The Sleep Sense Show

The Sleep Sense Show


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.


Episode 060 - The Four Month Sleep Regression  

Is there such a thing a the "Four-month sleep regression?" Maybe. But it seems like every time our little ones hit a bump in the road when it comes to sleeping through the night, we try to put a label on the problem.

That's not to say that regressions aren't a real thing, but identifying the actual cause for a few rough nights in baby's routine can help you decide what course of action to take (if any) and in today's episode, I'll help you do just that.

Episode 059 - Back to School Sleep Tips  

Summertime brings about a lot of new experiences for kids. For many, it can be their first time traveling, meeting relatives, visiting theme parks, and any number of exciting adventures.

But it also means that the schedule they follow during the school year tends to get tossed out the window, especially when it comes to bedtime.

So now that they're headed back to school, how can you get them back into the rhythm and make sure they're getting the sleep they need?

It's easier than you think, with the right guidance, and I'm here today to help get your little ones back into bed at a decent hour and sleeping through the night again so they can wake up refreshed and ready to learn!

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.

Episode 058 - My Story  

When I was preparing to welcome my first child into the world, I had a distinct, utopian vision of what motherhood was going to be like.

The reality of motherhood didn't match it in the least.

The first six months of motherhood were actually some of the hardest days of my life. I loved my baby, of course, but I also experienced overwhelming feelings of failure and guilt.

Today, I'd like to tell you about what brought this on, and what I did (and what you can do, if you're feeling the same way!) to change it.

Episode 057 - Life After Materity Leave  

When the time comes to return to work after the birth of a child, how many women can say that they feel genuinely ready?

Not just physically, although that's certainly an important factor, but emotionally prepared and comfortable to leave their newborn for long stretches during the day with someone else.

For those of us who have been through the process, we know how stressful and emotionally taxing it can be.

Enter Lauren Brody Smith, author of The Fifth Trimester - The Working Mom’s Guide To Style, Sanity & Big Success After Baby.

In today's episode, I'm speaking with Lauren in depth about her strategies for returning to your job after maternity leave, how to physically and mentally prepare yourself in the days before going back, and the importance of openness, honesty and support in the workplace.

Episode 056 - Travel Tips  

So you've finally got your little one sleeping soundly through the night. You've established a great bedtime routine, you're sticking to it every night, and baby's learned to settle independently when she wakes up in the night.

But now it's vacation time, so how are you going to adhere to your schedule when everything's thrown into upheaval?

Well, the short answer is, you're not. You're going to have to deal with the change in surroundings and schedule as best you can. So in today's episode, I've got some tips for minimizing the impact that travel will have on their sleep, and how to get them back on track as soon as you get home.

Episode 055 - Transitioning to Fewer Naps  

For most of the families I've worked with, getting their kids to sleep through the night is the easy part.

Getting them to take long, consolidated naps? That's where things get tricky.

One of the major reasons for this is because, unlike nighttime sleep, the number and length of naps required for babies and toddlers changes relatively quickly.

Today, I'll be giving you a rundown of how much daytime sleep your little one needs, and how to spot the signs that they're ready to cut one out altogether.

Episode 054 - 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.

Episode 050 - 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 044 - 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.

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