Transcript episode #33:GETTING SOME ZZZ'S FOR YOU AND YOUR BABY WITH SLEEP CONSULTANT EVA KLEIN
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00:00 Today's guest is a lawyer turned infant sleep consultant. This is an episode that you're going to want to bookmark for sure.
00:13 Welcome to the All About Pregnancy and Birth podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified Ob Gyn physician, certified integrative health coach and creator of The Birth Preparation Course, an online childbirth education class that will leave you feeling knowledgeable, prepared, confident, and empowered going into your birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and it's not a substitute for medical advice. See the full disclaimer at www.ncrcoaching.com/disclaimer.
00:47 Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to episode number 33 of the podcast, so glad you're here with me today. My guest today is Eva Klein. Eva hails from north of the border in Canada. She is a proud wife and mother of two girls and a boy, all of whom are good sleepers now and she lives with her family in Toronto. Eva provides individual sleep consultations either in person or over the phone and she facilitates group seminars and also runs an online sleep program and community called the Sleep Bible. Eva is also a recovering lawyer and she tells us more about that in the interview. Her main goal is to assist her clients with establishing healthy sleep habits for their children. After she herself experienced the debilitating effects of chronic sleep deprivation from her middle child, Eva was inspired to help families overcome. They are sleep challenges and she became a certified sleep consultant.
01:56 This is an episode that you're definitely going to come back to. Eva gives some great tips on things you can do from day one to set the foundation for your baby being a great sleeper so you can avoid those sleep problems down the road. When your baby doesn't sleep well, it can affect the entire household. It can affect your relationships. It came worsen postpartum depression or anxiety, so it's important to get off to a good start. Eva is very realistic in her approach. It's not like she's promising that your baby's gonna be sleeping 12 hours from the first night or anything like that, but she does talk about what to expect, how to survive at this stage, how you can really maximize sleep and set your baby up for success. From the very beginning. She talks about things like over tiredness, the five S's related to sleep and so, so much more. So you're really going to learn a lot from this episode.
02:56 Now, before we get into the episode, I want to you about my free live online class on how to make your birth plan the right way. I did the class last month and got great feedback from it. Darcy said, "loved it, so informational. Thanks so much for your wisdom". Leah said, "I really liked it. It was very informative". Adriana, "this was great. I feel more prepared" and Jen said, "loved it, wish you could be my ob". Well I wish I could be your ob too Jen, thank you for all of you ladies for those lovely comments about the class. Now I'm doing this class live again on Tuesday, August 20th so go to www.ncrcoaching.com/register to grab your spot. There are limited seats in the class that you definitely want to register early. Also, if you can't happen to make it on August 20th register anyway, and I'll send you the replay video. So that's www.ncrcoaching.com/register. All right. Without further ado, let's get into the episode with Eva Klein, infant sleep consultant.
04:08 Nicoel: Hi Eva. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. I'm super excited to have you here.
04:13 Eva: Yes, thank you so much, Nicole. I'm glad to be here.
04:16 Nicole: So why don't we start off by having you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work and your family.
04:23 Eva: So I am married, been married for 10 years now. We just celebrated our 10th year anniversary and I've got three kids. They are almost eight and five and a half and eight months to be exact. And I got into this business because of my middle child. So my oldest daughter was one of those babies that just made me look good from day one. You know those babies that just make it look like they're always happy and they sleep and they eat and they don't give you any kind of trouble.
04:55 Nicoel: Oh, this is easy. I got this.
04:58 Eva: And then my husband would say, it's all us, right? We got this. We're just these natural, amazing parents. And then two years later, my second daughter was born and that's when we both went, oh boy. This is what everyone's talking about when they're talking about those babies that don't stop crying and don't sleep and are difficult. And then that turned into a two year old that's throwing temper tantrums all the time and whatnot. That kind of in essence threw me into this business because I'm actually a lawyer by training. And yes, it was quite the shift that I made from law to helping families sleep. So I was on maternity leave from my job where I was, you know, working in the public sector as a lawyer when I gave birth to my younger daughter and when she was just making me crazy in the sleep department. I had no choice but to open up all the sleep books and figure out what to do with that. I can get some normal back in my life. And then when I did manage to consolidate her night and eliminate all these night wakings, it was kind of when I thought to myself, hey, you know, wouldn't this be great if I could use up the rest of my maternity leave? I mean here in Canada we've got 12 months, so I was about four or five months in.
06:16 Nicoel: Oh my God. Everybody in the US just kinda like did a collective, like "12 months!".
06:21 Eva: Oh my gosh, I know. You know what? I shouldn't have even said that because I don't want to rub it in because as a Canadian, I used to think that this six weeks of maternity leave in the US was like, you know, an old wives tale. No, it couldn't actually be physically possible until my sister in law who gave birth to her oldest child a day after me, but they're American. They'd been living in the states when she was thrilled because she's a teacher that she gave birth in the summertime and got a whopping three months and I'm going, Julie, that's something that you're celebrating having 3 months off. Whereas we have 12 months here and now actually they extended it. You can actually take up to 18 months. Oh my God. And still have your job waiting for you when you get back. Anyways, I really feel it doesn't seem physically possible to return back to a nine to five less job, six months postpartum.
