sleepsense's podcast

sleepsense's podcast


A weekly podcast offering expert advice on a variety of parenting issues, focusing primarily on helping babies and toddlers who are having trouble sleeping through the night.


Conflicting Parenting Advice  

"Always do the right thing, unless it's the wrong thing to do, in which case, never do that."

If you're looking for parenting advice online, or from a varied group of experts, friends, or professionals, that's pretty much what it feels like for a new mom.

For every piece of advice you get, there are two people waiting around the corner who will tell you that, not only is that not the best approach, it's actually harmful.

In this week's episode, I've got some tips for navigating the endless ocean of input you'll be sailing, and some reassurance that the doomsday prophets are blowing their warnings way out of proportion.

Episode 053 - Timeout Dos and Don'ts  

The good old "Time Out" is one of the most reliable tools available to parents when it comes to correcting problem behavior, but it's not always as simple as it sounds.

There are plenty of situations where time-outs might not seem like a fitting, or available, strategy. After all, where are you supposed to take your child for a little quiet time if you're in a movie theater, or out for dinner?

Beyond that, how do we know that we're teaching our kids what kind of behavior we're actually asking of them if we just put them into a quiet room for a few minutes?

I'm still a big believer in time-outs, but only when they're done right, and I'll tell you how to apply them in order to get maximum results with minimum hassle.

Episode 052 - Kids and Melatonin  

Ever since it was made publicly available in the 1990s, synthetic melatonin has been renowned as a "natural" sleep aid, and its popularity has increased to the point where almost everyone is familiar with the name.

The problem with the "natural" designation is that people tend to equate it with, "safe," and I've heard of pediatricians recommending melatonin for babies, literally babies who are having trouble sleeping.

On today's episode, I've got a little bit of a rant against using pills and supplements to fix problems with kids' sleep issues, and an alternative plan that won't just patch over the symptoms, but actually addresses the cause of sleepless nights.

Episode 051 - Getting Started With The Sleep Sense Program  

They say that the hardest part of getting started... is getting started. This can be especially true when you're sleep training your little one. The time never seems to be quite right, there's always an upcoming occasion or obligation that seems to keep families from taking that first step.

So today, I've got some advice for getting up and running with the Sleep Sense Program. When to start, when to avoid getting started, and a little encouragement for what's, let's face it, a challenging first step down a glorious road.

Allowing Kids to Fail  

As parents, there's nothing so difficult as standing aside and watching your child fail at something. Whether it's sports or schoolwork, or just taking a harmless tumble, we're always ready to swoop in and provide that extra guidance, support, and help they need in order to ensure they succeed.

But is that "help" actually depriving them of valuable learning experiences? At what point are we ready to allow our kids to fail at things?

My guest on Today's show is Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure-How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go so Their Kids can Succeed. She contends that our kids need to experience failure in order to understand and accept frustration and hardship.

She provides a wonderfully fresh outlook on parenting and will change the way you think about how to coach your kids.

Episode 049 - Why I Hated Breastfeeding  

Before the title causes a knee-jerk reaction from breastfeeding advocates, let me just say that this week's episode is, in no way, intended to discourage mothers who are happily and successfully breastfeeding.

This is just an honest account of my experience with breastfeeding and the life lessons it taught me.

It's blunt, it's straight-forward, and it's sincere, but as the title suggests, breastfeeding did NOT go well for my first child and I, and the pressure I put on myself to make it work was intense.

It was also, as I realized later, unnecessary.

So, just a heads-up! If you're a devout breastfeeding advocate, chances are you might not want to tune in this week, but for those of you who had a hard time, or are currently struggling with breastfeeding, I think you'll find some comfort and a few genuine laughs in this week's episode.

Episode 048 - 3 Big Potty Training Mistakes  

Every parent looks forward to the day when they can finally say goodbye to diapers, but the process usually isn't a lot of fun. Kids tend to protest change and that can lead to some unpleasant and occasionally embarrassing accidents.

