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There I was, it is 2 am and I paced with a 3 day old baby around my living room, through my kitchen, and into the dining room as Max screamed.

  • “I just fed you – why are you still crying?”
  • “Why did we do this, life was so good and consistent”
  • “What do you need sweet baby, please calm down, I want to help you.”
  • “Why does my husband not seem to hear this right now?”

Phew, that was only day 3, I had no idea what was ahead of me. My dear friend Sarina came over the next day to meet Max and quickly explained he was hungry, opening a 2oz bottle of sample formula that was shipped to me, he slammed it and passed out. He was hungry, damn-it, I was starving my son and didn’t even know it. My milk hadn’t “come in” yet.

Becoming a new parent was so much harder than I had imagined. I was sleep-deprived, had milk shooting out of everywhere, the ice diapers were on their way out and I just needed stability, I was type-A, and structure with a new baby did not exist.

At the time, I didn’t know what a Sleep Consultant was, whether there was one near me, or how they could even help. So I suffered in silence for weeks. Crying, trying, nursing, cleaning, pumping, cooking, playing, rocking, wearing, walking, bouncing to sleep, you name it, I was trying to do it all to get my baby to sleep. Full disclosure… I wouldn’t drive over the highway bridge in Conshohocken where we lived for almost a year because I was afraid I would jerk the wheel and drive off it, crashing into the river below.

I wouldn’t go into the kitchen for the entire day while my husband was at work because there were knives there and I didn’t trust myself. I was alone. No mother to call and ask “how the fuck did you do this,” God rest her soul. Too embarrassed to admit my feelings and when I did muscle up the energy to see a shrink, she started with ‘tell me about your childhood’ and I was like peace bitch, I don’t have daddy issues, I just don’t want to be a mom right now because I suck at it. So, my therapy ended there, even though I really needed it.

My best friend Linsday knew most of this, even some of it I was embarrassed to share all of it with her because I felt like I was failing. It was rock bottom for me. I was always so confident, worked my ass off to be good at my job, whatever it was, I always gave 110%. I had my shit together, got it all done, and had so much fun doing it. 

Then kids happened.

I thought maternity leave would be me eating bon-bons on the couch, crushing work emails {while I was on leave but just had to work because I am crazy} – while Max slept and I enjoyed these lovely days, cuddling this amazing baby and enjoying this beautiful journey of motherhood. 

That was the furthest thing from the truth. 

I struggle with nursing, I was OBSESSED with pumping to ensure I would have 4,432,543 oz of milk for when I went back to work. My nipples bled, every time he latched I would scream and cry, as my tears dripped onto his precious face while he sucked away. By 6 weeks, I was doing a tinge better in the sleep department. We walked ALOT, I was a bit of a stickler with my own sleep, and needed 8 hours a night, so I put Max on a schedule {of sorts}, knew his awake windows, walked a lot in the spring sun, out in the stroller and got some much needed fresh air. He slept a lot in the crib, settled himself in there from birth without tears, which I learned in a blog I stumbled on once, and at least had the sleep game somewhat going for me. The rest of my day and managing motherhood was a dumpster fire of anxiety and sadness behind the smile. 

At 8 weeks, on the way to the shore with my husband, I hit a breaking point. I told my husband I wasn’t good at this, I felt like I was failing as a mother and didn’t know what to do. I may have even told him at that point about wanting to drive off the bridge and the whole fear of the kitchen too. 

His response. “Get a whiteboard” – he said. (A whiteboard…..you can’t be serious you perfectly rested, exercising, nothing has changed for you since our son came home husband son on a bitch….{to be clear, my husband is AMAZING. We are very happy and close and enjoy each out, at the time though, I envied and resented that not much changed for him aside from becoming a new dad, who could come home, play and then poof, put him down for the night.)

While I didn’t say that, I thought it and in my passive-aggressive nature, I ordered the best fucking whiteboard on the market and it was at the house in 2 days. His idea to get the whiteboard, write down what I needed help with/support with and how we worked TOGETHER on this journey was pivotal. 

We had a plan, we supported each other, we found a groove and I felt empowered to take back control and figure this whole motherhood thing out. 

I became obsessed with sleep because I saw the havoc that happened without it. I research, studied, read, planned, and mastered sleep for my 8 weeks old. I structured the day, got great naps, had a plan for a bedtime routine, and balanced intake with good sleep hygiene. I fed my son every 3 hours, I walked for naps to ensure they happened at the right times, to set him up for sleep balance in the day and overnight. I would pump after he went to bed at 7:00 pm, my husband then at 10:00 pm would wake and feed him, I would sleep from 8:00 pm – 2:00 am, when he would wake to eat and I would nurse him then, again around 5:00 am and he would wake between 6:00 am and 7:00 am for the day. We had a plan, and it was working. 

He slept.

I slept.

We were happy humans.

It was then I decided I wanted to support and coach parents because I felt alone and completely unprepared. I didn’t want any parent to feel the way I did. I trained to become a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Sleep Coach, became a Certified Lactation Counselor and a Postpartum Doula, and Tiny Transitions Sleep Consulting was born. Fast forward over 7 years later and I now have a team of Sleep Consultants and Coaches that I train to support new parents on their journey to sleep. I support clients every day in their quest for balance, because you can have a plan. Sleep is the foundation for which the house is built. I needed my baby to sleep through the night. I needed my baby to nap on a schedule. I needed predictability, especially when I went back to corporate America. I did it and I want you to know you can too.

New parenting can be hard. Don’t suffer in silence, seek help and sleep support. You can teach healthy sleep habits without the need to every cry-it -out. Sleep Training methods are all over Google. They won’t work alone. Sleep is a jigsaw puzzle. You need balance in the daytime naps, the skill of independent sleep, the monitoring of the awake windows, and intake to ensure your child is growing. 

If you are ready to change sleep in your home, let’s connect. I am here, I get it, I will meet you where you are and we will design a plan that works for your family, your parenting style, and your approach.

Courtney Zentz is the nation’s leading Baby Sleep Expert and Founder of Tiny Transitions. Her background as a Pediatric Sleep Specialist, Lactation Counselor, Postpartum Doula, and Sleep Coach to her team of Sleep Consultants around the world provides parents with a solution to their sleep struggles, that is backed by science and balanced with your love and support. If you are struggling with sleep in your home remember, we offer Free Sleep Before & After calls, so you can learn what a Sleep Coach does and how working with us can help you, if that’s the right choice for your family. 

The mission at Tiny Transitions is to teach healthy sleep hygiene and parenting education to parents and their babies, toddlers, and young adults who struggle to sleep well. Courtney resides just outside Philadelphia, with her husband Adam and two children, Max and Sovella. She has always felt passionate about making sleep & healthy living a priority in her family’s life and Tiny Transitions looks forward to working with you. 

Her team of Certified Sleep Consultants, the Slumber Squad, offers in-home and virtual consultations, depending on the location. Today, we cover Dallas, TX, Austin, TX, Nashville, TN, Paducah, KY, Long Island, NY, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, Tampa, FL, Des Moines, IA, Huntsville, AL, St. Louis, MO, but can travel in the home to support your sleep needs for a fee, based on the work and duration of the stay.