07:16 Eva: But that being said here in Canada, you know where I'm extremely grateful that we have this maternity leave policy for employees, I thought to myself, gosh, you know, I've got all this time, why don't I get my sleep consulting certification so that I can launch a side business? I mean I'm not gonna quit law or anything cause that's just crazy. You know, who does that? But it'll just be something I do on the side, some fun money, right. In a great way for me to help families doing something I'm so passionate about. And long story short, it grew much more quickly than I ever expected to the point where I kind of had to choose which route I wanted to take and what do I enjoy more? What am I more passionate about? Where do I see more growth? And I took the plunge and went the route of my business. So here I am today.
08:04 Nicoel: Awesome. That is awesome. You followed your passion and here you are today. It's amazing how life throws you those curve balls and things change. Yeah, for sure. So what do you do as a sleep consultant?
08:15 Eva: So I work with families, exhausted families of babies and young children who are ready and willing to make changes so that sleep can become a priority and so that everyone can get the sleep that they need. So I work with families one on one as well as in my online sleep program called the Sleep Bible, which is a step by step program that takes you through everything that you need to know to get your little one sleeping so you can start sleeping.
08:44 Nicole: Okay, awesome. Now what kind of training did you go through in order to become a certified sleep consultant?
08:51 Eva: Yes. So it's an online program and an online certification program that I was able to do from the comfort of my own home while my newly sleep trained baby was napping. So all in it required a certain number of volunteer hours so that I could of course apply everything in my training to real life scenarios. And so within about a year of beginning the program, I received my certification and was able to start practicing.
09:17 Nicole: Okay. And you've been doing this now for five years? Yeah, five years. Okay. So what is it like when parents work with a sleep consultant? What is it that they can expect? Actually maybe first, how about, we ask the question, what point do you recommend parents consider a sleep consultant? Because there's gonna be some like natural challenges and trying to figure things out and you know, not necessarily everyone will need a sleep consultant, but there probably comes a time when you say, hey, you need to think about some help. So at what point would you recommend the parents consider a sleep consultant?
09:49 Eva: It's a good question. I mean, I think there's two answers to that. I mean, I believe that when you're ready to make changes, so when you've got a situation that you are not happy with, it's not working for you. Nobody is sleeping. And then it's affecting your quality of life, then that's when you want to reach out to a third party, a professional so that you can get this all resolved. But I will tell you that the other answer to that question is from day one. When I say day one, I don't mean we're sleep training newborn babies. What I mean is that there are really big steps that you can take to get your newborn baby off on the right track from the very beginning so that you're not necessarily getting a 12 hour nights sleep with your newborn baby. Likely not even close, but you're able to make that newborn stage more manageable and so that you can get your baby off on the right foot so that you can hopefully avoid some big sleep problems down the road.
10:51 Nicole: Awesome. And we will get into some recommendations that you have, cause I know the listeners are like what? What did you say? How can I do that?
10:59 Eva: You mean a baby can sleep? I never knew that the two went hand in hand. I will tell you. So my eight month old, my youngest, the one I just mentioned, he was giving me eight hour stretches of sleep by the time he was five to six weeks of age and he was breastfed then. Now granted he also wasn't an exceptionally difficult baby, but I say that he's one of these unicorn babies either. I would say he's a pretty typical average baby. So if there's anything you know that I want to kind of show everybody from this anecdote is that there is what that you can do to maximize your newborn's sleep and make it more manageable.
11:39 Nicole: Okay. That is awesome. Well, let's just then really quickly before we get into some more specific recommendations, what is it like when someone works with a sleep consultant? Like what can parents expect? I hope they don't expect, well I can imagine that you don't like just come in and wave a magic wand? I'm guessing it takes some work and some time.
11:59 Eva: Yes, absolutely. So in order for a baby or a child at any age to sleep optimally, it's a matter of ensuring that we've got all the pieces of the puzzle properly in place. So when we're putting together a sleep plan for a baby or a child, because again, my practice is geared towards kids up to age five. We're looking at everything. So we're looking at the child's sleep environment, we're looking at daytime nutrition, we're looking at the baby's or the child's schedule. When's the baby waking? When's the baby napping? How long is the baby napping for? When's baby going to sleep for the night? What kind of wind down routines does the baby have? Is the baby or child comfortable being in the crib? What's the relationship like between, you know, the child and their sleep space? From an emotional wellbeing standpoint, how is the entire family unit doing?
12:50 Eva: And so it's a matter of addressing each of those pieces of the puzzle simultaneously so that we've got all the various factors that are likely impacting the baby's quality and quantity of sleep. And then of course, the last piece of the puzzle when we're dealing with babies over the age of four months is how is the baby falling asleep and how is the baby falling back to sleep? In other words, does this baby know how to fall asleep independently or does this baby need assistance? Because usually when you have a baby over the age of four months who needs assistance of any kind falling asleep, that's when you can be faced with oftentimes tons of unnecessary night wakings. Not because this baby is necessarily hungry or needs to be eating or is hot or is cold or is lonely or something scared him or her, but simply because he or she needs that same type of assistance to fall back to sleep. That's where I come in. You help them formulate a plan and put everything together and in my online Sleep Bible program, I take the parents through step by step in each of my training modules how to address each of those pieces of the puzzle.
