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.
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The Sleep Sense Show






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Now displaying: 2018
Dec 14, 2018

Let's be honest here. (Ha!) Unless you're an exceptionally lucky parent, your child is going to tell the occasional fib.

As a parent, you'll have to decide how when and how to call them out on it, and what the consequences are when they tell a lie.

In today's episode, I've got a few tips for you to help decide on a strategy you can be comfortable with when you find your little one bending the truth, as well as a few insights as to why children tell lies in the first place.


Dec 7, 2018

I recently asked my Facebook friends what parenting challenges they needed some help with, and when it came to the parents of toddlers, the overwhelming response was one you can probably identify with; Whining.

It's pretty much guaranteed that shortly after your little one learns to communicate, they'll discover whining as a tactic for getting what they want.

And it can be super annoying!

Parenting experts are quick to tell you that if you don't give in to the behavior, your little one will give it up, which is usually true. What they don't tell you as often is how to maintain your sanity when your little one is shrieking for a treat, or pitching a fit in the middle of the grocery store.

So today, I have a few tips to help you keep your cool and respond to  your child's whining in a way that will end, or at least minimize the behavior, when your little one resorts to whimpering to get their way.

Nov 30, 2018

People tend to make light of the sleepless nights that new parents experience when they have a new baby. We all go through it, and so we tend to laugh it off once our little ones grow up and start sleeping through the night.

But sleep deprivation is no laughing matter, and it can have serious effects on your mental health and, subsequently, on your relationship.

In today's episode, I want to look at some of the actual physical changes that take place in your brain and body when you don't get enough sleep, and talk about how those changes can make you less likely to approach conflicts with your partner in an impartial, rational way, as well as what you can do, starting tonight, to address the issue.

Nov 16, 2018

It's not like we don't know that our kids need a lot of sleep. Every parent in the world realizes that babies sleep a lot more than adults, but when's the last time you actually thought about why?

The obvious answer, "They get cranky if they don't sleep," is true of course, but there's a lot of fascinating science behind that fact, and sleep does so much more for our little ones than just regulating their mood.

So today, I'm going to look at the amazing operation going on inside your baby's body and mind while they snooze, and why it's so vital for helping them grow, keeping them healthy, and getting them off to a great start in life.

Nov 9, 2018

Most of the parents I've worked with over the years fall into a very common trap when it comes to their baby's sleep, and it's because it's such a reasonable belief.

"The more tired you are, the better you'll sleep."

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Like food or water, the more your body needs, the more it will accommodate. 

The fact is, this notion isn't just inaccurate, it's actually just the opposite. Because of our bodies' natural response to overtiredness, it causes light, fragmented sleep in babies as well as adults.

So how do you avoid that pitfall? The most important thing to keep your eye on is how long your baby is awake between naps.

In today's episode, I've got some specific guidelines to keep your baby's "awake window" in the appropriate range for their age, as well as some tips to help you adjust the schedule if you find things aren't going as planned.

Nov 2, 2018

Taking daytime naps is something we usually associate with babies and toddlers, and for good reason. Young kids need a lot of sleep and tend to get a big chunk of it during the day.

But as more people are realizing, daytime naps are rewarding for adults too. They can be a great tool to regulate your nighttime sleep and stay on top of your game throughout the day.

However, I've heard from a lot of people that they either can't get to sleep during the day, or that naps leave them feeling groggy when they wake up from them, and even that they interfere with their nighttime sleep.

I personally am a big believer in the rejuvenating effects of a quick daytime snooze, and I take a nap almost every day. In today's episode, I'll talk about why they're so beneficial, and share a few of my strategies for getting to sleep quickly and waking at the right time to ensure you get up refreshed and energized, and don't impede your ability to get back to sleep at bedtime.

Oct 19, 2018

I know a lot of parents who avoid this problem by simply not traveling, but that's not always an option, and it's certainly not a good solution for those of us who love to travel.

Staying in a hotel room with a young baby presents a whole pile of concerns for parents. Where should she sleep, how do we keep her on a schedule, and of course, what if she cries? After all, it's not just you that she's going to disturb if she spends an hour wailing in the middle of the night.

In today's episode, I have a few creative, slightly unorthodox solutions to help make sure that your hotel stay is as peaceful as possible, and that will keep you and your baby from falling back into any bad habits that may have derailed her sleep in the first place.


Oct 12, 2018

If you're raising kids with a partner, it's a pretty safe bet that there's going to be the occasional argument between the two of you, and sometimes, like it or not, they happen in front of the kids.

We tend to beat ourselves up when we argue in front of our kids, but the truth is they can learn some important lessons from seeing their parents argue, so long as it's done in a productive and respectful way.

In today's show, I've got some suggestions to help you maintain civility and regard for your partner when you argue, and keep you mindful of the example you're setting for your little ones when it happens in front of them.

