In this era of economic uncertainty, many parents searching for sleep training help for their toddlers, babies and children are coming up with creative ways to help pay for all of that support and assistance to get their children sleeping all night. Working with an experienced, knowledgeable pediatric sleep coach can be a big financial commitment.
Hiring a sleep consultant or sleep trainer can be costly depending on the sleep consultant’s experience and services offered, so make sure you now exactly what you’re getting for your money.
Since I trained as a sleep consultant 8 years ago, it’s become much more common for parents to seek assistance with sleep training, yet insurance companies haven’t quite caught up and cover it along with other insurance benefits such as lactation consultants and chiropractors.
One avenue parents have researched is how to get their medical insurance to pay for it. Now it's not guaranteed that insurance will pay for sleep training but it’s possible you can use your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to pay for it. I’ve had a few clients come back to tell me they successfully had my services paid for by their insurance.
First, check with your individual insurance carrier to see if they cover Sleep Services, Newborn Care particularly out of network Sleep Consultants. make sure that you find out exactly what you'll need in order to be paid. Sleep Consultants are considered alternative, out of network therapies, thus requiring parents to pay upfront and be reimbursed by their insurance company. Make sure that you check with your carrier to see if they cover it.
Determine the Required Documents
Your insurance company should be able to tell you exactly what paperwork is required, such as a detailed invoice, dates of service, exactly what services are being utilized or diagnosis code.
How to Pay for a Sleep Consultant
You may need to pay upfront and be reimbursed, or use your HSA debit card to pay. Either way, you’ll get a detailed receipt that you can send back for reimbursement.
Finding a sleep consultant near you that fits your family both in personality, their services and support can be a big financial decision and families should explore alternative routes.
And if you are not able to get your health insurance to pay for a sleep coach or consultant, there are a few other alternative routes including crowdsourcing, gift certificates and buy now- pay later options as well. If you find a sleep consultant that you really want to work with and feel they believe the service they offer is worth it, look at different ways of paying for it so that you and your child can get to sleep that you need.
From Southeast to Northwest DC, moms across the city are juggling it all... work, homelife, their children and particularly, their sleep routines. And when their toddlers and babies aren't sleeping, neither are they. The toll sleep deprivation takes on a mother and her family is far reaching... everything from missed deadlines at work and trying to get a baby to nap when the virtual work-from-home meeting is starting, to having little to no time in the evening to spend with a spouse, work on house chores or just a little time alone.
So if you're dealing with a sleep regression, popping in a binkie/pacifier multiple times per night or trying to decide which sleep training method is right for you, contact us and set up a free introductory call to ask any questions you like.
As technology continues to progress, there is always some kind of new flashy new baby gear that claims to make your baby sleep. Registries grow and become more complicated. The choices are never ending! New parents find themselves torn over which items to buy that will give them the *most* success in the newborn and baby years. With all of the new, advanced sleep options for baby, it’s important to think long-term before rushing to purchase the newest baby gear.
Have you heard of the Snoo bassinet? The Snoo is a bassinet made by the company Happiest Baby that comes equipped with sound sensors, wifi, white noise speakers and a robotic motor that rocks your baby to sleep if your baby makes noise. Sounds incredibly fancy, right? All of that sleepy time magic comes with the price tag of $1,600. You also have the option now to rent a snoo near you at a cost of $500 per month!
Parents frequently ask me my opinion of the Snoo. I’ve worked with many clients that started out working with me when their baby was in the Snoo and we successfully transitioned to a crib. All the babies are sleeping well…now. Here are a few things you should consider before jumping in to buy or rent a Snoo.
How does the Snoo work?
The Snoo is an all-in-one bassinet and baby soother. It gives you the smaller space required to have your newborn sleep in your room without taking up much space, has white noise and rocks your baby to sleep. So, does it work…in short…yes! But only for a while. Online reviews rave about how well the Snoo rocks your baby back to sleep. Having the bassinet do all the work for you sounds amazing! The added sound machine and the included swaddle are both accessories of the Snoo, eliminating the need to get these separately. The biggest downside to the Snoo is the creation of a dependency on motion to get your child to sleep. When baby outgrows it or reaches the recommended age limit, you’ll need to transition to a full sized crib, mini-crib or portable crib and you’ll need to work on getting baby to sleep without motion or rocking.
What’s the cost of getting a newborn to sleep?
This first thing that jumps out at me when considering the Snoo is the price tag. $1,600 for a bassinet?! However, as a sleep consultant, I truly believe that good sleep is priceless! Consider this; a bassinet is not forever, it’s a good tool to use for a few months of life.