14:04 Nicoel: So a really comprehensive and holistic view of everything that contributes to this baby getting regular sleep.
14:14 Eva: Absolutely, because it is, it is a multifaceted thing. It's not just a matter of just do this or just do that and then your baby will magically start sleeping. That's usually not what the solution is.
14:27 Nicole: So how long on average are you working with a family? Is it a few weeks or...
14:32 Eva: Yes. So my one on one support packages include three weeks of followup support because I find that that is more than enough time to get a sleep problem of any magnitude resolved as long as everyone's consistent and following through.
14:47 Nicole: That's encouraging to hear. Because three weeks is actually not that long.
14:51 Eva: No. And when I say three weeks, I mean I even referring to the two year olds, the three-year-olds, the four year olds who are, you know, they're older, they are extremely strong willed. They've masteedr of the art of the temper Tantrum and parents are afraid to make changes with them because they think that they'll be dealing with 3:00 AM temper tantrums for months on end. But the research does show in fact that when we're modifying any kind of behavior with regards to children as well as to adults, that it really takes about two to three consistent weeks before that behavior is officially modified. With babies it takes less, it definitely takes less time. And then with my online program to get the initial problem resolved, it's usually around the same amount of time, but then very often people, it's a membership program, so people often stick around for longer because they want that follow up support for when this regression happens or when their schedule changes or when they go on vacation and sleep gets a little bit wonky and they need support getting their little one back on track. This is in essence, their insurance policy.
15:57 Nicole: Okay, got it. So it doesn't take as long as you might think in order to help get your baby in a good sleep pattern. That's awesome.
16:04 Eva: Definitely not as long as you are ready and willing to make these changes, it's not usually nearly as long as anyone would imagine.
16:12 Nicole: Awesome. So let's talk about some specifics for newborn babies. Obviously a lot of my audience is pregnant moms, so they're going to be thinking about having that newborn baby at home. What can women expect for their babies as far as sleep and the newborn stage?
16:26 Eva: Yes. So when you're just coming home from the hospital and you have a brand new baby, it's very common for newborn babies to experience what's known as day night confusion where they literally don't necessarily know when it's daytime and when it's nighttime because they've been in the womb for likely nine months. So what we need to be doing during that stage, during that period of time is help that baby's biological clock develop. You see newborn babies don't have a biological clock the way that you and I do, that's ultimately governed by the rising and setting of the sun as well as exposure to artificial light. And so what parents definitely want to be doing during that stage is be extra cognizant of the light that your baby is exposed to during the day. So expose your newborn baby to lots and lots of light during the daytime.
17:20 Eva: And then when it is bedtime, and when I say bedtime, I mean for that, let's say 10 to 11 hour nighttime period. Make sure that your baby's environment is as dark as possible. So when baby wakes up and you have to feed the baby, try to avoid, you know, flicking all the lights on and instead try, you know, using a minimal amount of light. Granted, if you're struggling with breastfeeding and you need the lights to be on, okay fine, you can turn on the lights, you know, this sky's not gonna fall, but you want to try and minimize your baby's exposure to as much light as possible because that is what governs your baby's biological clock. And that's what tells us when it's time to wake and when it's time to go to sleep. So that's the first thing that I would tell parents to do.
18:05 Eva: The second thing that I think is so huge, and I think that this is often a game changing piece of information and that is to make sure that your newborn baby does not get over tired over tiredness. Over tiredness is basically caused by anyone of any age for that matter, who is up for periods of time that are too long. For example, my eight month old can not be up for longer than a three hour period of time before he needs to go back to sleep for a nap or before bed. He might be able to be up for three hours and 15 minutes because if he or literally any human for that matter is up for a period of time that's too long, what ends up happening just from a sheer sleep science standpoint is that your body begins to produce a hormone called Cortisol, which is a stress hormone, and when we have cortisol in our system, it makes it much, much harder for us to fall asleep and stay asleep.
19:11 Eva: And the exact same thing applies to children. The exact same thing applies to babies and even applies to newborns. And so the difference of course between my eight month old and a typical newborn is that a typical newborn usually cannot even be awake for longer than 45 to maybe 60 minutes at any point. Yes, at any point during the day before they need to go back to sleep. So I'll tell you a very common pattern that I see with newborns where people are not necessarily aware of this. Because listen, babies don't come with a manual. No one's likely going to tell you this to make sure your baby's napping every hour. And so what might often happen is that the baby is up for let's say slightly too long throughout the day, or what can also happen is that maybe baby wakes up from a nap at six o'clock and then baby gets tired by seven but you start to think, oh, it's seven o'clock I don't want baby napping at seven cause that's already close to bedtime and it's getting too late.
20:13 Eva: Let's just keep the baby up. And so then what happens is what's called mayhem, what's called disaster zone. And you know what that's also known as it's known as colic. And don't get me wrong, there is real true colic. Real true colic does exist, which is uncontrollable crying that you know, it happens in a small minority of cases where there's nothing you can do to soothe your baby. I will tell you though, that a lot of the times colic is not actually colic. Colic is actually over tiredness where you have a baby who is up for too long throughout the day or maybe seven o'clock comes and they need to take a nap, but you keep them up because you think, oh, it's too late for them to be napping and then they lose it. It's like they've had it, right? They've reached the end and they can't handle all this exhaustion.