Oct 5, 2018

It's a very rare child who's willing to eat anything you put in front of them. Most kids crave sweets and white carbs, and occasionally protein in the form of chicken nuggets or fish sticks. Not exactly foods your pediatrician would call, "healthy."

Getting young children to eat their vegetables can result in some frustrating battles, but you can't just feed them their favorite foods all the time. So what's a parent to do?

In today's episode, I have some tips to help you ease the tensions around dinnertime, encourage your kids to try new foods, and a few suggestions for how to prepare nutritious options so your kids will actually enjoy them.

Sep 14, 2018

Every mother knows that raising kids is a full time job. Not "full time" in the business sense of 9-5, Monday to Friday, but full time in the literal sense. You never clock out, you never get a vacation, and you never retire.

Which is a big part of the reason those of us who choose to pursue a career on top of being moms can often find ourselves feeling overwhelmed by feeling of guilt and inadequacy.

My guest on today's show, Jessica Turner, author of the bestselling book, The Fringe Hours and founder of the popular lifestyle blog, The Mom Creative, has a new book on the way. Stretched Too Thin is a compassionate, encouraging guide to help moms lose the guilt, ease their stress, and embrace their roles as working mothers.

You can find Jessica's blog on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and per-order her new book here.

Sep 7, 2018

As many of you will probably know if you've listened to my podcast before, my first child started off as a terrible sleeper. 

And like any parent in my position, I did a ton of research to try and figure out what the problem was.

For some reason, no matter how many people I heard talking about the importance of bedtime routines, I always dismissed them as being inconsequential.

But I'm a firm believer now, and today I'll be discussing why bedtime routines are so important for getting your baby sleeping through the night, and what you can do to improve your little one's routine to ensure they're primed and ready for a long, restful snooze.

Aug 31, 2018

Audrey Hepburn once said, “The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it's all that matters.” 

That's great advice, but it's a little sparse on the "how-to" side. We would all love to be happy, but it's not always easy, especially when you're shouldering the responsibilities of a parent.

Which is why I'm so excited to be speaking with my guest on the show today. K.J. Dell'Antonia is the author of How to Be a Happier Parent. A practical, thoroughly researched guide to bringing more joy into our everyday lives, not by doing more (please, no) but by doing things differently.

This mother of four and former editor of The New York Times’ Motherlode blog has some straightforward, effective advice for finding the joy in the otherwise chaotic experience of raising a family.

Her book, How to Be a Happier Parent, is available from Penguin Random House Publishing or wherever you find great books.

Aug 24, 2018

As much as kids look forward to summer vacation, I have a feeling that parents look forward to school starting again even more. (Even though we may not be allowed to show it quite so openly.)

But back-to-school can bring along one substantial challenge for both parents and their kids. During those two months of vacation, we tend to get pretty lenient about bedtime, and when kids suddenly start working on a schedule again, their sleep can get thrown wildly off track.

In today's episode, I'll discuss why early bedtimes are so vital to your child's health and success during the school year, as well as some tips to help get them back on schedule before school starts, so they can face that first day well-rested and ready to learn.

Aug 17, 2018

As parents, the idea that our kids don't like to be apart from us is not just understandable, the feeling is full-on mutual. The bond between us and our children cannot be overstated.

As they get older, some kids naturally start to explore their emerging independence with enthusiasm. Others, not so much.

So when it comes time for the first day of pre-school, daycare, or even an afternoon at Grandma and Grandpa's house, many kids will resist with an intensity that can be downright heartbreaking for both them and their parents.

Today, I've got some tips to help you reassure your child that your leaving isn't permanent, ease their anxiety around new people, and help them approach unfamiliar situations with excitement and enthusiasm.

Jul 20, 2018

When your baby cries in the night, it usually means they want something in order to help them get back to sleep. Whether it's because they're too hot, too cold, have a wet diaper, or for some other reason can be difficult to tell.

For most parents, the first thing they try is a feed. Babies love to eat and it's the most common reason for newborns and infants to wake up in the night.

Of course, that's not always the solution, and feeding your baby to sleep every time they wake up can cause an association that will leave them unable to fall asleep unless they're offered a nighttime snack.

In today's episode, I'll help you spot the telltale signs of hunger and give you some tips for getting baby back to sleep on those occasions when they're just looking for comfort instead of food.

Jul 13, 2018

Sooner or later, your toddler is going to outgrow their crib, and while the switch to a big-kid bed is an exciting milestone, it usually brings on some challenges.

Toddlers tend to test their boundaries when they experience the newfound freedom of a regular bed, and you can typically expect a few late-night visits, sleep regressions, and early morning wake ups while they're getting used to their new sleeping arrangements.

Today, I have some suggestions that will help you decide on the right time to make the switch, as well as some common mistakes parents make when we're preparing our little ones for the transition.

Jun 29, 2018

Starting your baby on solid foods is a fun and exciting milestone, and one you should definitely have your camera ready for! But like everything in parenting, there is a lot of uncertainty about when and how to get started.

