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  • michellehaskellbir

Got Sleep? I sure hadn’t.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve built my business off of my past mistakes. I want you to learn the important parts about birth and your options so you avoid a traumatic experience; I want to empower you to advocate for yourself; I WANT YOU TO BE WELL RESTED!

My children were terrible sleepers. My daughter slept through the night the night before my maternity leave ended… and she didn’t sleep through the night again until she was 2. My son was attached so attached to my side (ahem, to my breast) that he couldn’t nap independently or sleep on his own at bedtime. I spent more nights than I can count on a thin pad on nursery floors. I was caught in the survival stage of parenthood far longer than I needed to be.

Part of the reason was that I was caught up in mom guilt. Sleep training is hard and scary - for me and my baby! I listened to people saying the only way to be a good mom is to be attached to your child literally 24/7. I believed myths that sleep training is harmful and would destroy our bond.

Finally, enough was enough. I couldn’t continue getting fragmented sleep every. Single. Night. My hips, which are already genetically angry at me, were screaming constantly from the hard floor under me all night long. My back was aching from contorting around a squirmy toddler. Finally, I sleep trained. I chose a “gentleish” method and it took a long time, but eventually… we all slept!

The more deep I get into the birth/mom world, the more I see other people struggling like I struggled. I also see an ever increasing amount of mean spiritedness when it comes to sleep training. People love to share studies touting the supposed harms of sleep training and are more than happy to jump down a stranger’s throat with aggressive judgements if they so much as ask for sleep tips on the internet. People so obsessed with normalizing terrible sleep patterns ask strangers to fall into the martyrdom to which they have subscribed. It’s not uncommon to be told you’re a horrible parent if you’re searching for a sleep solution.

But it doesn’t have to be like this!

Why can’t we support one another? We all make different decisions for our families - and that’s ok! If you choose not to sleep train your child, or want to bedshare until third grade, or have a family bedroom, great! If that is working for your family, I’m so happy for you!

But there’s no need to shame other parents for their own, perfectly ok choices. You may truly believe that sleep training causes harm; fine, but you don’t need to project that onto others when in fact, science does not show harm associated with sleep training. Sleep training is not something you do to your child; it’s something you do for them.

And don’t forget that sleep training means different things to everyone! For some, sleep training is synonymous to “cry it out” (which isn’t even one single method, by the way). For others, it’s setting the stage for independent sleep by creating healthy sleep hygiene habits so the change can occur gradually. And it can be anything in between!

I certified as a sleep consultant through Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. I chose CPSM primarily because its founder, Jayne Havens, has created an incredibly in-depth curriculum that includes the science behind sleep (including biological differences between infants, babies, children, and adults) and includes really comprehensive methods for helping to support families on this challenge. Jayne has also cultivated an incredibly supportive community of CPSM graduates. If I’m ever stumped on how to support you, I have hundreds of brilliant consultants standing behind me willing to help with their different perspectives.

As your sleep consultant, I’m here to support you through this process. We start with a virtual chat so I can learn more about your situation and you can ask any questions you may have before we start. You will fill out my intake form and from that and our discussion, I will draft a custom sleep plan unique to your child and your circumstances. We go over this plan together, and when you’re comfortable with the plan, you dive in! I’m here for phone, text, and email support as you implement the plan (most commonly, I provide support over 2 consecutive weeks). I’m here to help cheer you on and hold you accountable while you work toward a life-changing improvement.

Struggling with sleep for infants, toddlers, and even older children is a common thing, but it doesn’t have to be. It took me far too long to wake up from my daze and realize that my kids needed help developing the confidence to sleep on their own. I hope you’ll learn from my mistakes.

Happy sleeping!

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