21:06 Eva: And the only way that babies know how to express their emotions is in the form of crying. And so that's when you can also get all kinds of uncontrollable tears. But the difference of course is that when this uncontrollable crying is caused by over tiredness, you can prevent that and you can prevent it from just being extra aware and extra cognizant of how long your baby has been up for, especially in those late afternoon, early evening hours where it is normal for baby to get a little bit more fussy to begin with. So, just in essence go out of your way to make sure that your baby gets that even 30 minute snooze somewhere so that you can avoid all those unnecessary tears.
21:52 Nicole: Gotcha. And it's going to be, I guess, different for every baby. It's going to take a little bit of trial and error to figure out how long your newborn baby can go before they need another nap.
22:02 Eva: Absolutely. But I want to emphasize that you know, the 45 to 60 minute marker, so is about the average and that includes the length of the feed. So if baby is breastfeeding and it takes the baby 30 minutes to eat, which is pretty typical for, you know, a brand new baby who's learning how to eat, then that might mean that baby's awake time just involves a feed, a diaper change, maybe 30 seconds of looking out the window, and then she might want to go back to sleep. So yes, it is going to involve some trial and error, but I can't even tell you how big of an issue this is and how much this can improve. Also the quality of your baby's sleep that they're giving you at this stage, because not only can avoiding over tiredness help you avoid that witching hour, that very, very well known witching hour. Not all the time, but a lot of the time you can. It also means that it's going to be much easier to get your baby to sleep and get some longer stretches because as I said, when a baby is over tired and they've got cortisol in their system, it's going to make it harder for them to settle and stay settled, and we become restless when we've got that cortisol in our system. So it's a really crucial component to any sleep plan for a baby or a child at any age to make sure that they're on a schedule that's age appropriate. It's just because newborn babies have to be sleeping so frequently, it's easy to lose track of time and realize, oh my gosh, she's been up for three hours. Is that why she's screaming her brains off? And the answer is probably yes.
23:39 Nicole: You know, not that I think about it, both of my girls, you know, knock on wood, were pretty easy babies. They're like nine and eleven, but my older one, like in the afternoon, she would just meltdown like around two years of age and we just used to lay her down because we didn't know what else to do. And she would take a nap and wake up and feel better. So I can totally see how that getting over tired. Like maybe she was just going too long where she should have had a nap earlier.
24:07 Eva: Most likely because the vast majority of two year olds still need that, you know, post lunchtime nap around 1230 or one o'clock.
24:15 Nicoel: Right. Yeah, for sure. So it's fair to say that you can expect, or a mom can expect with a newborn, obviously not going to sleep all the way through the night. There's going to be some shorter periods of sleep and then waking up for a little bit and then going back to sleep. That's just kind of the nature of a newborn.
24:30 Eva: Yes, absolutely. So you know, the advice I'm giving everyone here is likely not going to get you a 12 hour stretch of sleep. In fact, I can almost guarantee you it won't. But what it means is it'll help you make this stage, this phase as a manageable and ultimately as enjoyable as possible.
24:49 Nicole: Got It. That makes a lot of sense cause you want it to be manageable and enjoyable for sure.
24:53 Eva: Absoutely. I mean it's a very special state even though the days and the nights can be long in the grand scheme of things, it's a short phase and so you want to be able to enjoy it as much as possible. And I do firmly believe that there is a strong connection between the amount of sleep that you get and your enjoyment during this newborn stage. So prioritizing that sleep I think is a really big step in the right direction.
25:18 Nicole: Got It. So as far as strategies, you said one strategy is exposing your baby to light during the day and dark at night and then number two, making sure that they don't get over tired. So keeping an eye on things so that they're not awake too long and can get a nap. And then what are the strategies? Do you have another strategy you can recommend?
25:39 Eva: I am a huge fan of Dr. Harvey Karp's five S's. So his five S's philosophy refers to ultimately recreating the womb for your newborn as much as possible. Because remember your newborn has been in the womb for nine months and what was happening in the womb is all they know. And so it's going to be inherently calming and soothing to them. And so when they're born and then they're in this big world that is so different from the womb, it can often feel uncomfortable and very foreign and you know, somewhat frightening to them. And so to help newborn babies in particular settle, our goal is to recreate that environment. So the five S's are number one swaddling. So swaddling newborns is fantastic. Now of course you want to make sure that you're swaddling safely, that it's tight, that not tight around the hips, that is just tight around the arms, that there's no loose setting or fabric anywhere near the face.
26:38 Eva: Swaddling is fantastic because it muffles what's called the startle reflex, which is basically when a newborn baby's arms in layman's terms kind of flail uncontrollably because remember they're used to being in this very tight, close knit environment, especially in that third trimester when they've gotten bigger and they're not used to having all this freedom to move their arms and legs around as they please. So swaddling really does in essence, recreate that womb like environment and create closeness and comfort for that baby. The second S is, well, he calls it shushing. So it involves, I will admit, I can't remember the exact order of every single S. I know that swaddling is the number one, white noise machine for newborn babies is amazing. That kind of in essence allows you to check off the shushing side of things because the womb was very loud and it's in essence what Dr. Harvey Karp says is in essence like sleeping next to a vacuum, a vacuum that's on all the time.