In today's episode, I'll be talking a little bit about how to recognize when your baby is ready to start eating solid food, and a whole lot about how to go about it.

Having struggled with my own son's finicky eating habits, I've learned from experience (as well as a few expert nutritionists) about the relationship that babies and toddlers form with food.

So today I have some great tips to help you start them off on the right foot, encourage them to try new, healthy foods, and eliminate the battles over when and what they eat.

Jun 22, 2018

I think we can all agree that no sound on this earth is more distressing to a parent than that of their crying baby.

And in their early years, nothing prompts a meltdown from your little one quite like the sight of you leaving the room. Separation anxiety is so common among babies that you would probably be more likely to worry if your little one didn't cry a little when you left them alone.

The truth is, teaching your baby to trust in your inevitable return when you leave the room is probably harder on you, the parent, than it is on your baby.

So today, I'm going to help you understand what's going on in your little one's head when they see you walking out the door at bedtime, or leave them with their Grandma for an afternoon, as well as a few tips to help ease the stress on both of you as you progress through this stage.

Jun 15, 2018

As parents, we all strive to do the best we can when it comes to raising our kids. But actions taken with the best intentions can have negative effects, and we may not realize the impact they have until the damage is already done.

Today, I'm going to talk a bit about some of the more unhelpful behaviors I've observed in my time as a sleep consultant (as well as some of my own!) and talk a bit about why we're likely to engage in them, why they're not doing what they're intended to do, and what we can use in their place to be the best parents we can be.

Jun 8, 2018

I can't tell you how many times I've spoken with parents who were desperate to get their child sleeping through the night, but when it came to actually getting started, they felt like it "just wasn't the right time."

Don't get me wrong, they had good reasons for saying so. Baby was teething, baby was just getting over an illness, baby was about to switch to a big-kid bed, and so on.

The truth is, there are some situations where I think it's best to put off sleep training for a brief period, but waiting for the "perfect" moment is going to leave you and your little ones exhausted for a long time to come.


Jun 1, 2018

There's a commonly held belief among the devotees of attachment parenting that sleep training isn't compatible with their parenting style.

That's not surprising, since one of the founders of the attachment parenting movement, Dr. Bill Sears, amended the core principles of his system to include "Beware of baby trainers."

But having worked with parents who subscribe to this approach, I have found that there's plenty of room for compromise. You can stick to every fundamental rule of the attachment parenting model and still teach your baby the skills they need to sleep through the night.


May 18, 2018

Tell me if this sounds familiar... You've put baby to bed, they seem to be sleeping peacefully, but when you open the door a crack to check on them, they've pushed themselves into a corner of their crib into what appears to be the most uncomfortable sleeping position imaginable.

If your baby doesn't sleep well, or has trouble getting back to sleep after they've woken up, this presents a serious dilemma.

Do you go in, try to readjust them, and risk them waking up?

Do you leave them in that uncomfortable-looking position and hope that they'll figure it out on their own?

It sounds a little trivial, but for anyone who's faced this situation before, you know that it's actually a pretty concerning predicament, and I've got some tips to help you through it in today's episode.

Apr 27, 2018

Ben Franklin once said that the only guarantees in life were death and taxes. I think that must have been before he had kids, because he forgot to mention parenting advice.

Information comes at you fast and plentifully after your first baby arrives, and although it's always given with the best intentions, some of it is, to be blunt, incorrect.

In today's episode of The Sleep Sense Show, I'm looking at five of the most common myths surrounding your baby's sleep.

I can't say for sure where they come from, but I can point out the flaws in their reasoning and give you the facts about some of these common misconceptions.

Apr 20, 2018

A lot of people new mothers (and old mothers alike) think that breastfeeding and sleeping through the night are mutually exclusive.

For all of you breastfeeding mothers out there, I'm happy to report that this is simply not the case.

While it's true that breast milk is digested faster than formula, breastfed babies are still capable of sleeping for more than a few hours at a time, and past the six-month mark, they're just as capable of sleeping through the night as their formula-fed counterparts.

I'll explain why and give you some hints to help your get little one sleeping soundly and avoid developing a feed/sleep dependency on today's episode.

Apr 13, 2018

Don't you just love that blissful moment in the late morning or early afternoon when you put your baby down for their nap? Watching them drift into a restful, rejuvenating daytime sleep is one of the most maternal sensations I know.

Which makes it so much more aggravating when they wake up 20 minutes later and refuse to go back to sleep.

Then they're cranky for the rest of the day, overtired at bedtime, and the next 24 hours leave you pulling your hair out in frustration.

Sound familiar?

Don't worry. On today's episode of The Sleep Sense Show, I have 4 easy-to-implement strategies for extending the length of your baby's daytime sleep, and I'll explain why a solid nap during the day can be the most important factor in getting your little one sleeping through the night.

What are you waiting for? Nap time is fast approaching and you can start using these methods as of right now!

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