your frequently asked questions. Answered.

How do you know your child would benefit from sleep training? 

Basically, the main indicator is that getting your child to sleep just doesn’t seem to work anymore. Here are some typical responses from clients: Usually, one or both parents have hit rock bottom. You can’t continue on like this—so sleep deprived and grouchy. You wonder if you are safe to drive the car. Heck, you wish you could just remember where you put your car keys! 

You miss your partner and desperately want to spend some time with them again. As a parent, you feel exhausted and are ready to feel like you did in your pre-baby state. You worry about your baby or toddler’s development. The pediatrician said your child is getting less sleep than what is recommended for their age. You notice that your baby is cranky and overtired. You feel like you are missing your child’s sleepy cues. You are walking on eggshells trying to get the nap times right. Your child is eating frequently at night, when you know they need sleep more than food.

Every family’s journey is different. If you are googling sleep training, then chances are you see room for improvement in your child’s sleep. Parent Heroes is here to help get the family’s sleep back on track!

WHAT BENEFITS DOES SLEEP TRAINING HAVE?

Having sound sleep can help in the short term with concentration and mental and physical development, improved nighttime sleep, regulated hunger, improved solids intake during the day, and improved mood. It is also beneficial in the long term, as it helps prevent obesity and high blood pressure, and reduces toddler behaviors, learning disabilities, and risk of ADHD. 

Parents benefit too! Time to relax. Time for self care. Time for connection as a couple! Time for doing mountains of laundry! One study found that sleep training has a protective effect on mothers, significantly reducing their risk for postpartum depression for up to 2 years postpartum.

Does sleep training involve crying?

Yes. I wish I could change that about sleep training. Every method of sleep training, even gentle sleep training, will involve some amount of crying. When you work with a sleep coach, we help you keep crying to the absolute minimum for your child or baby.  

With Parent Heroes, you get support, coaching, and an accountability partner. Together, we help you respond consistently. This is the key to changing sleep habits. 

During the sleep training of your child, you become their coach. I want you to expect this—when a parent changes a family routine or habit, you should anticipate that your baby or child will “notice” or “protest the new change.” Other examples of this: You not letting your baby bite you or your breast, potty training, trying new foods with meal times, asking your child to clean up toys when the parents used to clean up the toys. Our children are trying to figure out the way the world works. It is their job to find the boundaries. They communicate to us that they are noticing a change in our behavior and are requesting the “old ways” to come back. It is our job to be consistent, loving, warm and optimistic about the new habit we want to develop. When your child realizes that their secure, loving parents are going to be consistent with the new sleep habits, they relax into the boundary. They know and trust that you will keep helping them advance their independent sleep skills.

I am worried about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). What should I do?

You can reduce the chance of SIDS when you use a safe sleep environment every time you put your baby to sleep. Follow the ABC’s of sleep: Alone, Back, Crib. Here is a great handout from the NIH with guidelines for safe sleep.

Which sleep training methods do you use? 

Parent Heroes will match the method to the family. It is a customized sleep plan based on your family values and the learning style of your baby, toddler or preschooler. For babies, Parent Heroes offers Pick up/Put Down, Timed Checks, No Checks, and the Chair Method. For toddlers/preschoolers we use Timed Checks, Silent Returns, Sleep Wave, and the Chair Method.

When is the right time to sleep train?

When your family is ready to make a change. There is no “one size fits all” answer. The answer lies within you. When are you able to make the change and be consistent after you sleep train?

The shorter time your baby is sleep deprived and cranky, the easier it is to correct the sleep habits. Conversely, the longer the poor sleep habits are in use, the more time that is needed to improve sleep. Babies can see an improvement in nighttime sleep in the first 3-5 nights with the Timed Checks method. Toddlers and Preschoolers are more individual. Results may be seen in the first 4 nights, or it may take 2-3 weeks of practicing the new sleep habits to see your child transform into a Super Sleeper.

But Vanessa, tell us when you really think is the “right time” to sleep train.  

It is never too late to sleep train. You can instill healthy habits in your child at any age.

My personal opinion? I think sleep training before age 18 months is easiest on the parents and child. That’s because this is before they enter the normal developmental period—the oppositional phase, AKA “the no phase”.  

CAN YOU REALLY TEACH YOUR BABY/CHILD HOW TO SLEEP?

Yes! You can teach your child healthy, maintainable sleep habits. At Parent Heroes, we use sleep training, in combination with the sleep puzzle pieces, to teach your child how to sleep.

Tell me more about the sleep puzzle pieces.

Working with Parent Heroes, we address the 24 hour sleep system with what we call the sleep puzzle pieces. Without addressing these additional factors, you may not have sleep training success. We have many clients who start to sleep train solo without success. Once we institute the sleep puzzle pieces, we can ensure that your little one will learn to sleep! 

