To support parents who value sleep for their child, their family, and individual selves during those early years through education, customized sleep plans, and community.
To normalize safe and healthy sleep in our society.
I graduated from Missouri State University in 2011 with a B.S. in Biology and a Math Minor. My original plan was to be a zoologist or perhaps some sort of teacher. However, once I got out into the real world, I felt like something was missing. Little did I know that the several paths I have taken and people that I have met would lead me to where I am today.
I started babysitting for a neighbor during the summer of 2001...when I was TWELVE years old. I don’t mean just a date night here or there. No. I was watching a newborn child from 6am to 6pm, Monday through Friday.
Overtime, babysitting for several families led to long-term nannying for a few. I began to believe in the importance of raising well-rounded children. However, with more families, I began to recognize how important the support and education for the parents of those children were just as important.
After years of experience as a nanny for newborn children up through preschool, I stumbled upon the term Postpartum Doula. I did some research and boom. Back in 2014, I began studying with ProDoula, a professional doula certification agency and began work as an independent contractor for a local doula agency.
In 2015, in the middle of my five years of full-time nannying, I became a Postpartum Doula (PD). I imagined my days would consist of snuggling a baby, completing tasks and building a relationship with the mother while answering any questions & building her confidence.
It wasn’t long before I discovered that most families hiring a PD desired overnight shifts. This meant I would go to a family’s house several nights a week around 9pm or 10pm, sleep in the same room as the newborn, and tend to the baby’s every waking until 7am or 8am.
If you have ever been in the same room as a sleeping newborn, then you know newborns are frickin’...noisy...sleepers! Falling asleep was nearly impossible with all the smacking & grunting. And if there was no noise? I would frantically hop out of bed and check to make sure that the baby was still breathing.
By the time I could get to sleep myself, either the baby would be waking for a feeding or I would wake due to paranoia thinking I heard crying.
After getting home from a shift, I would immediately pass out in my bed. It did not matter how many nights a week I worked. Even with just one night a week, I was constantly exhausted. My mind was foggy. I couldn’t focus on anything. I was irritable. I didn't feel like myself!
I began to wonder, if I...someone who has no children, who gets to hand over the baby and go home to sleep for however long I wanted or needed. If I feel this way?! I cannot imagine what it is like for a parent experiencing this day in & day out, month after month, and sometimes year after year.
So, I wanted to learn what is normal for sleep development and how could I help families reach their sleep goals without exhausting myself. Because you see? That lifestyle I was living was not a sustainable one!
Sleep deprivation weighs down on individuals & families physically, mentally, emotionally, and economically. It affects relationships, health, productivity both at work & home and overall happiness & well-being.
With some googling, reading, & education I learned the ins & outs of Child Sleep Consulting. I bought the books required for a certification program with the intention of learning about sleep for my job as a Postpartum Doula. As I began to help my sleep deprived friends back in my home state, Missouri, by just providing education and support via email and phone, the light bulb came on. I decided to start practicing as a Child Sleep Consultant in addition to work as a Postpartum Doula.
Fast forward to June 2018 when I became a certified Child Sleep Consultant through the Family Sleep Institute. Not only did this program reassure me that I knew what I was talking about, but it has also given me a community of mentors and peers, updated and evidence-based material at my fingertips, and education/advice on how to help families to the best of my potential.
Now, I support parents in a different way than I could ever have imagined!
Being a Child Sleep Consultant is such an honor for me. I get to impact more lives by working with multiple families and families all over the US. I get to hear some of the most authentic, raw emotions and thoughts from parents. We connect on a level that goes deeper than the surface from the very first conversation. My passion is to empower you as a parent and individual during your first few steps through parenthood with compassionate support and evidence-based information! And I do this with my process of the UPS.
First and foremost, no parent should be shamed for striving to have a child who sleeps well. Regardless if improving sleep for the child’s sake or a parent’s sake. Sleep is just as important as food for surviving and thriving. It is nutrition for the brain and body with both quantity and quality playing important roles.
Second, well-fed and well-rested can coexist! The age of a child, whether or not a feeding is a true feeding, the pediatrician’s recommendations, and the parents’ preferences will contribute to whether or not night feedings are removed. From my experience, most children drop feedings naturally between six and nine months when they can fall asleep and transition between sleep cycles independently.
Third, building a strong sleep foundation is more than just choosing a sleep training method. It involves “CATRing” to your child’s age. Meaning age appropriate CONSOLIDATION of sleep for an age appropriate AMOUNT of time at the age appropriate TIME of day. All occurring REGULARLY.
When you understand sleep, you can better understand your children and how to build a safe and strong sleep foundation with realistic expectations based on your child’s age. The type of sleep that a newborn requires is different from that of an infant which is different from that of a toddler.
Fourth, you have options and you are not going to damage your child. “Cry it out” is not the only option when it comes to sleep training. But it is also not something that will damage your child if you choose it.
Each child is different. Each family is different. Therefore, the sleep plan that your family creates to form healthy and safe sleep habits might look different than your neighbor’s or your sister’s. And that is OK!
How you respond while improving sleep should depend on your preference as a parent, your child’s age, and your child’s temperament. These factors will determine how and when you respond to your newborn or which method you choose to help your infant or toddler sleep better.
Fifth, your child is human. For humans, change takes time and can be challenging. And for an overtired child who doesn’t yet understand or want the changes, protesting may occur. Hence, it is important that you, as a parent, trust in the process, believe in your child’s abilities, and keep a positive mindset while also setting realistic expectations.
Regardless of your parenting philosophy and preferences, reaching a goal of a well-rested child and family requires patience, flexibility and consistency. Your child needs the space and time to adjust to any changes that will be happening.
When working together, regardless of your parenting philosophy, you will need to agree to use safe sleep practices outlined by the AAP. Thus, every sleep plan consists of guiding the child to sleep in his/her own bed. Working together does not mean that you must use Cry It Out unless this is the method you choose, does not mean your child cannot room share, and it does not mean getting rid of all night feedings unless your child naturally drops them or you make the decision to wean.
So, are we a match? Find out more about what working with me looks like by downloading my document “What does working with a sleep consultant entail?”
What does it mean to be a Certified Child Sleep Consultant?
Establishing Healthy Sleep Habits from Birth Through Early Childhood
Biological Sleep Milestones: Stages and Transitions
Common Sleeping Challenges and Solutions: Behavioral, Delayed Onset of Sleep, Crying, Fragmented Sleep, Parasomnias.
Working with Families of Children With Special Needs
Medical Conditions which Effect Sleep
The Incidence, Pathophysiology and Treatment of GERD During Infancy
Parent Coaching 101
Case Study Reviews
Intake Assessments, Evaluation, Creating Sleep Plans, Coaching Process and Support
Final Project with Three Different Families
What does it mean to be a Certified Postpartum Doula?
I participated in a 12-hour workshop and was required to meet specific requirement within a six-month time span to complete the ProDoula Postpartum Doula Certification, which consisted of the following...