While a crib can be used for several years, a bassinet is typically used for about 6 months (and that’s if baby doesn’t outgrow it sooner!). All things considered, your baby will be using this bassinet for roughly 180 days. And once baby outgrows the Snoo, you’ll still need a full sized crib! For some, it’s a great tool, for others they might want to get more bang for their buck.
Will I still have to sleep train if I use the Snoo?
If you think of falling asleep like a skill that we have to learn, then yes, you will have to eventually teach baby to fall asleep without the motion of the Snoo. For instance, if a baby is constantly being rocked to sleep by a bassinet, they form a sleep habit. Once it comes time to transition from the Snoo to the crib, then this habit will need to be changed in order to teach baby how to fall asleep without the motion. The transition may prove to be harder than it would be with a standard bassinet or portable cri,b and parents should consider if this challenge is worth it.
For some babies, the change from the Snoo to a crib can be hard and will require some prior planning to manage the transition. Weaning and transitioning from the Snoo can be done cold turkey but parents should consider gentler methods to do it as well.
So what should you do?
No matter what bassinet you use, you and your baby CAN achieve good sleep. By doing a bit of research and weighing out the options, you and your partner can make the right decision for your family.
What about you? Have you ever used a Snoo? What are your honest reviews? I would love to hear your thoughts!
And if you’re not sure how to transition out of the Snoo, please reach out.
Twins! Twice the fun and double the love. With any baby, sleep training can be hard. As a parent of twins, it can seem downright impossible. But sleep training twins can be successful with a few tips to get you started.
The biggest thing to consider when getting ready to sleep train twins is their adjusted age. Chances are, when your babies were born, they were not full term. This means they have a bit of catching up to do developmentally before they’re ready to form the best sleep habits. If you’re calculating their age based on the day they were born, you may be attempting to sleep train before they are ready.
A big misconception that I hear often is that sleep training requires letting your baby cry it out. This can make a twin parent cringe! How can you let one baby cry it out with the other one trying to sleep nearby? The cry-it-out method is not the only sleep training method you can use. Look into other methods such as the pick up/put down method or the chair method (which could potentially be used for both twins at once!). In addition, if one baby is sleeping better than the other, consider having them sleep in another room temporarily while you train their sibling. Twins tend to be on the same routine once it’s established, but getting there may take some work.
Listening to your baby's cues also helps immensely. As new parents, we often feel the need to document everything and feed on a schedule. During the night time, let your babies sleep and only feed them if they wake! This may seem pretty obvious, but if your baby is gaining weight as they should be, get the sleep while you can and let them tell you when they’re ready to eat again.
Lastly, as a twin parent, celebrate your successes no matter how small! You are working so hard and any steps you make towards better sleep should be recognized. Dropped a night feeding? Hooray! Got both babes to self-soothe? Boom! Give yourself a pat on the back.
I want to know, have you trained infant twins? What tips and tricks worked for you?
There are three key aspects to focus on in helping your child develop healthy and effective sleep habits. When working with clients, here is what I focus on first:
1. A Regular Bedtime Routine
Little ones thrive on consistency. They look to us, the parents/caretakers, to guide them in what they should be doing and how/when/where they should be doing it. This is why it is so important to develop routines. Babies and toddlers need consistent routines to orient themselves to where they are in their day and be able to anticipate what is coming next. Creating a regular bedtime routine that begins at (relatively) the same time each night will cue your baby to the fact that it is almost time to sleep. A simple bath, pajamas, a story/song, then off to bed routine can do wonders as long as you repeat the same actions in the same order each night.. Develop your routine based on what works best for you and your child!
2. Boundaries Around Sleep
If you’ve been around a toddler for more than 5 minutes you’ll know that they love to push boundaries. This is a completely normal developmental milestone, and it’s important for toddlers because they are looking to you to communicate to them what is allowed and what is not. To avoid frustration and confusion, it is important to set clear boundaries for our children, and sleep habits are no exception. Beginning when Baby is young, you can communicate that the expectation at bedtime is for them to sleep in their own bed. Other boundaries you can enforce could be keeping the baby in their room/bed until a certain time each morning (who wants to get up at 5am??) or making sure your toddler is staying in their bed all night. Decide on some healthy boundaries that will serve everyone in your household.
3. Consistency and Holding Boundaries
With both of the above tips, consistency is key. As I mentioned before, babies and toddlers look to us to orient themselves within their day and the world at large. Keeping consistent routines and boundaries allows them to know what to expect as well as how to act. This is crucial for them to be able to develop a sense of security and understand the world around them. You’ll begin to notice your toddler taking initiative when you prompt them to begin their bedtime routine. Keep it consistent and everyone will be on the same page!