27:39 Eva: And so the fact that we don't have these loud vacuum like noises on all the time can be somewhat alarming to newborn babies. So a white noise machine is amazing. Babies often really like motion, so if you hold them over your shoulder and you kind of sway, you know, a little bit back and forth, it helps them really calm down as well because again, in the womb you're constantly moving around. You're not often so still, and so they're used to that rhythmic motion that's very calming and soothing to them. The other S where he talks about either side lying or a stomach position, not for sleep purposes, this is just referring to the way that you hold your baby to help them relax. So what I would do with my son to help him fall asleep at first is I would swaddle him up, I would turn on the white noise machine, I would then hold him on his side and I would sway him kind of back and forth like in a left to right motion. And then the fifth S is sucking. So I would offer him a pacifier. Pacifiers are also fantastic in addition to them decreasing the risk of SIDS. There is some research that shows that the use of pacifiers decreases the risk of SIDS. It's also very common for a baby because they have that intrinsic sucking reflex. When they're sucking on something, it does help them calm down as well. And so that's what I really encourage moms to do is to empoy this five S strategy so that what you can do next is be able to put your baby down in the bassinet, either awake or somewhat awake or even somewhat calmly so that your baby is always necessarily falling asleep on you.
29:18 Nicole: Okay, so let me go through the S's again. You said swaddling, shushing, side lying position. Okay.
29:25 Eva: Not for sleep, just for holding. The fourth S is the swaying, so some type of motion and then sucking. So you know, a pacifier, a breast. But my other piece of advice. This is again as a sleep professional, as well as a mom is that pacifiers are also really, really great because if you are nursing, nursing and breastfeeding is wonderful, but you don't want to find yourself as a human pacifier. It's a really, really stressful situation to be in, especially over time when the breast is the only thing that will calm your baby down. So it's a lot of pressure. I find that you know, to put on you as a mom for the pacifier is a really, really great alternative tool that you can use and other people can use so that you're not the only one that is totally responsible for soothing your baby.
30:17 Nicole: Gotcha. Now I know a lot of people are against pacifiers for a number of reasons, particularly like the nipple confusion issue I guess. So how do you suggest people introduce a pacifier if they want to do so?
30:31 Eva: Yeah, it's a good question. I mean, listen, I just want to emphasize that if there is anything that I'm advising someone to do that they are not comfortable with or is making their life more stressful, not less stressful, don't do it. This is not a bible that someone has to follow, you know, to the T. I mean everybody has to do what works for them and simply use this as general advice to try applying to their baby. And see kind of you know, how they're feeling about it. That being said, when it comes to nipple confusion, my understanding about the research on that is that the jury is actually out on that one, and again, I'm not a researcher myself, I'm not a clinician. I haven't done this research myself, but from what I have read, the concept of the nipple confusion is questioned by quite a number of other clinicians who have researched this because when you think about it, a breast and a plastic pacifier are two completely different things.
31:30 Eva: A breast and a bottle, there could be some nipple confusion there because there is milk coming from a bottle, but there's no milk that's ever coming from a pacifier. So as long as the pacifier isn't being used as a means of pushing off the feed, then of course that could be a problem. You're pushing off the feed and then you know, baby's not nursing as much as baby needs to be nursing, that can be a problem. But if you have already fed your baby and you know that the baby is full and then you offer the pacifier afterwards, my common sense dictates that we don't need to worry about nipple confusion there. And I do believe that there is absolutely research backing this up, that it's not this breastfeeding killer like we once thought it was.
32:14 Nicole: Okay. Interesting. And I honestly don't know. So I'm not familiar with the research either as well, but it has inspired me. I probably need to have a lactation person on and we can talk about it in more detail.
32:26 Eva: Yeah, absolutely. But I will tell you though, I do find that in the lactation world there is a difference of opinion on this particular topic. It's not black and white. Anecdotally, I can tell you that all three of my kids took pacifiers and it never impacted breastfeeding. So granted, that's my sample of three and I'm like, that's not so compelling.
32:51 Nicole: And I'm sure you have clients who have done it and haven't had problems.
32:55 Eva: Absolutely. Absolutely. So I think, you know, you kind of just have to do what's best for you. Especially if breastfeeding is going smoothly, more or less from the beginning, then you probably have less to worry about when it comes to nipple confusion.
33:08 Nicole: Gotcha. So this goes back to you offer a toolbox of options and it's a personalized choice about what you figure out works for you.
33:17 Eva: Absolutely. Absolutely.
33:20 Nicole: And maybe you've already talked about this, but what is the thing that you think is really important to help set your baby up from day one for success regarding sleep? Is that one of the things you've already given or is it something else?
33:32 Eva: I mean I would definitely say being aware of over tiredness is so huge. And for everyone listening here, there is actually, I have a free download that you can grab. It is a sleep chart that I put together summarizing the suggested wake periods and sleep totals for babies and children of all ages. So if you're ever wondering, you know, how long can my four month old be up for before he needs to go back to sleep, that chart is going to give you all of that information for you know, little ones ages zero to five. So being aware of this particular information and applying it to your baby I think is a game changer.