Today, I'll tell you about three of the biggest mistakes parents make when they're potty training their little ones, and help you avoid them, as well as a few tips to help minimize the conflict and even make potty training fun for both you and your child.

Episode 047 - Better Sleep Through "Body Wisdom"  

I recently read a fascinating book by Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams called Bodywise: Discovering Your Body’s Intelligence for Lifelong Health and Healing, and I have to say, I was absolutely captivated from cover to cover.

Which is why I'm so excited to be speaking with her on today's podcast! We talk about sleep (naturally) and the health problems caused when we don't get enough of it, but we also discuss whether or not today’s modern lifestyle (hurried meals, device addiction, etc.) is responsible for an increase in women feeling “tired” all the time, and what can be done about it.

Give it a listen, and once you're done, you can pick up a copy of her book here.

Episode 046 - How Diet Affects Sleep  

Most of us, by the time we have kids, are savvy enough not to feed them energy drinks or sugary snacks right before bed. (Most of us. Not all.)

Because, obviously, a bunch of caffeine and sugar will get them fired up and make it hard for them to sleep. But those aren't the only culprits hiding in your kids' food that might cause them some sleep issues.

Today, I'm looking at the correlation between diet and sleep, and I'll give you some hints on foods to avoid, as well as a few to encourage, in order to help your little ones get the best night's sleep they can.

Episode 045 - Crazy Sleep Props  

The dreaded sleep prop. Whether it's a pacifier, a breast, or rocking motions provided by Mom every time baby wakes in the night, they're the single biggest cause of baby not sleeping through the night. Which is ironic, because that's the very reason people employ them in the first place.

Don't get me wrong. As the parent of a once-terrible sleeper myself, I know how desperate we can get to find something, anything, that will help us get our babies to fall asleep.

Today, I'm looking back at some of the more innovative, bizarre, and downright absurd sleep props I've seen through my 14-year career as a baby sleep coach, and I've got a little advice for those of you who find yourselves thinking, "Oh hey, that might work!"


Episode 043 - 4 Common Toddler Roadblocks  

The toddler years are an amazing experience for both parents and kids. New skills and personality traits seem to develop almost every day, and it's a really fascinating process to be a part of.

But as they develop, they like to experiment and see where their boundaries are, so there are usually some frustrating moments to go along with the magical ones, and a whole bunch of those boundary-testing moments are likely to happen around bedtime.

Today, I'm discussing the 4 most common challenges parents are likely to face when it comes to toddlers and sleep, and I've got some great tips on how to deal with them calmly, effectively, and with as little protesting as possible.

Episode 043 - The Trouble With Naps  

Why is it, given how quickly babies adapt to a new sleep routine at bedtime, that they can't do the same thing when it comes to naps?

Many of the parents I've worked with have been flat-out amazed at how easily their child started sleeping through the night, but when it comes to naps, the results often take quite a bit longer to materialize.

It can be a frustrating endeavor, but I've got some tips in today's show to help you understand why daytime sleep can be so challenging for little ones, and how you can help them get over the hump to start taking long, rejuvenating naps during the day.

Episode 042 - Avoiding the "My Whole World" Trap  

It's not uncommon to hear a parent refer to their kids as their top priority, or the center of their universe, and for good reason. For most parents, their kids are the single most important thing in their lives.

But there's a slight variance on those expressions that I hear a lot, and it gets under my skin a little bit.

"My kids are my whole world."

I know it might seem like nitpicking, but there's a reason why that particular turn of phrase bugs me, and I'll tell you all about it on today's episode.

Episode 041 - Listener Q and A  

As long as I've been a sleep consultant, and as much as I've seen the Sleep Sense brand grow, I've never lost my love for one-on-one consultations with people regarding their babies' sleep.