What does your bedtime routine look like? What healthy boundaries have allowed your child to develop good sleep habits?
I want to take a minute today to unpack a question I get asked a lot as a sleep consultant; when is the best time to sleep train my baby/toddler?
The answer to this question varies for everyone, but it has to be when you’re ready! If your baby or toddler is sleeping well all night, you and your spouse/partner are sleeping 7-8 hours at night and you love your situation, then rock on!
If you’ve decided that your situation is no longer working for you, you’re not getting enough sleep, your child is up half the night and everyone is sleep deprived, it might be time to change what you’re doing to improve your child’s sleep.
Here are a few guidelines you need to consider before starting any sleep training method.
When your child is healthy
If your baby or toddler is having a hard time sleeping due to a cold or illness, it’s not a good time to start making changes. We want to give our child the best circumstances to succeed at sleep training, so wait until they are physically feeling their best. This applies to teething babies too or babies who have recently received vaccinations.
When you have a plan
A big mistake parents make is jumping into sleep training without having a solid plan of how they’re going to do it. Have you decided what method you’re using? Do you know what to do in different situations? What boundaries have you set surrounding sleep training? Are you and your partner on the same page? Make a plan together to make sure you are on the same page and can support one another through this transition.
Make sure that you and your partner/spouse are clear in your roles and how you’ll handle things such as getting your little one to fall asleep, night wakeups and naps.
When you are ready to commit
Babies and children learn through consistency and routine. Make sure you are ready to make changes to your current sleep routine and you can commit to a sleep training plan for at least a few days. If you’re not ready, no sweat! Wait until a time when both you and your partner can fully commit together.
Have you experienced failed attempts at sleep training? Did you try sleep training on your own and it didn’t work? What aspect of sleep training doesn’t seem to be working for you? Reflecting on past experiences using these guidelines can set you up for success in your sleep training journey.
And if you need any help answering your questions, set up a free call with me to help pinpoint the issue and determine the steps you need to get your kiddo sleeping all night long.
New parents are oftentimes surprised to learn that hitting certain development milestones in their baby’s life will interfere with their sleep habits. One of these first development milestones happens at around four months of age. Commonly referred to as the four month sleep regression, it’s a huge mental and physical growth spurt, and it is no joke! Babies’ sleep patterns shift during this time and you will find that they wake often during the night and have a hard time going back to sleep.
From the moment they are born, babies' brains are constantly evolving and adapting to the new environment. During this time, your baby may be learning new skills such as rolling over or sitting up. This intense time of physical effort and growth can interrupt even the best sleeper’s habits.
If your awesome sleeper of a newborn all of a sudden starts waking at all hours, and it’s left you thinking “what in the world is going on?” then you may have entered the four month sleep regression. Newborns typically sleep around 16-18 hours a day, but by the age of 3 to 4 months, babies begin sleeping a little less at around 15-16 hours per day. This adjustment can be tricky for baby to navigate and can also result in additional night time wakings.
So what can you do?
First, it’s important to watch Baby to understand what is going on. Is this a sleep regression caused by developmental milestones, or might there be something else at play such as an illness?
Second, since this is an intense period of learning new skills, it’s a good idea to allow your baby uninterrupted time to practice these new skills during the day. It can be easy to want to step in when they are struggling with things like rolling over or grasping an object, but allowing them space to attempt a new skill, will also help them to exert effort and become more tired when it comes time to nap or sleep.
Third, make sure Baby is taking in full feeds during the day and right before bedtime. Any period of brain development and growth requires more caloric intake for babies. Ensuring they are full and satisfied will keep hungry tummies from waking baby when they should be resting. It’s ok to offer a quick snack feed about 20-30 minutes before you get Baby ready for a nap to top him/her off.
Lastly, as I always recommend, stick to your routine and keep Baby’s room dark. Having a consistent and predictable bedtime routine will cue Baby to the fact that it’s time to sleep. When wakings do inevitably happen, keeping the room as dark as you can will aid in helping Baby to fall back asleep.
You can’t avoid sleep regressions altogether, but you can control how you handle them. Remember that babies can’t tell us what’s going on, so we want to respond with love and comfort. From a few days to a week or two, the regression will end. Remind yourself that this is a short term hiccup and baby will go back to sleeping at night soon.
Let's hear from you! Have you made it through the four month sleep regression? What worked for you?
If you’re not sure if it’s the 4 month, or any other sleep regression, book a free 15-minute call with me and we can talk specifically about your situation to determine what’s going on.