34:11 Nicole: And I will link to that everybody in the show notes so you can grab that free chart. I took a look at it and it is awesome.
34:17 Eva: Amazing. I'm so happy to hear that. And then I think the second thing is to try, and I want to emphasize the word try here. Try to place your newborn baby down in their bassinet, either awake or somewhat awake once a day. That's it. Just once a day. You see, the reason why I find that this is such a big step in the right direction that families can take is because when babies get a little bit older, when they reach that four to five months mark and their sleep patterns become more adult like, how a baby falls asleep initially is what sets the tone for the rest of the night. And so if a baby needs assistance falling asleep, there's nothing stopping that baby from waking up multiple times at night and needing that assistance to fall back to sleep. So I want to emphasize, we're obviously not doing any kind of sleep training here. If baby is crying, you're gonna pick the baby up. If it's not happening, pick the baby up soon, and then try again the next day. But I want to emphasize to keep trying because when you keep at it, eventually your baby is probably going to get it where that day is going to come where you place baby down, awake or somewhat awake. And baby might just kind of fuss a little bit and then nod off, turn their head to the side and close their eyes and go to sleep.
35:37 Nicole: Nice. Nice. Nice. Nice. All right, so what are, just to kind of wrap things up before I ask a few questions, I always ask at the end questions about people's work, but before we wrap up, are there any other misconceptions that you see parents have about infant sleep when you work with them?
35:53 Eva: I think that the biggest misconception, just generally speaking when it comes to raising babies and young children, is that exhaustion is par for the course. And I want to tell you all that is fortunately an outdated piece of advice and outdated insights because you're absolutely right in that generations ago, even the last generation, you know, even just a couple of decades ago, that was exactly the case. Nobody knew about sleep science and sleep habits and optimizing sleep the way that we do today. Personally, I know that, you know, my mom and my aunts cannot believe that I have an eight month old baby and that I'm well rested because in their day they're all in their sixties, that didn't exist. There was no such thing as a well rested parent of an infant 30 something years ago. It's just because they didn't have that knowledge and knowhow that we have today. I mean, gosh, you know, one would hope that in 30 years we would have, you know, we've improved in so many other areas of life, it, medicine and whatnot. One would hope that our knowledge about sleep is going to improve as well. And so today we do have the knowledge and know how to be able to empower ourselves to maximize our baby's sleep and maximize our toddlers and our preschoolers sleep so that we can be a well rested generation of parents. We don't, you do not have to be exhausted. You do not need to be exhausted on a regular basis when you are raising babies and young children. And I think that this is revolutionary. This is brand new, because up until last generation, that wasn't the case. Yeah, for sure.
37:42 Nicole: I agree with that wholeheartedly. And that's encouraging to hear that there's things that you can do. You don't have to accept being exhausted.
37:50 Eva: And it shouldn't be a rite of passage, nor should it be a medal of honor that people wear. Because I do find that there is still, you know, an underlying message of I'm exhausted. I'm a mom and you know, I'm proud of it almost. You know, I only slept three hours last night and I still do carpool and I still worked out and you're probably in adrenal fatigue, but we're not going to go there. That's not good for you. You know, it's not something to be proud of. It's not something to celebrate because sleep deprivation is very serious. It impacts every aspect of your life physically, emotionally. You know your relationships, the way that you parent your children, you've got less patients. When you're exhausted, it impacts absolutely everything. And so as a sleep lover myself, I've always needed more sleep than average.
38:47 Eva: I am beyond grateful for being a mother in this particular generation where we know what to do to get ourselves sleep. Because my mother, who has the exact same higher sleep needs as me, had major thyroid issues for years.
39:05 Nicoel: Oh Wow.
39:06 Eva: Because she was chronically sleep deprived, her thyroid was out of whack. She had a hyperactive thyroid for years after giving birth because we were even as young children, my sister and I were waking up at five o'clock in the morning for the day and she had no idea how to fix that. I said to her the other day and I said, do you know how to fix that? You're putting us to bed too late. Had you put us to bed earlier? We would have woken up later. And then she said to me, oh, well I needed you to tell me that 30 years ago. I would have put you bed, that because that's all I had to do. And just putting you to bed earlier in that situation and we probably would have approved the situation.
39:42 Nicole: Okay. Oh goodness. So let's talk a little bit about your work. I always ask guests on these particular set of questions. So what is the most rewarding part of your work?
39:53 Eva: Knowing when people tell me, Eva, I think you're saving my marriage. That is when I go, oh, thank you God, thank you for giving me this opportunity. Because yes, as I said, I have had clients, you know, in particular, tell me in secret that they're now gonna start trying for a second child because they were convinced, you know, this two and a half year old that had never slept in their life. How could they possibly go and have another baby? And then we get the two year old sleeping. They then decide they actually want to have more kids after all. I had a client who then, you know, came out and contacted me a few months ago telling me that because she was well rested, she then had the energy to start prioritizing her health and her exercise and she managed to lose 30 pounds over I think a six to eight month period of time because she then had the energy to go to the gym and to exercise and to make herself salad and, you know, make chicken and she wasn't stuck eating, you know, fast food, anything that she could get her hands on, which is often what we do when we're exhausted.
