October 22, 2018
The Daughter Diaries interviewed Rachel with Fast Asleep Consulting to learn more about baby sleep myths, best products, and the services she offers to help sleepless parents restore rest and peace to their household.
When I had my first son, I felt so lucky because he was a great sleeper from day one. He was sleeping for four to five-hour stretches and seemed like such an easy baby. Aaaand then everything changed. He suddenly wouldn't sleep for more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time. He was no longer the calm, smiley baby we'd known him to be. Just from looking at his eyes, I could tell that he was exhausted.
I read a book about pediatric sleep and then kept reading every book I could find on the topic. I discovered there was a lot of information about infant sleep that I hadn't learned in my prenatal course or general parenting books I’d read. Although I didn’t get my son’s sleep fully on track (especially naps) until I’d become a sleep consultant, I was able to make huge improvements with him. It was LIFE CHANGING. I didn’t realize how bad things were until they got better. My little guy was so much happier! I felt like myself again. And let’s just say my husband and I get along much better when we’re both getting some sleep.
Once I realized how much more I was able to enjoy being a parent having this knowledge, I just wanted to share it with everyone! A lot of my marketing materials say “It doesn’t have to be so hard” because I really believe that. I want every parent I work with to have all of the knowledge and skills they need to tackle any sleep issues they may face. Everyone deserves to have a happy, well-rested family.
One misconception I’ve come across time and time again is this: Limiting the amount of time your baby sleeps during the day will improve the length and quality of their sleep at night.
I understand why people believe this. As adults, we feel like the more tired we are going to bed, the better we’re going to sleep. So why wouldn’t this be accurate for a baby?
The truth is that infants become overtired after being awake for just one to two hours! If a new baby is consistently staying awake for longer stretches, they’re going to become overtired. And (even though it sounds counterintuitive) the more overtired a baby is, the harder it is for them to sleep.
A really common question I get from potential clients is, “Will I have to let my baby cry it out?” My answer is always that no one has to use CIO as their sleep training method if they don’t want to. There are a number of effective, gentle methods which allow a parent to be with their child while teaching them to sleep well.
That being said, there are situations where CIO may be the right method for a family if it’s what they want to do. CIO does not mean that you are putting your baby in a room, shutting the door, and neglecting them. I’ve worked with some incredibly loving, engaged, nurturing parents who’ve used this method and now have babies who are happy, healthy, and well-rested.
There are also many situations where CIO is not appropriate and, in those cases, I always recommend a more gradual method. The bottom line is that I would never want a family to use a sleep training method that they are not 100% comfortable with. Parents should never feel pressured to use (or not use) CIO.
4.) Are there any "miracle" baby sleep products that actually work?
If there was a “miracle” baby sleep product that worked, I would be recommending it to all of my clients! If I think about the products I do recommend, the closest thing to a “miracle” that I can think of would be blackout shades or curtains.
Once a baby reaches six to eight weeks of age, they begin responding to light and dark cues in the same ways that we do. This means that the darker their sleep environment is, the easier it will be for them to sleep. A dark room can help a little one to take longer, more restorative naps. Particularly with these long summer days, blackout shades or curtains also let children fall asleep more easily at bedtime and sleep later in the morning. When you’re talking about the difference between 5 am and 6 am, that can certainly feel like a miracle!
5.) Tell us about the services you offer and how sleep-deprived parents can benefit:
I offer a number of different service levels ranging from free 15-minute consultations to two-week sleep plan packages. I also have specialized packages for newborns, multiples, and siblings.
The heart of my business is really my sleep plan package. It involves clients completing a detailed intake form followed by a one-hour consultation where we go through every element of their little one’s sleep. It’s critical that I have all of that information so that their sleep plan is fully customized and takes into account every piece of their “sleep puzzle”. Together we come up with a method that they are comfortable with and excited to implement. I provide them with a sleep plan and then support them through the process of sleep training their little one.
I don’t offer a package which contains a sleep plan but no support because the support is really the key to success. It’s easy (especially at 3 am) for parents to start wondering if they’re on the right track. Is it working? Is their son or daughter responding normally? Are they doing the right thing? I'm there throughout the process to let parents know that they are on the right track. It also means I can make changes to their approach if things do need to be tweaked, which is critical.
The reason for all of this is that an overtired baby, toddler, or child is not able to function to the best of their abilities. Rested children are calmer, more adaptable, have more energy, cry or tantrum less frequently, and (most importantly) are healthier! Plus an overtired child affects the whole family. I’ve worked with so many clients who are experiencing sleep deprivation, marital stress, and feelings of hopelessness because they’ve tried everything to get their little one sleeping well and nothing has worked.
Bedtime struggles, rejected naps, frequent wakings throughout the night, very early mornings, night terrors...these issues are so common and can wreak havoc on a family. After getting sleep on track, everything seems easier. One of the best compliments I’ve ever received from a client is that I gave her back peace in her home. That really touched my heart. And I hope for every family to feel that they have peace in their home as well.
Interested in Rachel’s sleep coaching services? Book your consultation here: http://fastasleep.ca/ and mention The Daughter Diaries for a discount!