Sleep Training Tips from a Nanny/Mama Who Knows!

Getting a good night’s sleep for anyone is incredibly important, but for new parents it can seem like a far off dream(she’s got puns!). After nannying professionally in Austin for 11 years(including much sleep training of children from infants to toddler age), and now being the mother of a fully sleep-trained baby, I am excited to share some of my tips for sleep training your child. My partner is offshore six months out of the year, 28 days gone, 28 days home, so I am a single parent, half of the time, and I highly suggest sleep training for single parents and couples alike!

 

The first few numbers are more of a checklist involvingwhether or not your family is ready. This seems like a no-brainer, who wouldn’t be ready to sleep through the night uninterrupted? But there are many moving parts to the snooze machine, and checking them all is important.

1. Is your baby ready? I generally suggest waiting to sleep train until your infant is at least 4 months. By this age he/she usually weighs enough, is no longer swaddled and can wear a sleep sack, which I highly suggest, and can take down a larger pre-bed feeding to keep him/her full overnight. As always, consult your pediatrician if you have doubts, questions.
2. Are you, the parent/s ready to have your child sleeping in his/her room? Moving your child to his/her own room is necessary to sleep train. For breast-feeding mothers, I suggest pumping some nighttime bottles if you want to share sleep training duties with your partner. For some parenting styles, for example those who follow Attachment Parenting, sleep training is not a good fit, to each her/his own!
3. Are you and your partner on the same page? This seems like another no-brainer but make sure you and your partner discuss sleep training, and what the method you choose entails, specifically before you begin. I thought as a nanny of 11 years and with many sleep training successes under my belt my husband would defer to me and follow instructions, cut to night one, he folded like a cheap suit and snuck in under the guise of “changing a diaper” and interrupted our whole rhythm! Single parents, you can do this! Couples, you can do this, but only if working together!

The next four tips involve environment, making sure the when, where and how of your sleep training is handled. Sleep training is method, not magic, I always say, and as with any method, setting is key.

4. Can you devote a decent amount of time to complete sleep training? My sleep training method works in 1-3 nights, however I suggest setting aside at least one full week when every night is spent at home, and strictly on the sleep schedule you are working toward. For example, attempting to sleep train during the holidays when your family may be traveling or having overnight guests is not ideal.

5. Are you properly equipped? Besides the will to sleep, and a can-do attitude, there are several products I recommend that can aid you in the process. White noise machine, aforementioned sleep sack (I use muslin in summer, fleece in colder months), fan if you do not have a ceiling one, always want air moving in baby’s room. I suggest keeping room dark obviously though black-out curtains are not a must, and actually it aids in your child’s ability to decipher night from day if minimal light can distinguish the two.
6. Have your created a safe and soothing space for your babe? In addition to the environmental aids of white noise machine, fan, and taking lighting into consideration, your child’s crib should be free of anything soft besides a fitted crib sheet, and your baby. No bumpers, stuffed animals, blankets, nada, as your pediatrician will tell you. Having a clear crib will keep your child safe and will also prevent any objects from waking him/her, disrupting sleep. Optimal temperature for snoozing babes is 68-72 F, and will be most comfortable for your babe in pajamas and sleep sack.Your child’s room should be a soft, quiet sanctuary. Keeping your energy soothing and relaxed is as important as anything else. Try consciously taking deep, calming breaths any time you enter your child’s room. When your baby feels you relax, he/she will feel calmer as well.
7. Have you established a routine?Have a repertoire of lullabies, prayers, soothing rhymes pre-planned for the time after bottle, before putting baby in crib. I love rockers or gliders, but really a chair will do. It is important to take time after baby has finished bottle to burp, rock, soothe, sing, enjoy the time together. I make sure babies are sleepy, but not asleep when I put them in crib. I also have a verbal cue for when they transition from me to crib, whether a soothing shushing, or sweet phrase repeated. Eventually your child will associate this sound with transitioning from you to bed and being able to predict this move will be reassuring to him/her. Bedtime routine is a special time for you and your child, it will evolve from shushing, to stories, to books, to conversations, and is a time that should feel bonding and precious, not rushed, stressful, or dreaded.
8. Are you, the parent/s properly equipped? I highly suggest video monitors for sleep training parents. The purpose of sleep training is to allow your child the freedom and space to develop his/her own self-soothing techniques. Being able to not just hear, but see your child while these skills are being developed is not only reassuring, but pretty amazing. Whether your child is a side-to-side rocker, singer, thumb-sucker, thrasher, or rhythmic fusser, every baby has his/her own physical habits that help him/her sleep. When sleep training some of my former nannying charges, to simply hear them, I would think they were crying and crying only. It was only after I was able to watch the monitor that I could see clear as day that some would be fussing but also rolling from side to side, soothing themselves, or kicking their feet and sucking on their hands, soothing themselves. My son is a thumbsucker, and an idiosyncratic one at that. He HAS to have a small bit of material from his sleep sack with his thumb when he first puts it in his mouth, then and only then he will roll onto his side and suck his thumb while sleeping. This has been the case from night one. Had we rushed in when he first started fussing instead of watching the monitor and seeing that he was just trying to get that fold of material next to his thumb, we would have set ourselves back. Observe your child, watch him/her self-soothe. It is pre-tty cool!