The Sleep Puzzle pieces are:
• Sleep Environment: How dark? Sound machine? Consistent sleeping space?
• Schedule: Naps and bedtime timed with sleepy hormones.
• Routine: Bedtime/Naptime serve as cue that sleep is coming.
• Falling asleep independently: Whatever happens during bedtime REALLY matters! 
• Remove Parent Driven Sleep Associations: The help you give your child to induce sleep. Unhire the Sleep Doula (you!)
• Sleep Training to teach self-soothing: Pick Up/Put Down, Timed Checks, No Checks, Chair, Sleep Wave, or Silent Returns.
• Be a consistent teacher of sleep habits: Be 100% on schedule and consistent with teaching. Then once you reach your sleep goals, relax to the 80% / 20 % Rule.

WHAT IS THE COMMITMENT TO SLEEP TRAIN WITH PARENT HEROES?

Consistency is key! Consistently following the sleep plan is the key to your success.  

Your family should be ready to focus on sleep for a solid 2 weeks. You will want to carve out a time when there will be no distractions from this family goal (no out of town guests, no holidays, no personal holidays—super bowl or crawfish boil—no must-attend parties, no baby swim class, no library story time, and skip trips to Target or the grocery store with your baby/child). It is vital to take all of the naps at home and avoid micro naps on the go in the car seat or stroller.  

Once you have reached your sleep training goal you can relax out and follow the 80% / 20% rule. By following the 80 % / 20 % rule post sleep training, you will ensure that you maintain your child’s status as a Super Sleeper. 

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE SLEEP CONSULTATION PROCESS WITH PARENT HEROES?

1. Fill out the contact form on my website.
2. Receive emails from Parent Heroes >> complete the sleep questionnaire >>Family Reviews Welcome video and FAQ pdf prior to booking.>>
3. Once we discover that we are a good match for coaching >> Complete the Proposal (select 1 week or 2 weeks of coaching, sign the client agreement, and pay the invoice).
4. Once payment is received, you will receive a link to my online Consult scheduler.
5. Schedule the Consult.
6. Provide daily updates on the shared Sleep Log.
7. Complete the 1-2 hour Consult. 
8. Begin the sleep training process with your child in the next few days while the consult information is fresh in your mind.
9. Spend the next 2 weeks focused on teaching sleep to your child. This means staying close to home and skipping unnecessary errands/events (I’m talking about baby swim class, Target runs and grocery shopping).
10. At the end of the consult, complete the BONUS phone call to review Future Sleep Milestones.
11. Celebrate your Super Sleeper’s amazing results!

I’M READY TO SIGN UP FOR A CONSULTATION! HOW SOON CAN I BEGIN?

Parent Heroes is typically booked out 1-2 weeks in advance. Check the Contact page for the latest information about our next opening.

What happens when my baby or toddler is teething?

A child that is sleeping well will not experience the pressure and pain of teething in the same way an overtired child will experience it. We can help our children feel better by teaching them how to sleep well. This article reviews how we as parents may presume that teething is the cause for the nighttime wake ups, when really, their brain has advanced and they are asking us to change our sleep parenting techniques. Read more here.  

If you think your child is in pain, please consult your pediatrician for a recommendation.

Can you sleep train my children for me?

My role as a parent coach is to coach you the parents — then you coach your kiddo(s). Ever hear the old Chinese Proverb: “Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime”? This is my goal. I want to teach you clearly -one time- so you can maintain these AWESOME results. Besides, achieving sleep training success will increase your parental confidence; I don’t want to steal that experience from you. My favorite coaching quote is “You have always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself” Glinda, Good Witch, Wizard of Oz. And, that is just what I will do for you and your family — help you find the power & confidence within!

WILL THE SLEEP TRAINING RESULTS LAST?

When you teach your baby, toddler, or preschooler how to fall asleep “all on their own,” the results are easy to maintain. Just keep practicing the Sleep Plan suggestions and be ready to make age-appropriate nap adjustments.   
 
Remember, “sleep is a practice.” You spend 2 weeks of being 100% focused on naps and nighttime sleep habits. Then once you reach your sleep training goals, you can soften your focus and follow the Sleep Plan 80% of the time. As long as you continue to show your child how to sleep independently, you will have the consistent sleeper you have been dreaming about.  

What is a Sleep Regression? 

The term Sleep Regression will make any parent anxious! When you read the words “sleep regression,” I want you to hear “my child’s brain advanced” and “what I used to do to help my child sleep no longer works.”   

Reach out to Parent Heroes when you feel your child’s sleep habits have changed and you need help getting them well rested again. 