41:00 Eva: So what I love about what I do so much is just knowing how far reaching, getting these families a good nights sleep is. It's saving marriages, it's improving how it's giving parents the confidence to go and have the children that they wanted to go and have that second baby that they deep down inside really, really wanted. Also, you know, a very, very common situation is people will tell me that their postpartum depression or their postpartum anxiety has really lessened. Like the intensity has really lessened now that they're sleeping. Because I mean, let's be real, not sleeping well impacts everyone's mental health and when you have PPA or PPD to begin with, it's going to exacerbate the situation. So I can't tell you how often people have told me that getting a good night's sleep on a regular basis has really made their PPD or PPA more manageable for them.
41:56 Eva: So it's the fact that it's so far reaching the effects of getting a proper night's sleep. That absolutely makes me love what I do.
42:04 Nicole: For sure. Now, I almost feel bad asking this question, but what's the most frustrating part of your work?
42:10 Eva: Gosh, that's a really good question. You know, sometimes in a small minority of situations, the families don't follow through with the sleep guidance I provide them with for one reason or another and you know, listen, I am never one to judge, but I guess it just makes me sad knowing that even after trying to work with the family and figuring out a way to make it work for them, sometimes people might just say, you know what? This just isn't in the cards for us right now for one reason or another. And I guess that just makes me sad because gosh, I know what my life would look like if I wasn't sleeping well.
42:46 Eva: It would be awful. And I want nothing more than to help all the families that reach out to me for help to get that same benefit.
42:54 Nicoel: So I guess the bottom line is it takes some work.
42:57 Eva: Absolutely. This isn't a magic pill. I am only half the equation. I always tell people that I am only half the equation. My program is only half the equation. You know, I will, as the saying goes, you know, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. You know, I will guide you and give you everything that you need to know to fix your little one's sleep. I'm not saying it's going to necessarily be easy at first, oftentimes isn't, but it always has to get worse in order for it to get better.
43:25 Nicole: So what are you especially passionate about in your work? Do you have like a particular age group that you'd like to work with or what are you really passionate?
43:33 Eva: I really love all ages for so many reasons. And I'll tell you that I have specifically become extremely passionate about this newborn stage after having my third baby, because you see my eight month old, I had him after, I had already been working as a sleep consultant for a number of years. So he was kind of, in essence, my little Guinea pig, right? I was advising, you know, my clients and families to do, I was able, I had my own little, you know, practice baby. I mean, yes, he was also real and we wanted him. But the bonus was that everything that I've been advising people to do, I could apply to my own baby and really see the end result because I'll tell you, even with my older daughter who I always thought was my easy going, fantastic sleeper, he's for sure out sleeping her by this stage and in the newborn stage he was out sleeping her.
44:29 Eva: Not that it's a competition, but it's just that I knew what I was doing this time around with the first two, I had no clue what I was doing. And as a result I was able to enjoy the newborn stage more than I had with the first two where, you know, the first two, everything was just one big massive whirlwind. Like you have no idea what's going on. I had no idea what I was doing and was kind of just hoping for the best. And I suppose with my older one, it was bearable. With my younger one, it was awful. And with my third it was great. And so that's what got me particularly passionate about this newborn stage.
45:08 Nicole: Got It. Okay, so let's end with what's your favorite piece of advice that you'd like to give to expect that moms.
45:14 Eva: In addition to what we were just talking about that you don't have to be an exhausted parent throughout the years.
45:22 Nicoel: I feel like that's so crucial right there.
45:24 Eva: That's the main Hashtag, right? That's the way...
45:26 Nicole: I mean it totally is and you don't have to wear a badge of honor for it. Like you were saying, you don't have to do that. I got three hours of sleep, that's not good.
45:35 Eva: Not something to be proud of. No, it's not good. Nor do you have to feel guilty about prioritizing your asleep and prioritizing your baby's sleep. I think that there is this also underlying mom guilt telling us that if our baby wants to sleep next to us all night long and nurse all night long, then we have to do exactly what this baby is used to doing. And if you try and modify that and change that, then you're a terrible, awful mom and I think is the most awful dangerous, ridiculous and false rhetoric out there for so many reasons. Because number one, you need to sleep cause you're human. Number two, your baby needs to sleep because your baby is human. Number three, your baby directly benefits from having a happy, healthy, well rested, sane mother. And number four, your baby does not benefit, your baby, you know there are consequences on everyone around you as the mom when you are not functioning at nearly 100% capacity.
46:45 Eva: So I think that's what that whole rhetoric is missing. And then when people say, oh, enjoy those night wakings they're not going to last forever. I don't know about you, I vomit in my mouth when I hear that it makes me crazy. It makes me want to say to the person, Oh, do you miss those night wakings? When I was in that newborn, say here, take him, take him. I will give you the honor and privilege of enjoying those night wakings so I can go and get myself a proper night's sleep. Okay, thanks. It's absurd. And do you know what it also does is it downplays and invalidates your struggle when you're tired, when you're tired and you're exhausted. That is a real true, legitimate struggle. And I think someone, by telling a mother and to enjoy it, it puts it on her. It's like well, if you're tired and you're cranky, then it's your fault.
