company and you’re looking for help, whether you’re on maternity leave, whether you’re expecting whether you’re like, Hey, I’m looking for a shower gift by the expecting parents course for $47. You know, it’s just there’s so many ways I think we can help support the greater good, because everybody’s better when they sleep.
Yeah, I agree. Excuse me. I agree with All of that. And I feel like I the reason I’m sitting here today is because I lived in a place where I did not understand my child. I didn’t know what was going on. I was exhausted. I was going to work each day exhausted and wasn’t as productive as I could have been at home or at work, probably not. Was I as you know, put together as I could have been? No, I don’t think I was. So in talking about what’s good for your child being good for you. I think that’s the whole picture. So working with children, educating parents, and even working with the HR teams locally and abroad like it, what it’s doing is ensuring that parents have that whole picture. So the baby’s taking care of mom and dad are taken care of, they have a good understanding of what’s happening. They know what to do next. Or if they don’t, they can call someone, they can film friend. That’s why we’re here. And then the HR teams love us, because we’re preventing some of the things that were happening to me, right, we’re helping parents understand how to get more sleep, once they have a child and even what they can do to improve their sleep when their child isn’t the problem. Their struggles don’t have to be their struggles all the time. But there are things that adults can do to set themselves up for sleep success completely separate from children’s sleep.
Yeah, I’m so excited. It’s just gonna be a great year here. I’m super pumped that we’ve launched this course, if you want more information on the expecting parents and how to navigate a newborn in the first 12 weeks, Aaron has an amazing video and ebook that’s available right here in the show notes. You can find it out on tiny transitions.com. If you go by service, you click the first thing and it says ebooks and it’s right in there as well. And I’m so blessed that Aaron was able to join us today because I think focusing on expecting parents and newborn sleep is something that is so crucial and so helpful to these kids. And Aaron is a boss of it. So thank you, Erin, for coming by today and chatting more about it.
Thanks for having me, Courtney. I look forward to talking to you all