Having dealt with a terrible sleeper myself so many years ago, I know the struggle parents go through, and the amazing sense of relief and happiness that comes when the situation gets resolved.

With that in mind, a couple of weeks ago, I asked listeners to send me their questions about their little ones' sleep issues, and told them I'd respond on the air.

The response, I'd just like to say, was amazing. So a big thank you to everyone who took the time to record their questions.

This week, I'm answering those questions. (Or as many as I could fit into the time we had.) So have a listen and check out the solutions to some of the most common problems that you might be facing as the parent of a sleep-resistant baby! :)

3 Ways to Prevent a Toddler Tantrum  

There's no avoiding it. Your toddler is going to pitch a fit or two. However, tantrums are not usually due to anything serious, and are often just the result of frustration, overtiredness, or some good old fashioned boundary testing.

Which is why, with a little foresight and clever distraction, a lot of them can be avoided before they get out of hand.

On today's episode, I've got some specific, practical, easy-to-follow tips that can help you catch a toddler tantrum in its tracks, and give your little one something to occupy their thoughts and actions before they go into meltdown mode.


Episode 039 - Creating a Perfect Bedtime Routine  

When it comes to getting kids to sleep through the night, nothing compares to a well-crafted bedtime routine. Many parents don't realize the importance of a predictable, relaxing regimen before putting their babies into their crib, or their toddlers into bed.

The reasons for this aren't just psychological. Our bodies go through a fascinating physical process when we start sending signals that we're getting ready for bed.

Although it might seem like an intuitive process, I've seen all kinds of kids improve their sleep habits by leaps and bounds after identifying the problems in their routine. I'll tell you what to stick to and what to avoid on this week's episode.

Episode 038 - How to Discourage Bad Habits  

I had to be careful in titling this episode, because there's no real "fix" for bad habits in others. (Especially kids, as any parent knows.) All we can do is try to discourage the behavior.

But what form should that discouragement take, and how can we help to make it easier for our little ones to kick those habits? After all, we've all been there, right? Kicking a habit is hard, frustrating work, no matter what age you are.

In today's episode, I'm addressing the "big three" habitual behaviors that kids exhibit, and I'll give you some tips for breaking the compulsion in ways that are both effective and compassionate.

Episode 037 - The 3 Most Common Sleep Regressions  

New parents are often warned about "The 3 month sleep regression" or "The 9 month sleep regression."

Really, you can substitute any number you want and you'll have no trouble finding corroboration that there's a sleep regression that happens around that age.

But in my experience, there are causes for sleep regressions that have nothing to do with age.

Today, I'll be discussing the three biggest reasons why your little one might suddenly break away from their carefully crafted routine, and what you can do to help get them back on track.

Episode 036 - Improving Communication With Your Children (with Jennifer Lehr)  

"Be a good girl!" "Do you need a time-out?" Make sure you say thank you!"

The way we talk to our kids is so generic, it could be coming from a handbook. We tell them to behave responsibly, to be considerate of others, and to be mindful of their actions, but is the message we're trying to communicate the one they're receiving?

My guest today, Jennifer Lehr, is the author of ParentSpeak: What's Wrong with How We Talk to Our Children--and What to Say Instead, and she's sharing her thoughts on the traditional approaches to communicating with kids, how kids actually interpret them, and how we can improve our communication tools to be more respectful and effective in talking to our children.

How Room-Sharing Affects Sleep  

For a lot of parents I've worked with, room-sharing is straight-up indisputable. Just not always in the same way.

Many parents feel that their baby absolutely has to be in the room with them. Not necessarily in the same bed, but definitely the same room.

Others, myself included, decided early on that baby was going to sleep in their own room, and that the issue wasn't up for debate.

The choice is, obviously, up to you, but it's important to understand what you're taking on when you allow your little one into your bedroom. There are a lot of pros, a lot of cons, and a lot of things you might not have considered.

I'll be talking all about the benefits and drawbacks in this week's episode.

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