Now that y’all have these tips, tricks, and product ideas to implement into your own sleep training method, go forth and sleep, “to sleep perchance to dream.”


Get Some Rest, Y’all!

 

Well, y’all I am back! After a major hiatus from writing, a plunge into a super-fulfilling nanny schedule for 2 years, and the birth of my son last year, I am excited to announce my sleep training and night nannying business! My 11 years of professional nannying included sleep-training infants, working through napping snafus in toddlers, and solving sleep issues in older kiddos. I also completed the sleep training of my son, who has slept 12 hours per night since just shy of 4 months, he just turned one year old. Over the summer I sleep trained two infants via phone, in 3 nights or less. And so, with my degree in Psychology (with a minor in Family and Child Development), nannying, sleep training, and new mama experience, I am excited to open my business to any/all who would be interested in a quality night’s sleep for parents and baby! Below I have outlined a list of services and prices to maximize my time, and your moolah. Hope to hear from and help y’all out soon!

 

In-Home Sleep Training Consultation 1 Hour + Custom Sleep Plan $175

This includes a full rundown of any changes to baby’s environment that will help us, including a recommended products list. It will let me get to know your family’s needs, routine, baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule, and determine how best to proceed with your custom sleep plan. I will then create your custom sleep plan and send via email.

 

In-Home Sleep Training 8-12 hours/1-3 nights $25 per hour

I will come to your home, stay overnight, and put sleep training plan into practice. From then on, the parents will be in charge of keeping up with routine I have set in place and being consistent.

 

Phone Consultation + Custom Sleep Plan (for Long-Distance clientele) 1 hour $150

This includes a discussion of your current nursery environment, routine, family’s needs, baby’s current feeding and sleeping schedule, so I can better determine a custom course of action. I will create your custom sleep plan and send via email.

 

Sleep Training On-Call,

1 night unlimited texts and calls $150

3 night package unlimited texts & calls $350

I am just a text or phone call away, troubleshooting any issues that arise and giving support, encouragement, and advice on the spot.

 

Night Nanny In-Home Consultation 1 hour CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

I will come to your home, get to know your routine, location of necessary items, meet your baby, and discuss exactly what your needs are. Nursing on demand? I will bring your baby to your bedside. Bottles all the way? I will take over all feeding duties. We will discuss it all; I am here to help!

 

Night Nanny Services 8-12 hours/ 1-3 nights CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

While you sleep I will tend to your infant’s every need, feed, and all with my trademark care!

 

Email Cheryl Milan for availability & payment info!

misscheryl223@gmail.com

Testimonials:

“Cheryl fully understands the difficulties of a baby who isn’t sleeping enough. Her knowledge, love, and care is evident (even over the phone from another state) and effective. In just a few nights my daughter went from waking up 2-3 times per night to sleeping 11 hours straight!! Cheryl gave great ideas and continuous encouragement along the way.” – Jenny T. Orlando, Florida

“Cheryl’s sleep training worked like a charm! After a phone consultation, Cheryl, with her vast experience and understanding of babies and children, was able to give us a plan of attack. She maintained constant communication throughout the process, following up and even encouragement. After a short three days, our 4 month-old went from waking and eating two to three times a night to sleeping through the night…much to the delight of Mom and Dad!” -Leslie O. San Antonio, TX 

“After we welcomed our third child it became clear that our family’s schedule was going to drastically shift. With two older children in preschool and endless after school activities, etc. Mila, 3, was missing that predictable nap schedule and so was I! After speaking to Cheryl about my concerns she suggested some small changes I could make to reintroduce nap time. I have to say, I was reluctant, but after a few days my girl is back to taking an afternoon nap. She hasn’t done that since she was 1.5! I’m so grateful to Cheryl for a little bit of mommy time and a rested, happy girl!” -Sarah N. Austin, TX

