Even expert nannies get stumped! That’s why SitterCycle called Dana Obleman, famed baby sleep training expert, to answer the most challenging questions from nannies regarding children’s eating and sleeping issues. Dana began life as a sleep expert after sleepless nights with her first child and has now helped thousands of parents and caregivers navigate the sleep issues they face with their children through her Sleep Sense Program.
Don’t have time to listen to everything? Read some of Dana’s advice below:
Dana, on going from being a sleepless and frustrated parent to sleeping expert.
Back then there were no such thing as a sleep coach. Everybody has a tidbit or two of advice. I can remember the doctor saying “oh it’s normal” or the nurse saying, “you could try the Ferber method or just let him cry it out.” The little snippet or two of advice here or there were not really that helpful for me and just left me wondering how do I start, what’s the process and how do I let it go on? All of these questions were left unanswered. So what I did is gathered the sleep books out there and picked and chose what made sense for us and for our parenting philosophy. Then I spent the next 2 or 3 months working on my own son and figuring out what works best for him and what works best for us. Once we tackled it and solved it I was the happiest parent on the planet. Out of that came for me a real need, for someone who would sit me down and talk this through, help me get a plan in place, and be with me through the process.
It was a lot of trial and error, and we kept really close track of what was working for him [my son] and what wasn’t, and began also talking with other mums that I met in the community and what were their struggles.
On how parents navigate all of the advice on topics such as sleep training and finding what works for their child.
There’s so much advice out there and it can be so contradictory. It’s a time when we’re so fragile as parents. My best advice, is try to limit yourself to the advice you get. The farther along you go down the path the more conflicting advice you will get so ask yourself:
- What do you want to see for yourself?
- What’s the best decision for your family?
- What’s the best picture of yourself as a parent?
- How are you going to get there?
Start there and make a plan for yourself.
How can nannies balance giving advice to parents.
Feel glad that this parent has asked for your advice. You want to be mindful that you don’t step on parents’ toes or make them feel guilty or bad about what they’ve already been doing. Make sure you start by explaining a situation where you’ve seen a solution work, and what you did to make the process or the situation better. You’re just giving some examples of things that have worked well.
A case where a 2-year old is struggling with her daytime nap routine. When can she drop her nap?
Fairly common and has to do with the child’s age, this could just be a developmental phase. Toddlers may use their nap time as vocal training, with my children it phased out, and it may have to do with the new things that are happening in the child’s life. If it continued after several weeks, it may be time to consider an earlier bed time.
Dropping the nap will be based on the choice of the parent. Children may take a nap during the day, but there may be issues at bed time. That can translate into game playing and coming out, etc. If you see this becoming a problem at night then my first option would be looking at eliminating the daytime nap.
It takes the body about 4 weeks to adjust to a significant change in sleep pattern. You can try some quiet time in the afternoon to get used to the adjustment.
Once you’ve decided to pull the nap, just go with it.
Dana is the creator of The Sleep Sense Program, a no-nonsense resource for helping parents solve their children’s sleep issues. And also the author of The Food Sense Program, No-Sweat Potty Training and Kids: The Manual. After her first child she and her husband suffered from sleep deprivation during the first few months of her son’s life as she struggled to deal with his sleep issues. None of the parenting books available seemed to fit her family’s needs. Frustrated with the lack of practical advice, she researched and developed her own child sleep training program which became the basis of her first book, The Sleep Sense Program.
Over the past 8 years she’s helped more than 30,000 people solve their biggest parenting challenges.