Sleep Sisters Melissa and Debbie

What is the best age to start sleep training?

At around 4 months, most babies can begin to organize their sleep into regular and longer daytime naps and consolidated nighttime sleep. But parents can begin to establish good sleep habits even before birth. We have tons of suggestions to help parents of newborns start their babies down the right path. That’s a lot easier than correcting problems later on.

How much sleep does my baby need?

Babies need lots of sleep. So do new parents! Take a look at our sleep guidelines by age.

Won’t my baby just sleep when he gets tired enough?

No! Actually, the more tired your baby gets, the harder it will be for him to fall asleep. Our bodies produce cortisol when we are tired and cortisol actually makes it harder for us to sleep. This cortisol creates what we often see in our kids as a “second wind.” We need to help our kids get to sleep before they become overtired. The more well-rested your baby is, the easier it will be for him to fall asleep.

How quickly can you help get my baby on a sleep schedule?

When parents follow our advice closely and stick to our schedules, most babies adjust to their new schedule within a week or two.

What is Sleep Sisters’ preferred method for sleep training?

No matter what your view is on where your baby sleeps or if you want him to cry or not, we can all agree that babies need to form good sleep habits in order to be at their best.  We find Dr. Marc Weissbluth’s books and talks to be the most helpful but are also familiar with a broad range of other approaches, including Dr. Ferber’s, Dr. Sears’s, and Kim West’s methods.  We use all of these techniques when we feel they are appropriate to tailor a program for your family.

Isn’t letting a baby cry harmful?  I’ve read that it does permanent brain damage.  Plus, it just seems cruel.

As moms ourselves, we know how truly painful it is to hear your baby cry. Our goal is for you to have a baby who is so well-rested that she won’t cry at all when it’s time for sleep. (It IS possible!) That said, during the process of teaching your child how to get himself to sleep, he may cry. There is no valid research that indicates that crying damages a child emotionally or physically. All “research” that states otherwise is the result of work done with babies who have been neglected in underdeveloped countries. There are a lot of strong opinions about this topic and moms who feel passionately about not letting children cry are very vocal on the Internet. We base our opinions and practices on valid scientific research and the advice of board certified pediatricians.

Will you come and spend the night?

Although we love a good slumber party, paying us to spend one night with your family is frankly a waste of your money and our time!  Sleep training takes time (about a week to two weeks) and most often, a baby who is waking a lot at night or is an early riser needs more sleep during the DAY.  We’d rather set up a personalized sleep schedule for your baby based on your family’s needs and spend two weeks coaching you through that process. No need for you to see us in our PJ’s when you work with us!

Can’t I just read a sleep training book and do this on my own?

You can. There are many good books out there for you to read. (And many bad ones as well.)  As we found out for ourselves, these books are often very general and even the books with the best information are poorly written and hard to sort through, especially when you haven’t slept in a while. We can offer you the information you need along with the support and guidance as you work through the plan that we create specifically for you and your child.

I don’t live near either of you…can I still work with Sleep Sisters?

Yes.  These days, modern technology can bring us all closer together.  We do a majority of our work via webchat, email, and phone.

My child has special needs. Can you help us?

We would be happy to discuss your child’s needs and will be honest with you about our ability to help.  One of Debbie’s area of expertise is Autism Spectrum Disorders, specifically Aspgerger’s syndrome and she has helped many families who have children on the spectrum.

I’m co-sleeping with my baby and I don’t want to give that up.  Is it possible to get my baby on a sleep schedule?

Yes.  This is a choice your family has made and we’re happy to support you in that choice.  Please note that babies who are co-sleeping take much longer to get on a well-established schedule.

My baby is strong willed and just doesn’t want to sleep. Is there really anything I can do?

It’s amazing that even newborns can show such strong personalities. As your baby matures and wants to spend more time engaging with her environment you may be up against a fight to get your baby to sleep. But you are the parent and need to protect your child and ensure she’s getting what she needs to be healthy and happy. You may need to muster up all your inner strength and conviction but you will be able to teach your baby to get to sleep and stay asleep. We can help support and encourage you if your strong-willed baby is putting up a fight.

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