Hiring a sleep consultant was the best thing I did for my baby (and myself)

When I pictured a sleep consultant I envisioned a kindly woman who hid in the shadows and sang my son a lullaby whenever he stirred. In actuality, a sleep consultant is less a ninja songstress, and more head coach to your quarterback. She called the plays, I made the moves.

using a sleep consultant for sleep training

The moment is different for every parent. Maybe it's when you put your curling iron in the fridge. Or perhaps it's when you poured formula into your coffee. For me, it was when I backed my car into a Toyota Camry named Doug that was parked in my own driveway.

That was it. That was the moment I knew my son needed sleep training, and that I couldn't do it alone.

Sleep deprivation is real, and it is hard. Lack of sleep can easily suck the joy out of anyone's day, but it can also rob you of your happiness in being a parent. It's difficult to be at your very best for your child when you are trapped in all consuming exhaustion. Trust me. I've been there.

Being a mom is hard, but sleep training doesn't have to be.

When my son was 9 months old, and our sleep routine was a dumpster fire, I was desperate. I Googled, I prayed, I talked with friends, I even begged our pediatrician for some magical method which would get my little guy to sleep and to sleep well. Everything I tried came up short, and I just came out even more exhausted.

I was a rookie mom and I was lost. Lucky for me, my cousin is a three time MVP sort of mom, she suggested it might be time that I speak to a sleep consultant for a solution. At that point, I'd never heard of a sleep consultant, let alone knew what they did or where to find one.

When I pictured a sleep consultant I envisioned a kindly woman who hid in the shadows and sang my son a lullaby whenever he stirred. In actuality, a sleep consultant is less a ninja songstress, and more head coach to your quarterback. She called the plays, I made the moves.

Like any good coach, she didn't get in the game, but she supported my play. She made me feel seen, heard, and understood. At the end of the day, connecting with the consultant was more about supporting me as I tried to support my son. That support was crucial, not only from the obvious sleep perspective, but from the bigger picture parenting outlook.

Sleep training is one of the first things as a parent where you put your foot down for your child's own good. It's not an easy thing to do emotionally or physically. You need a village, and you need someone who knows their stuff.

There are so many factors that can influence sleep; age, diet, wake windows, routine, temperature, position, comfort, lighting, and in some cases, the boundaries currently in place for parents and babies.It's a lot to take in and understand, especially when you can barely keep your eyes open.

My biggest regret was not connecting to my sleep consultant sooner.

To get the process started and to maximize your time with your consultant, start keeping a sleepy time journal. This will give you some concrete data to share on your call about sleep trends and might help you identify some sleep obstacles. Next set up your initial 30 minute video consultation with a Tot Squad sleep expert. This video chat will allow you to not only share your concerns and your experiences, but to also help identify existing challenges and long term goals.

The time it takes to sleep train varies from child to child. Some kids pick up on the routine over the course of a couple days, for some it takes a couple of weeks, others a smidge longer. I was lucky and noticed a difference after just one night. In speaking with my sleep consultant I learned what I was doing wasn't wrong, it just needed some tweaks. And hopefully that's all you need as well. A little push for you, and a little cuddle for baby, may make all the difference.

Tot Squad sleep consultation

TOT SQUAD  Sleep Consultation (30 Min)

This 30-minute video chat consultation will connect you with a Tot Squad sleep expert to discover your family's sleeping challenges and goals.


Pineapple Sunshine's pink flamingo footie pajamas

PINEAPPLE SUNSHINE  Pink Flamingo Footie

Taking that first big step is the hardest part, but you can do this! One trick I used to psych myself up for the process was to raise the pajama game for me and my son.

I am a sucker for cute cuddly pajamas. Coming home to a new pair of snuggly pj's can make your whole day and night. When you look good, you rest well, I always say. Nothing says I am adorable and ready for 8 hours of quality sleep quite like Pineapple Sunshine's Pink Flamingo Footie Pajamas. The amazingly soft fabric and sweet design will make this bodysuit one of your sleepytime favorites.


Pineapple Sunshine's blue sea turtle footie

PINEAPPLE SUNSHINE  Blue Sea Turtle Footie

Not to be left out, for your littlest beach buddy, take a peek at Pineapple Sunshine's Blue Sea Turtle Footie. This one piece pajama will make you swear you can hear the gentle sounds of the ocean.


Dreamland Baby Dream Weighted Sleep Sack

DREAMLAND BABY  Dream Weighted Sleep Sack

The Dreamland Baby Dream Weighted Sleep Sack is so snuggly and so comfortable that I have already started asking if they have it in my size. This sleep sack utilizes pressure stimulation to promote comfort and relaxation. This piece is a great translational one for babies who have outgrown the swaddle, but still need a little extra support. Made with soft natural cotton, this sleep sack provides an extra layer of warmth without being overwhelming. As an added bonus, this sleep sack also features a convenient bottom opening for those late night diaper changes.

With a little help, these tips, and some comfy new pj's you are ready to slay this sleep training dragon. Go get them mama!


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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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