47:45 Eva: Meanwhile, that's not the case, it's human biology. Human physiology is our basic need for sleep is kicking in and preventing us from being the person that we can possibly be. And it totally just downplays how torturous sleep deprivation can actually be. And then the second part of that messaging I hate is that it won't last forever. That's not always true, which is why I have families with three year olds and four year olds and five year olds who reach out to me with sleep problems. So not that I'm trying to be fear mongering here because there are many babies who do outgrow sleep problems, but there are many that don't. And so I think another very big message I would tell families is don't wait for that magical day to arrive that your kid is going to magically outgrow these sleep problems because you don't know when that day is going to come.
48:37 Eva: I mean, people ask me, is my baby gonna outgrow, is my toddler gonna outgrow these issues? Of course he will when he's 18 he's not going to be waking you up for a bottle at night. I can pretty much guarantee that. But you want to wait until he's 18 no. Okay. So then how long do you want to wait? Do you want to wait until he's five do you want to wait till he's three do you want to wait? You know, how long are you willing to wait? And so I tell people, if you're not feeling so desperate right now, give yourself a deadline where if nothing has changed by this date, then we're going to take matters into our own hands and we're going to make some changes here because we don't want to be sleep deprived or any longer than we need to.
49:17 Nicole: Gotcha. I mean, it's like I say, during pregnancy, same thing. You cannot have a healthy baby without a healthy mom. You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your kids and getting good sleep or the whole family.
49:28 Eva: Absolutely. It's a nonnegotiable in my world.
49:31 Nicole: Yeah, for sure. This was a great way to end. What an outstanding conversation with tons of useful information. Where can people find you if they're interested in learning more?
49:41 Eva: People can check out my website, www.mysleepingbaby.com. They can follow me on Instagram. The handle is @mysleepingbaby and again, if you want to grab my email, that free download that I have, it's a really, really fantastic resource to have on your fridge so that you always know, okay, baby is this age. Approximately how much sleep does baby need. It's a fantastic go to resource. I'm always emailing my list with free content that I'm creating and articles that I find interesting, so it's a great way for us to be in touch like that.
50:16 Nicole: Awesome. I will be sure to include all of those links in the show notes and thank you so much again for being here. Some really super useful information. Wish I would have known some of this back in the day when my kids were babies.
50:28 Eva: Oh Gosh. Thank you so much Nicole for this opportunity. It's been a blast.
50:32 Nicole: All right, well you take care. I'll talk to you later.
50:34 Eva: Have a great day.
50:36 Nicole: Alright, bye. Bye. Now. What is it that a great episode? I know you learned a lot of information. I wish I knew a lot of that information when I had my girls when they were young. Now after every episode where I have a guest on, I do something called Nicole's notes where I do my top three or four takeaways from the episode. So here we go with Nicole's notes from this interview.
50:57 Number one. If it is not working, if your baby's not sleeping well, then ask for help. Eva said that it takes like three weeks to see results. That's not a long time, so you do not have to suffer with a baby who's not sleeping. If you're having trouble, get help. Number two, when she talks about what she does, she talked about how she looked at everything in the baby's life and environment, what the baby's eating, what is the room like, the schedule, the wind down. This was just a reminder that those are the same things that we need to do for ourselves. In order to get good sleep, we need to focus on things like a good room environment, having a sleep schedule winding. Now all of those things are important, so think about the context of what Eva talked about and apply it to yourself as well so that you get good sleep too.
51:57 Nicole: Number three, take the advice you receive. Try it and figure out what works for you. Not everything is going to work for you. Some things that work for you may not work for other people. Yeah, she talked about the pacifier, you know, maybe you have an objection to the pacifier for whatever reason. Maybe you don't want to try that approach. So just take the advice you get, not just related to your baby sleeping, but really raising your children in general. Take the advice you get, think about it, try it, figure out what works best for you. And then number four in this is super important. Do not feel guilty about prioritizing your needs. Okay. Your baby benefits from having a happy, healthy mother. It's the same thing I say about pregnancy. Don't feel guilty about saying, hey, I need to get this baby to sleep because I need sleep. That is okay. Your baby needs you to be well in order for you to be a good mother. So don't feel guilty about prioritizing yourself.
53:04 Nicole: All right, so that is it for this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast in Apple podcast, formerly known as iTunes. They've kind of switched everything over to Apple Podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts and if you feel so inclined I would really appreciate that review in Apple Podcast in particular. It helps other women find my show. I love receiving reviews. I really appreciate you guys taking the time to do them and I like giving shout outs on episodes so if you don't mind, leave that review for me and don't forget about my live online class on how to make your birth plan the right way. The next class is Tuesday, August 20th and even if you can't make it that day, register. Anyway, I'll send you the replay video. You can go to www.ncrcoaching.com/register, and that link of course will be in the show notes. Now next week on the podcast I am talking about what to do when there is a suspicion that your baby is big, so come on back next week and until then I wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy and birth.
54:18 Today's episode is brought to you by Women's Wellness Coaching by Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to check out my free one hour mini course on how to make your birth plan, as well as my comprehensive online childbirth education class, The Birth Preparation Course, with over eight hours of content and a private course community. The Birth Preparation Course will leave you knowledgeable, prepared, confident, and empowered going into your birth. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to learn more.