catching zzz’s: my consultation with jennifer gilman, child sleep consultant!

stranger: “awww your baby is adorable!” you: “thank you!” stranger: “is she a good sleeper?” … i’ve always heard that there would be a whole slew of comments and questions i’d get the minute i became a mother but this is easily the most common and typical conversation that i’ve had with nearly everyone who has met my daughter. what does “is she a good sleeper” mean, anyway? at 14 weeks, an infant’s schedule is completely unpredictable. does she sleep a billion hours a day? YES…are those hours the same every day? NO… does she give a hoot if she wakes me at 4am? the bags under my eyes say absolutely NOT. in reality – we were blessed with a “good sleeper” by society’s standards. she’s easy to put down, she adjusted quickly to her crib, and once she’s aware that it’s bedtime she (usually) stays in her crib for 7 hours straight give or take. but even with this current reality – i’m well aware that at only 3 months old, all of this could change on a dime – and FAST. so i called in the “big guns” and met with jennifer gilman, new jersey’s certified child sleep expert with good night sleep site. read on to hear about our consultation, and for some of my favorite tips & tricks that i learned during our time together!

jennifer was trained through the family sleep institute after making every mistake in the book when it came to her first born (9 years ago). after her daughter came along, she was determined to make positive changes. she hired a sleep consultant for her family and had quick success – which fueled her passion for sleep and ignited the spark that would ultimaely become her career. with such a personal approach to sleep consulting, all of jen’s clients are listened to and the “game plan” is tailored to each family’s specific needs. she’s been in her new role as sleep expert for two years – as of today, she has helped over 100 families achieve sleep success! so i picked her brain, and i feel SO prepared for any curveballs indie may decide to throw my way.

babies are tiny people, right? so the things that affect us, affect them too – sometimes tenfold. think about how you feel when you’re sleep deprived: moody, foggy and sometimes when you let things get too far… sick. when baby is sleeping well, their learning and memory, mood and overall health improves. according to jen, an important step to beginning your stellar sleep journey is creating a sleep sanctuary for your little one. that means a consistent, dark, quiet and cool sleep environment. make naps a daytime priority, introduce a calming bedtime routine, and make sure whatever you do that you are comfortable and confident with your family’s sleep routine! this is something you’ll be doing every day, so it’s important that it feels natural for you!

one of my big questions for jen was about pacifiers. indie is straight up addicted to hers. in the event she DOES wake up in the middle of the night… slipping her the pacifier has literally always made her doze immediately back off. but what about those random irritable nights where she’s “asking” for her pacifier back every 45 minutes?! i’d rather pull an all-nighter than doze off only to be abruptly awoken the minute i pass back into REM. that is SO miserable. jen told me all about the “pick-up-put-down” method of sleep training which works for way more than just the paci lovers. this method is a great option for parents with babies ages 8 weeks to 4 months old. it involves giving your baby the chance to fall asleep on her own in her crib. if she doesn’t have success or needs soothing, you can go in and pick her up at set timed intervals. once she’s calm, try again! the more you let her practice falling asleep on her own, the faster she will learn how! i’ll definitely be trying this one the next time we have a tough night. speaking of…

another question i had for jen during our session was about the “four month sleep regression” that i keep hearing about. indie is about to turn that corner in a matter of weeks…. and i’ll be damned if the progress we made goes right out the window, so i jumped on the opportunity to be overly prepared. i was shocked to learn that this regression actually isn’t a regression at all! at around 4 months, a baby’s sleep cycles begin to mature… but our smooth adult transitions take some time to perfect – hence mom and dad feeling a “regression” from their child. as indie’s body learns to transition from one sleep cycle to the next, it may actually wake her – and she may need help to fall back asleep every 60, 90 or 120 minutes. instead of looking at this as a setback, jennifer helped me to understand that it’s actually a leap FORWARD in the right direction! think of it as your baby making the progress that he or she needs towards eventual “mature” sleep patterns.

my visit with jen was SO informative. i learned a whole lot about eliminating naps, transitioning from crib-to-bed, even some travel tips! and to top it all off, she gifted me her favorite sound machine, a cute mug, and our favorite halo sleep sack in the next size up so that indie always has one to grow into! i genuinely believe that these experts can help a family in need. if you’re a new mom like me, even a consultation just to be prepared for what’s to come is a worthy investment! our parents might say “we never did any of that when you were babies” – but the reality is that they never HAD these resources! sleep consultants are a godsend and their passion for passing their knowledge on to new parents is one that we all should take advantage of. many thanks to jennifer gilman for teaching me the tricks of the sleep trade! check her out on instagram if you want to book her services! she even offers complimentary 15 minute introductory calls! have you ever used a sleep consultant? what’s the number one habit you formed for successful sleep with your littles? follow along on instagram for more fun summer collabs, coming down the pipeline! 

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