Why does my child need me in order to sleep?

I want to unhire the Sleep Doula. Hint, hint: You’re the sleep doula. You, the parent, are eliciting sleep in your child by rocking, nursing, bouncing, and lying down next to your toddler at bedtime.

Whatever happens during the bedtime routine REALLY matters! If you help your little one fall asleep at bedtime, then your child will need that same help in the middle of the night (during sleep cycle transitions)!  

The best way to help transition your child to independent sleep is to scaffold them as you remove your parental bedtime routine help. We support your child with sleep training to teach them a new way to fall asleep independently.

I am breastfeeding. Can I still sleep train?

Yes! You can reach your breastfeeding goals and sleep train. During the consultation, we will review techniques to help you maintain your current milk supply. Ladies—this involves pumping. 

[When the breast is empty, it signals the brain to make more milk. If you don’t empty your breasts for 12 hours, it will likely decrease your supply. You can use the expressed milk from your night pump sessions for date nights! Now that is a win-win right there!

When will my baby stop waking at night to eat? 

Biological hunger needs are varied from person to person. It is typical to have up to one nighttime feed when a baby is 4-9 months old. Sometimes, when a night feeding is kept after this age, it can actually interfere, rather than help them sleep better. 

When my clients begin working with me, their child maybe waking up every hour to eat. Parent Heroes can help you teach your child to eat less at night and sleep soundly!

Is sleep training harmful?

No. The American Academy of Pediatrics has published this statement: “Infant Sleep Training is safe and effective," based on this five-year study.  

At Parent Heroes, we work with babies as young as 4 months old to children aged 5 years old. It is our belief that with warm, loving and consistent parenting approaches, you will build a well-attached relationship with your child..  

When working with a Sleep Coach, you will keep the learning phase of sleep training to the shortest amount of time. Our Sleep Expertise will help your family have the smoothest sleep training experience possible. 

I have Postpartum Anxiety(PPA)/Postpartum Depression(PPD)/Post /Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). How will this affect Sleep Training?  

Either parent can experience Postpartum Mood or Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) - anxiety/depression/obsessive-compulsive/PTSD. It is vital to “name” it. Postpartum Mood or Anxiety Disorders can make it harder to hear your baby crying, especially during sleep training. Parent Heroes will customize the Sleep Plan to be inclusive of the parent(s) experiencing Postpartum Mood or Anxiety Disorder.   

One of the most powerful interventions to reduce PMAD symptoms is to get the parents sleeping more. Prolonged sleep deprivation will aggravate these conditions. Studies have shown that sleep training has a 2-year protective effect on reducing depression for mothers.

Having Parent Heroes create an easy-to-follow Sleep Plan will drastically reduce the stress of figuring out how to sleep train. Let us give you the keys to success without analysis paralysis.

I THINK THERE IS SOMETHING MEDICALLY WRONG WITH MY CHILD’S SLEEP. 

If you think there is a medical problem, let’s get your child to the Pediatrician ASAP. The pediatrician can assess and decide if you need to be referred to the ENT or Pediatric Sleep Doctor (Pulmonologist).

My child has an ear infection. Can I sleep train?

No. Ear infections are typically painful. If your child is ill with a fever, GI virus, or something painful, you should delay sleep training and respond to your child’s needs at night. Seek guidance from your pediatrician.

What are your qualifications?

I am a Certified Child Sleep Consultant. My course work with the Family Sleep Institute included more than 250 hours of coursework (3 times more than the average certified sleep consultant) and I seek continuing education yearly about pediatric sleep.

I am also a Certified Oh Crap! Potty Training Consultant. I am certified by the author of Oh Crap! Potty Training, Jamie Glowacki. I receive regular mentorship from Jamie directly. I use this specialty to help me determine whether toddlers and preschoolers are waking at night because of sleep issues or potty issues.

Prior to opening Parent Heroes, I was a full-time practicing nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 20 years. I am an Ivy League graduate from the University of Pennsylvania (1999). Currently, I work part-time as a Pediatric Nurse and part-time as a Child Sleep Consultant.  

I am a Baby Sleep Expert (hands-on experience as a nurse and as a sleep consultant). I have helped hundreds of families sleep train their babies, toddlers and preschoolers. I can’t wait to bring peace and rest back into your family life. Let’s sleep train together.

Do you come to my home? 

No. I work virtually via phone or video calls. My philosophy is that I want to coach you, so you can coach your child/baby. I want you to have the joy from the “I did it” feeling you get when you teach your child how to sleep.

Remember that proverb: if you teach someone how to fish? I don’t want you dependent on me and my skills to give your family sleep . I want to develop your skills to maintain this sleep practice.  

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Child Sleep Consulting.
based in Austin, Texas.