You don’t realize how important sleep is until suddenly you don’t have enough of it.
That’s how I felt when our little bundle of joy first entered this world.
Couple a lack of sleep with postpartum depression and I was a disaster, to say the least. But, through the midst of all that, I found some amazing sleep experts that I love.
Everyone says newborns sleep a lot, and they do, but sleep was hard for our little girl.
She had a lot of reflux issues and feeding was hard, which made sleeping hard.
I’ve since learned that eating and sleeping truly go hand in hand for newborns.
My husband and I tried so many different things to get our baby to sleep and she did for a little bit in there, but eventually, we hit the 4-month sleep regression early (around 3.5 months), and sleep became a disaster again.
By 5 months, my daughter was only sleeping for 1-2 hours at a time at night and it was just hard. We couldn’t figure anything out, no one was any help. But, we knew that this wasn’t normal.
I thought maybe it was time to do some sleep training, but it just didn’t seem right.
Something still felt off.
One evening, my husband suggested we bottle-feed breast milk for her last bedtime feed instead of directly breastfeeding. She ate close to 8 oz and then slept for 4 hours straight before waking up to feed again!
I was in complete awe.
No one had ever suggested that she wasn’t getting enough off of me at one time while breastfeeding. She was gaining weight beautifully, but after the newborn stage, my flow wasn’t fast enough so she would get tired of eating and we just never realized it.
After that night, I switched to pumping exclusively and our whole world changed.
I still breastfed overnight, but suddenly sleep was becoming a thing for our little girl and I was only doing 1 or 2 feeds a night.
It was then that I knew I needed to start sleep training. And, honestly, we had a beautiful sleep foundation that I had cultivated.
She slept in total darkness, with a sound machine, in her crib, with a sleep sack. We were doing all the right things, and I knew she was capable of sleeping through the night.
I then bought and followed Taking Cara Babies 5-24 Month Sleep Plan.
And, that’s what we used to get my little one sleeping through the night, which happened around 6-7 months.
Since then almost every night has been amazing sleep not just for me and my husband, but for our daughter. And when it’s not (because life isn’t perfect) it’s okay and I know what to do.
There have been sick days (oh hey Covid) and random wakeups where mom is needed, but I don’t worry about messing up sleep anymore because I know I have a great sleeper. She knows how to fall asleep independently and that’s what is vital.
Although I purchased Cara’s program, there are so many other sleep experts I follow or have reached out to for advice.
But, you have to be careful when it comes to the world of sleep consultants because some are just bad apples (there are some in every industry, let’s be honest!).
So, to help you weed through things when it comes to baby sleep experts, below are my top five sleep consultants and a little about each one.
Taking Cara Babies
Obviously, this is one of my top recommendations because I purchased one of Cara’s programs. But, Cara is really one of the best sleep experts when it comes to babies.
On top of being a pediatric sleep consultant, she’s a mom of four, a former neonatal nurse, and her husband is a pediatrician. She knows a lot of things.
Cara has wonderful advice about everything, not just sleep. I still watch and read every post she puts out on Instagram because she always has great tips.
I’ve learned so much about babies and what is normal and what is not. I think some of the problems we had in the newborn stage were from a lack of understanding as new parents.
We had no help. No friends or family in the area.
We were scared to have her sleep any other way than on her back in the crib/bassinet. (I can’t tell you how much this was preached to us by the hospital…we were so scared of SIDS). It was all just a lot.
If I could go back and do the newborn thing over again I would have purchased Taking Cara Babies’ newborn class too because I think it would have helped.
Cara’s newborn course helps you navigate the newborn stage. And, if you can, she recommends starting the course before your baby is born as it’s a great way to prepare for a new baby.
You can find Cara here on Instagram!
Little Z’s Sleep Consulting
I stumbled across Becca when I was endlessly Googling things about sleep experts and babies.
What drew me to her was first how approachable she is. And, second, she is based in Richmond, VA, so she is in my state which I thought was cool.
Little Z’s is great because they go up to 5 years old for sleep issues, so there is lots of helpful information about toddlers.
And you quickly realize as a parent that toddlers become more relevant than babies because your child is a toddler a lot longer than they are a newborn!
The courses from Little Z’s are a bit more affordable than Taking Cara Babies. Becca frequently has discounts or promos running for her various courses and as a new parent that is just a bonus.
You can find Becca here on IG!
Lindsay with Tweet Dreamzz is amazing and works so hard at what she does.
I have messaged her several times on Instagram with questions and she always responds. (I actually recently sent her a question when my 1.5-year-old fell asleep in a church rocking chair at 10:30 am the other day…insert facepalm emoji here).
Lindsay is a twin mom and has had some unique obstacles with one of her daughters having a club foot issue.
All in all, she is just a great resource and so nice!
She also does an awesome Q&A session on Fridays (usually). You can submit any questions you have on sleep to her there!
If I ever need one-on-one help with my child’s sleep; she’s going to be my first call.
I highly recommend reaching out to her if you have any sleep issues or questions, and consider scheduling a one-on-one phone call with her too!
Sleep and Wellness Coach
Allison was recommended to me from one of my area mom groups when I was first looking into sleep experts and trying to figure out how it all worked.
She is based out of Charlottesville, VA, and someone in that mom group had used her services so she shared her experience with Allison with me.
I then started following Allison on Instagram and Facebook and somehow ended up on her email list too and I’m so glad I did.
She now has a Podcast that focuses on so much more than just baby sleep, and I love getting the emails when a new episode is posted.
Yes, she does have newborn courses, but I’m finding she is a great resource as my child gets older.
Her podcast has talked about fitness routines, practicing self-care at home, pediatric dentistry…so much more than just sleep. And, as a fellow mom, I’m here for it all!
I honestly wish we were friends in real life because she seems like such a great person and her content is so good for my mental health as a new mom too!
Last, but not least, is Courtney Zentz founder of Tiny Transitions. Courtney has a team of sleep consultants, The Slumber Squad, located across the US that she has helped and trained.
Courtney is also a Postpartum Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, and an Infant Mental Health Provider. She gets that sleep isn’t just important, it is necessary, for both babies and parents.
I am a member of her private Facebook group, Slumber Made Simple, and that is truly a wonderful resource.
I’ve been able to ask questions to a group of people and get great feedback and answers about sleep and what to do when an obstacle comes my way.
I also enjoy answering other moms in the group and providing some advice based on my experience and understanding.
I like that I’m able to share some of the knowledge that I’ve gained…no matter where it came from. I may not be one of these sleep experts, but I have learned some things along the way!
Visit Tiny Transitions Sleep Coach on Instagram!
I know sleep training is controversial for some, but sleep is so important for everyone in life, including babies.
If you are in the throngs of the newborn stage, just know that it will get better.
There are people and resources out there that can help you…and no you don’t just leave your child in the room to cry it out all night. We never did that.
If you are struggling with sleep, take a look at the sleep experts I’ve listed here. They all have so many great resources and tips for free so it’s a great place to start!