How I Avoided Needing a Sleep Consultant (and Then Became One)
Updated: Mar 6, 2018
Well this seems like a counterintuitive way to start blogging for my brand new Happy Littles Sleep Consulting business, doesn’t it? Maybe! But in order to properly introduce myself, my interest in the science of sleep, and how I arrived at this career, it’s the necessary way to start. So, I’m going to divulge to you how my husband and I avoided using a sleep consultant. If you’re pregnant or have a newborn you are going to want to read on… Trust me!
photo by: adriennejeanne.com
My husband and I tried to start a family for over a year before seeking fertility assistance. We underwent one round of Clomid – one round only. Our fertility doctor told us that there was a less than 10% chance of having twins with 4 rounds. So, you can imagine our surprise when, on the first try, we discovered we were pregn
ant with twins! Our minds spiraled down the “what if” path right from the start. What if we can’t afford two babies? What if we don’t know how to take care of two babies at the same time? And what if we NEVER sleep again?
Sleep was my main concern. I started reading every book and article about sleep that I could get my hands on. I quickly learned that the first few months we would suffer from sleep deprivation no matter if we were having one baby or 10 babies. When we finally brought our baby boys home, we woke up for many night feedings and waited for biological maturation and sleep rhythms to set in. We nursed, ro
cked, swung, walked, and cuddled them to sleep. Once our baby boys started showing signs that they were capable of making meaningful connections we started to impart healthy sleep habits. We began experimenting with bed and naptime routines, placing them in their crib awake but sleepy, and weaning off some of the means we had been utilizing to soothe them to sleep (specifically for us walking, rocking, and feeding). Once they reached 4 months of age they were sleeping through the night and began taking dependable and restorative naps.
We never had to dedicate a specific period of time to sleep training them because we started off on the right foot. It hasn’t always been easy and each developmental stage has brought about its own sleep challenges. But with our knowledge of the general principles of healthy child sleep, we’ve always been able to get them back on track. As I write this, my boys are three and a half, sleep in toddler beds and still nap for 2 hours every day (well, most days).
Meanwhile my maternity leave had come to an end and I returned to my prior job as a Physical Therapist at a major Boston teaching hospital. Before twins I had earned my Masters Degree and later on my Doctorate and I really loved my job. I most enjoyed working in the intensive care units and with medically complicated patients, assisting them to breathe and move again on their own. I was most fulfilled by helping patients achieve functional goals that they didn’t think they were capable of since experiencing their injury. Once maternity leave sadly ended and I returned to work, the long commute and long days away from home led our family to make some changes. Ultimately, I began working on the weekends to help contribute to our income and save on child care costs.
This schedule was not sustainable and it was so hard to be away from my family on the weekends when we should be having family time! I met a Certified Child Sleep Consultant at a mother of twins meeting and she blew my mind! I had no idea this was a possible career and began researching right away. It was not ideal, but back to school I went and am looking forward to graduating in January of 2018. The education piece has been key, as I had no idea how much more there was for me to learn about child sleep. This career avenue has really given me the opportunity to continue to help people achieve their goals, now related to getting their littles to sleep, while maintaining my own work life balance.
In the upcoming months I’ll be posting blog pieces dedicated to divulging sleep strategies for those of you with infants on up to toddlerhood. Have a specific struggle you’d like me to write about? Send me a message through my FB page Happy Littles Sleep Consulting (https://www.facebook.com/HappyLittlesSleep/) or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.