“Mrs. Cheryl was our true Supernanny!  She was a valuable and integral part of our family for many years and helped us not only with sleep training, but many other child development issues, as well.  Her wealth of experience and knowledge in child development make her the perfect Supernanny/Sleep Trainer for any family.” -Crickett B. Austin, TX

“Cheryl came into our lives almost 7 years ago, when my first daughter was born. I was a nervous first-time mom, but Cheryl’s warm personality and extensive experience quickly eased any anxiety I had. She helped us in so many ways- our baby’s playtimes, mealtimes, and sleeping schedule. I can’t recommend Cheryl enough! She is truly a professional with kids of all ages, and our children love her as much as we do.” -Kendra & Jacob Y. Fairfield, TX

“Miss Cheryl’s expert guidance in sleep training has been life-changing for all of us. When I reached out to her for help (as in “help!!!”), my son at 8 months old, had gone from one short wake-up to feed to waking up every other hour and wailing if I put him back in his crib. I was emotionally and physically exhausted, hanging on by a fraying thread. As a person who tends to over-think things, having Miss Cheryl’s expert coaching by phone and text enabled me to get out of my own head and trust that I was doing exactly what my son needed to help him learn how to sleep through the night. Even though she coached me remotely, Miss Cheryl was very perceptive about what changes to our routine and messaging to our son would be most effective for him. And she was right! Even though we had to travel just days after starting sleep training, our son was sleeping through the night is less than a week. You are the best Miss Cheryl – thank you!“ -Jen W. Boulder, CO

“When our daughter was 4 months old, we enlisted Cheryl to help us with our daily routine. She observed our current schedule and made some gentle tweaks to help us prepare for the big sleep training moment. I’ve read the baby books and referenced blogs and articles, but honestly, nothing has compared to having an expert guide us through the sleep training process. Cheryl’s expertise in child development and her encouragement during tough nights was crucial in keeping us on track and committed to following her personalized plan. It really wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. Our baby sleeps through the night and our daily schedule is predictable. We cannot recommend Cheryl enough.” -Carly X-S Princeton, NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Believe in Fairies!

Last Spring I had the good fortune of hearing from my pal and former nanny (now mommy/nanny/fairy enthusiast) about the Faerieland exhibit at the Zilker Botanical Gardens. I immediately though of Rebel and how much fun he would have scoping out whatever magic existed in such a place. Since he and I had two days per week together while big brother Doc was in school, it was the perfect late morning activity! fairy Read the rest of this entry »


Pic Post: Dandelions

My nannying charges are always showering me with gifts, mostly of the “found” nature. I receive rocks, am presented with feathers, am given acorns, marbles, pieces of string, the sky is the limit! I cherish each of these gifts, appreciating the sweet sentiments behind each little offering.

If dandelions were diamonds, I would be dripping in jewels:)

If dandelions were diamonds, I would be dripping in jewels:)


My Funny Valentines

Enjoy Ella Fitzgerald’s gorgeous voice as you give this a read!

The “Month of Love” is all too short in my opinion. March comes way too soon after the month of Valentine’s Day. But I can’t complain, as my February was filled with all kinds of love, especially from my nannying charges. As previously stated I am a big celebrator of Valentine’s Day, and bring love-themed treats to all my nannying homes, this year, in the form of cookies, candies, and Valentine-y books. Read the rest of this entry »


Tidbit from the Kidwits

While playing catch with Doc, I noticed Rebel was trying with some urgency to pull down my sweatpants(yep, Miss Cheryl the fashion plate!).

Me: “Why are you pulling down my pants, dude?”
Rebel: “Because I looove you!”

Ha! Once I stopped laughing, I firmly but good-naturedly informed him that sometimes, loving someone means letting her keep her pants on. I feel that this lesson can’t be learned young enough these days. Boys are getting fresher and fresher!


My Most Favorite Valentine

(click here for a love song to accompany this post!)

val3

Valentine’s Day is here! A day to celebrate love in all its myriad forms: the love of friends, significant others, family, pets, chocolate, romantic comedies, romantic tear-jerkers, chocolate-covered anything, all of the world is in love with love on Valentine’s Day. Your Mrs. Cheryl is no exception.  Read the rest of this entry »