When my first child was born nothing else mattered.
But then, 6 months later, I came to the realization that, in fact, sleep mattered a whole lot and we weren’t getting any.
I was tuned-in, connected, devoted, anticipating my baby's every need, but we weren’t getting sleep and I had no idea how to give him the rest he needed: every time I set him down he woke up!
How could I have messed up such a fundamental human need? Did I miss the memo?
I felt betrayed; the wisdom passed down by my family, friends, and co-workers had not included anything about baby sleep (other than the implicit understanding that it sucks).
How could my mother’s intuition lead me so far astray? I'd expected to be challenged and fulfilled by motherhood, not subjected to a form of torture by the new little love of my life.
We were happy, just so, so tired. We were surviving on love and nutrition - probably overcompensating with both truth be told.
My husband was sleeping in the guest room, I was pregnant with baby #2, and baby #1 was waking every two hours all night long and he thought 5:00 AM was morning.
Bed-sharing did not help.
Feeding him all night did not help.
Napping when the baby napped did not help.
I was looking ahead to life with two babies, twice as much laundry, and half as much sleep again - there had to be a better way! I could not believe that mothers throughout history had lowered their expectations, lessened their productivity, and just put up with life with little to no sleep. Some did I’m sure, but I knew that wasn’t the whole story.
So I set out to discover how mothers managed do it all. I scoured library books and baby blogs and over-shared with every mom and grandmother at the playgroup, park, and library and soon discovered the age-old recipe for strong, vibrant families: an equal balance of love, nutrition, and sleep and a foundation rooted in helping babies learn these things, not always doing it for them.
But could my helpless little 8 month old really find his own way into sleep? He didn’t seem to think so.
The how-to part took longer to wrap my head and heart around, but eventually I tried enough different approaches unsuccessfully that I was able to cobble together a system of my own devising to help my baby learn to fall asleep in his bed. It was challenging because it involved making changes and a whole lot of of trial and error, but it worked.
My baby began sleeping well at night and taking decent naps and life as a new parent got substantially more enjoyable simply because we were both getting enough sleep.
As a first-time parent, I had no idea how much sleep babies needed and how capable they are of taking the sleep they need given the skills and opportunity to choose.
When baby #2 was born I made sure to provide him with ample opportunities for love, nutrition, and sleep much sooner than his brother and he began sleeping 12 hours a night, of his own volition, at three months old. We still had plenty of opportunities for snuggling and breastfeeding - we just balanced our snuggles and breastfeeding with sleep!
By the time I had my third child, I knew exactly what would allow her to choose to sleep well and she’s been consistently sleeping well her entire life.
Today my three kids all share one bedroom in our little house in Nelson, BC and continue to find sleep to be easy and enjoyable while I help other parents learn that their babies and children can sleep too.
From my own experience and from working with hundreds of families, I can tell you that life with children and sleep is entirely possible and entirely amazing.
Grab a free introductory call and let's talk about making your experience of parenthood more balanced and even more amazing.
Together with my husband, I am raising three small people and am more proud of our family, my children, and my work as a mother than of the undergrad and postgrad studies I’ve completed.
After ten years working in the organic retail sleep industry and not long after my first child was born, my family’s sleep deprivation prompted my journey into the field of sleep science and infant mental health and development.
I graduated from the comprehensive sleep consultant certifying program which Dana Obleman founded on the Sunshine Coast. My training included distance and in-person education and an 18 month mentorship, giving me the very best tools and knowledge available. I have since worked with hundreds of families and honed my own approaches to give parents more options.
I’m an active member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants, the Nelson Early Childhood Advisory Council, and am pleased to have been admitted to an exclusive, international network of accomplished early years professionals with whom I both offer and receive mentorship.
I am currently undergoing certification with Brain Story, a program on early brain development and its consequences for lifelong health.