Bringing a new baby into the house is very likely to impact your older child’s sleep habits in one way or another, and there are two big reasons why;
1. Your toddler will likely hear the newborn’s cries and think they should help.
2. Your toddler’s wondering why he or she is no longer the center of your world and may be a bit jealous to share your attention.
The confusion of the upheaval of a once only kid household and jealousy will likely cause sort of a regression, prompting your toddler to want the ‘only kid’ attention they enjoyed previously, such as…
● Lots of requests for snuggles
● They may want to ‘act like a baby’ again
● Requesting to sleep in your bed or in your room
● Additional stalling, antics and tantrums during the bedtime routine
The biggest reason this can affect sleep is that parents start feeling guilty about the fact that they don’t have enough hands or time to be in two places at once, so they try to compensate by giving in to all those requests, and those requests frequently show up right at bedtime. You’ll likely hear everything from requests for extra stories, staying up later, laying with them, holding hands, etc.
Parents… I totally understand. Guilt sucks. And when we feel guilty about spending so much extra effort on a new baby, we start to do anything to make sure our kiddos know they haven’t been forgotten, get extra time with us and feel all the love.
So what’s the harm in a few more books and laying in bed with our kid to give some extra love and attention?
“Children are as independent as you expect them to be.” ~Maria Montessori
It’s likely this situation will happen at some point, so here’s what you do:
Keep everything around bedtime exactly as it was before the new sibling arrived; the same bedtime routine with the same limits you had before (ex: reading 2 books), sleeping in their own bed and sleeping there all night.
Comfort and support, but don’t change the how, where and when.
If you start changing what’s allowed around bedtime, such as adding a dance party and saying goodnight to every stuffed animal in your child’s room, it’s only going to tell your toddler that boundaries mean nothing and trust me, they’ll take 10 miles if you give an inch.
Second, try to focus 15-20 minutes during the day where it’s just you and your toddler, one-on-one to do something together. Your kiddo will love the extra time and snuggles.
Never apologize to yourself or your kid for setting boundaries. If the feeling of “oh no, I have to give everything” guilt starts to set in, remember that your toddler is simply working through some big emotions, which toddlers don’t know how to navigate. You are doing the best you can and holding to your boundaries to have a happy, attached and supported kiddo. You’re an awesome parent…don’t forget that.
Within a few weeks, your whole family will have had time to adjust to the newest member of the family and you’ll find that new groove. You’ve got this!
By Evie Ebert
Tired parents are desperate to get their kids to sleep. There’s a whole industry designed to help (for a fee).
I remember when I reached my breaking point with my son’s sleep. He had faced big changes to his little life over the previous year: an interstate move, a new house, a new preschool, and the arrival of his baby sister. His routines suffered for it, and his bedtime demands had become increasingly baroque and desperate.
If my husband or I didn’t stay in the room with him until he fell asleep, he would explode with panic. “I’m all alone and I’m only 3 years old!” he wailed through a sheet of tears and mucus. If we left the room, he hurled his body against the door like a moth thumping a porch light.
This particular night, my husband was out of town, leaving me solo with both kids. Hours since I’d gotten him in his jammies, my son was still awake and his protests were threatening to wake the baby. This risk was unacceptable.
I pulled him out of their shared bedroom and into “the big bed” with me. The lights were off but his little overtired body wouldn’t stop twitching and jerking with excitement. As his heels jabbed at my ribs (“I’m just stretching”), I directed my phone’s glow away from his face and fired off a deranged missive via online form. Christine emailed me back the next morning.
“One of the top times that I get emails from tired parents is somewhere between midnight and 2 am,” says Christine Stevens, who owns Sleep Solutions by Christine. Stevens is a certified child and infant sleep consultant, a professional who offers services to families struggling with behavioral childhood sleep problems. She is one of the growing league of such professionals around the globe, a cohort of providers who fill this need for exhausted families.
Time to Fall Back and Say Goodbye to Daylight Savings Time
According to the calendar, this weekend we’re supposed to get an extra hour of sleep as daylight savings time ends…tell that to our kids!
Is it teething?
Have you ever heard the story of Catherine O'Leary's Cow?
Back in 1871, the Chicago Tribune reported that the cause of the great Chicago Fire was a cow, Catherine O’Leary’s cow to be precise, kicking over a lantern in the barn while it was being milked.
Unfortunately, the Tribune admitted later on that it had completely fabricated the story, but that didn’t stop people from blaming Catherine and her cow from being widely blamed for one of the greatest disasters in US history.
What’s this got to do with teething, you ask?