After years of supporting families in Southern California, my husband and I made the move to Detroit where I am now setting up shop to provide in-home sleep training support. Upon my arrival I was curious to see if Michigan was any different then California in the way the culture and society deals with the postpartum period. Unfortunately, it seems to be quite similar and it’s clear that many families are struggling.
The months after a baby is born can be an intense period of adjustment full of physical & hormonal changes for the mother, relationship changes for the couple, and severe sleep deprivation. As a postpartum doula and sleep coach, I constantly see families battling this chronic sleep deprivation that often plagues new parents. I see babies with bags under their eyes and parents barely able to cope.
To put it bluntly, I hate that this has become the societal norm and I want so badly to fix it.
Postpartum doulas, midwives, doctors, psychologists, and family advocates across the country are doing their fair share to adjust societal expectations surrounding the fourth trimester. People are advocating for better practices and more comprehensive maternity and paternity leave. But change takes time. And until we, as a society, make things easier on new families, it falls to postpartum and parenting professionals to provide as much care as possible so that new parents don’t drown. Supporting families in getting more sleep is my contribution to the cause.
Historically, postpartum women are given months of recovery, while surrounded by the support of their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and friends. This collective of loved ones did the “heavy lifting” to keep the household running - the laundry, cooking, shopping, and cleaning. But as we evolved, we moved out of villages and away from our families. And in doing so we inadvertently isolated ourselves and made things harder. Along with the isolation, we have social media, celebrities getting their pre-baby bodies back in less than a week, high powered corporations with extreme work standards, and other factors that contribute to an increasing pressure to “do it all” and perfectly! Combine all of this with normal newborn sleep where babies sleep in short intervals and often need soothing to sleep - it’s a perfect storm for any new parent to get severely limited sleep.
Normal newborn sleep tends to shift around 4 months. But even with babies naturally sleeping longer stretches, some babies require more and more soothing, care, and attention to sleep peacefully through the night. Associations are formed and babies learn that they need x, y, and z to fall asleep. For your baby that may be a pacifier or a boob. Maybe your baby needs to be held or rocked to sleep. Maybe your baby needs to sleep next to you. Whatever the association, it can create challenges for the uninterrupted sleep that both babies and parents need to thrive.
Yes, babies are biologically conditioned to wake throughout the night. And yes, this has been known to prevent SIDS. However, if your baby is waking every hour and refuses to go back to sleep without one of those associations, this is not healthy - for either of you!
This is where sleep training comes in to play. When the associations stop working or when they become so strong that baby refuses to sleep without them, sleep training is a viable option. Sleep training often gets a bad rap, but essentially sleep training is the process of teaching your baby to sleep independently. This is what I do and let me tell you, I’m good at it!
As a former nanny, a postpartum doula, and a sleep coach, I see first hand the impact healthy sleep rhythms has on a struggling family. I see lives changed over the course of a few days. I know that may sound dramatic, but it’s true! And what I offer is unique to the Detroit area and to Michigan as a whole. It’s a fully customized, live-in sleep coaching program where I move into your home for 3 days and 3 nights and help you sleep train your baby. I create a personalized sleep plan based on your baby’s habits, your babies development and your lifestyle and then I come to your home and support you with that plan in real-time. We’re talking 24/7 support here! And after those 3 days and 3 nights, I continue to support you for 4 full weeks to help you and your baby stay on track.
It’s powerful stuff watching a families life be transformed. And I’m honored to be a part of it. I hope to have the chance to meet you soon and help you and your family get some peaceful sleep!