Baby Sleep Specialists... a parent's best friend

baby Cry

Baby Sleep Specialists… a parent’s best friend– Part 1

By: Haley Callicott, Contributor  

Every parent has experienced the frustration of putting a restless child to bed. After many failed attempts at getting their baby to bed or establishing a successful nighttime routine, some parents have turned to sleep consultants for assistance. In the first of a two part series, we will discuss who are sleep consultants and what they do.

Who are sleep consultants?

Sleep consulting is an increasingly popular industry for sleep deprived parents who need a little extra help with putting their baby or child to bed. Generally, sleep consultants are certified experts who work with infants and young children to identify and resolve behavioral sleeping troubles.

mom and baby
expert nurse

What do sleep consultants do?

“The first six months [of a newborn’s life] goes by in a blur,” said Sweet Dreams Infant Care sleep specialist, Pam Jones. “We want the parents to enjoy that time with their kids and actually remember it.”

Sleep consultants and sleep trainers work with parents to create a personalized plan to facilitate a better nap and bedtime routine or adjust the bedroom environment to guarantee that the child falls asleep faster and stays asleep for longer periods of time.

Many sleep consultants will offer initial consultations. Most consultants offer phone and/or in-home consultations or an overnight stay where they observe the child’s sleeping patterns. The consultants then offer individualized services, or even sleep plans, based on evaluations of the child’s sleep patterns. They will usually provide follow up appointments in order to monitor progress or make adjustments to the original sleep routine plan.

Sleep consultants usually work with families for two to six weeks. Some offer phone call consultations that may last from 30-90 minutes where they discuss techniques or adjustments to the child’s nap and bedtime schedule.

Initial Planning

For in-person consultation and overnight stays, the specialist will require the parents to provide them with a medical or behavior background of the baby via questionnaire or sleep log. Next, they will meet with the family for an initial consultation to talk about their current bedtime routine.

After an overnight observation, the consultant will give the family a plan to make behavioral or environmental changes to help the child’s sleeping problems. For example, they might teach the parents to put the child to bed at a certain time or provide techniques for making sure their child does not get overtired. Some may even suggest environmental changes such as making the room darker or incorporating noise machines into the child’s room.

“My job is to teach people and make sure they understand how sleep works and why it works,” said Jessica Dodson, sleep coach and founder of Starlight Sleep Coaching. “I aim to empower [my clients] with this knowledge.”



Sleeping Baby

Tips on How to Survive a Summer Pregnancy From One Soon to be Mom to Another

Tips on How to Survive a Summer Pregnancy From One Soon to be Mom to Another

By, Jenilee Keefe Singer

Being pregnant in the summer is no joke. For me, the heat has induced contractions and given me kankles, and made me plain tired. Here are some tips on how I’m surviving the heat and making myself feel more comfy.

1) Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is important throughout pregnancy, but it is especially important on those hot, summer days. Dehydration is bad news. Not only can it make you feel awful, but it isn’t good for the baby. I recommend investing in a good water bottle and taking it with you everywhere you go—and chug that water down.

2) Eat lighter meals. Nothing makes me logier than a heavy meal on a hot day. This may be a good time to lay off the lasagna and opt for the salad instead. I also try to avoid super salty foods, as they only contribute to my swelling (oh ankles, how I miss thee). Please don’t completely eliminate salt. Salt does help maintain fluid balance and contains needed iodine.

3) Wear comfortable shoes. Pregnant feet can swell. Hot pregnant feet REALLY can swell. Keep your feet comfortable in forgiving shoes. Flats and sneakers help. Watch out with certain sandals and flips flops. Those straps can dig into your feet!

4) Wear breathable, loose fitting clothing. Wearing lighter (materials and color), loose fitting and breathable materials will help keep you cool. Dresses are really helpful and luckily there is no storage of options. You have a job that requires business attire? Throw on a blazer or nice cardigan for the office and take it off went you head outside.

5) Make friends with air conditioning and fans. Ah AC. One of life’s modern pleasures. I know summers are meant to be spent outdoors, but when you are pregnant there are just some days that will beckon you indoors.  If it’s 95 degrees outside and incredibly humid, don’t push it. It’s ok to spend some time inside. I recommend finding something to do around the house. If you are nesting, this is the perfect opportunity to get things done—organize that hall closet, put away baby clothes. Or get out of the house and go to a movie, the mall or a museum. These places are almost always cool—so cool for me that I often bring a sweater!

6) Pay attention to the weather. Does the forecast call for it to be 90 for the next five days? You not looking forward to spending more time inside? Well, pay attention to your hourly forecast. You may find that the morning and evening temperatures are better. Then do what I do – hit that farmers market as soon as it opens or take walks after dusk.

7) More on water. I’m not talking about drinking water. Use the water to cool you off. Take a shower. Carry around a spray bottle. Freeze a towel and place it on your neck. Go for a swim. Or run through your kid’s sprinkler (I am not ashamed to admit that I did this).

8) Kick up your feet. The heat is tiring. If you can, take some time to kick up your feet and relax. Elevating your feet will also help with swelling. And better yet, if you have the time, get in a nap.

9) Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor. Feeling off? Can’t seem to cool down? Swelling like crazy? Talk to your doctor. You never know if you what you are experiencing is a simple annoyance or something more serious. It never hurts to ask for medical advice.