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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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!

Apr 6, 2018

Toddlers are very curious creatures, as I'm sure anyone who has one already knows, and they are constantly testing to see where the boundaries lie regarding their behavior.

Although it may not seem like it, toddlers absolutely crave structure and rules. They test the limits all the time, but they don't actually want to see anything change.

But those tests are often accompanied by tears, shrieking, and meltdowns. So how can you enforce the rules while avoiding the temper tantrums? Well, not to sound like an internet ad, but I have one simple trick that, although it may not "solve" your toddler's outbursts when they don't get their way, will certainly help to minimize them.

You can hear all about it in this week's episode of "The Sleep Sense Show."

Mar 30, 2018

I'm super excited today to have Dr. Keira Barr on the show to tell us all about the role sleep plays in the health and well-being of our skin.

As you probably already know, our skin is our largest organ, but you may be surprised at the information it provides into our overall health.

You may also be interested (I know I was!) to learn how sleep and our skin are interconnected, and how the benefits of a good night's sleep can show up in a very real and noticeable way, all over your body.

You can find Dr. Barr's website at and you can pick up a copy of her book, The Skin Whisperer: A Dermatologist Reveals How to Look Younger, Radiate Beauty and Live the Life You Crave on Amazon.

Mar 23, 2018

I just want to start off here by saying that The Sleep Sense Program is not what would be considered a traditional cry-it-out approach.

But having said that, I think it's time that we took a look at the term and what it really means. Given all of the negativity and false information that has been thrown around about allowing babies to cry, I think new parents are often overwhelmed at the thought of even a few nighttime tears and the damage they might cause.

So today, we'll take a look at what we really mean when we refer to the cry-it-out method, the short and long term effects it has on your little one, and whether or not the criticisms that surround it are valid.


Mar 16, 2018

Today, I'm going to try something a little different. I'm going to leave the kids out of the show altogether and focus specifically on you.

Because even though we may forget it from time to time, your sleep is every bit as important as your little one's, and grown ups tend to have issues getting to sleep and staying asleep just as often as their babies.

So today, I have three easy, effective tips for you that you can implement tonight to start improving your own sleep routine, on a special "Adults Only" edition of The Sleep Sense Show.

Mar 9, 2018

After conquering their baby's persistent night wakings, many parents take a "Hey, that's good enough" approach if their little one insists on getting up at 5 in the morning.

And if it really is good enough for you, if baby's gotten enough sleep through the night, and you're ready to start your day at 5 AM, power to you.

But for those of you who are aching for that one extra hour in the morning, I want you to know that it's possible, and I'm going to tell you everything you need in order to help your baby learn the glorious art of sleeping in.

Mar 2, 2018

"There are two things life doesn't prepare you for. Twins."

There's no question that twins present a unique challenge to sleep training.

Do you keep them on the same schedule, even if they don't seem to want to sleep at the same time?

Should you keep them in the same room if one tends to wake the other up?

Today, I have (hopefully) all the answers that you're looking for when it comes to sleep training twins. How to synchronize their routines, what to do when one of them starts crying, and everything in between.

Feb 23, 2018

How many times have you finished up your little one's bedtime routine, kissed them goodnight, tucked them in, turned out the light, only to see their adorable little face appear in the hallway five minutes later? And then five minutes after that? And again, and again, until bedtime ends in a series of tears and ultimatums.

Keeping kids in their rooms is a tricky challenge. We can't just lock them in there, and they are oh so clever when it comes to figuring out which excuses get them a few extra minutes of awake time.

But I have a very simple, and very effective, solution to this problem, and it works almost all of the time. I won't lie, it's probably going to provoke a bit of a protest, but it will solve the problem quickly and permanently, and allow you to get back to enjoying your evenings without the surprise visits.

Feb 16, 2018

"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams."

So said Oprah Winfrey, one of my biggest inspirations when I decided to start my own business, and she was absolutely right. And although I have realized my dream of being a mother and and entrepreneur, there are still moments that I wouldn't describe as especially dreamy.

Combining a family and a small business has been an adventure like no other, and as more and more women are taking the brave, exhilarating steps into the "Mompreneur" field, I thought I would take the opportunity to share some of the highs and lows of the experience in today's episode.

Feb 9, 2018

If you have kids and a sense of humor, chances are you're already a big fan of my guest today.

Jill Smokler is the creator of the "Scary Mommy" blog, and the author of the New York Times bestsellers, Confessions of A Scary Mommy and Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies).

Jill's honest, unfiltered, and hilarious take on parenthood has helped millions of parents, myself included, to accept the less-than-glamorous side of child-rearing with a smile, and reminds us all that we don't need to be perfect parents in order to be great ones.


Jan 26, 2018

Every parent I  know has relied on the magic soothing abilities of a pacifier at one time or another, and for good reason. There's no arguing their effectiveness. Nothing quiets a crying baby faster with as little effort as popping a soother in their mouth.

Now, I'm not anti-pacifier, but I do think they should be used in certain circumstances, and that they can have a negative effect on sleep if used at bedtime.

In today's show, I'll tell you my thoughts on when is the right time to use them, when you should avoid it, and when is the right time to do away with them for good.

Jan 19, 2018

According to a 2013 analysis by the NHIS, nearly 10% of children aged 4-17 were been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their lives.

The trademark symptoms, hyperactivity, lack of focus, and forgetfulness, are easily attributed to the disorder, but my guest today has shown compelling evidence that many kids who display them are actually not suffering from ADHD at all, but actually from a lack of sleep.

Dr Vatsal Thakkar, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine, and author of the New York Times opinion article Diagnosing the Wrong Deficit, joins me on today's episode to discuss why the two conditions are so easily mistaken for one another, and how a renewed focus on your little one's sleep habits might just be the solution to the problem.

Jan 12, 2018

Some parents love the experience of sleeping next to their baby, whereas others end up doing it out of necessity, enduring the inevitable fingers in the nose and late-night kicks to the belly in exchange for an otherwise peaceful night.

But at some point, the time comes when your little one has to move into their own room and stay there, which, as many parents know, can be cause for a series of midnight meltdowns.

In today's episode, I have a bunch of useful tips for deciding if it's the right time to make the switch, explaining it to your child in a way they'll actually understand and (hopefully) embrace, and setting rules and rewards that will stop those middle-of-the-night visits and get your child sleeping on their own for good.

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