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Friday, January 23, 2015

Amazing Mom Feature: Jill Parker, Little Dreamers Consulting {& Giveaway}

“Sleep is essential for our well-being and healthy sleep habits is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child.  That I am able to help families get the sleep they need to be as healthy and as happy as can be, is extremely fulfilling.  I love my job!” 

~ Jill Parker, Little Dreamers Consulting

In the not too distant past I remember the exhausted state of having a newborn: the round the clock feeds, the soar body during birth recovery, complete lack of energy, and navigating the exciting, overwhelming territory of new parenthood. For the first while I couldn't tell you if I was upside down or right side up. And there were definitely days that brushing my teeth and having a shower felt like a long- forgotten luxury. And in April I'll be back in that club, but with an 22 month old to make sure I'm more than occupied. I worked hard with Ari to get her into a sleep routine, and I promise you it didn't happen by accident and there were times when I almost caved in from exhaustion, but I persevered knowing that my hard work in the short term would pay off for everyone in the family in the form of quality sleep (and it did- she has slept for 8+ hours straight since 4 months).

Since starting The Pampered Baby a common concern that I've heard about from friends and readers is helping your baby to develop healthy sleep habits. Since it's something all Moms face- whether this is your first baby or not- I thought it would be a great time to talk about sleep habits once baby arrives and am excited to introduce you to the lovely Jill Parker of Little Dreamers Sleep Consulting. If you've been wondering how to get your baby (and you) the sleep you need, read on to learn more about this Amazing Mom, what she does, & the 3 most common mistakes she sees parents make when developing sleep habits with baby.

A little introduction from Jill:
I am a certified Sleep SenseTM consultant.  I offer sleep-deprived families solutions for establishing healthy sleep habits and routines so the whole family can get the sleep they need to be their happiest and healthiest.  When the opportunity to become a Sleep SenseTM consultant presented itself, I knew it would be the right fit for me!  Having been an elementary school teacher, I always enjoyed working with children (and their families), helping them to be their best. Since having my second son, I had been at home with my boys and could only dream of eventually finding the perfect job that would also allow me the flexibility to be at home with them (at least part of the time).  Being a sleep consultant provides me a fulfilling career and the ability to be at home with my kiddos.

What made you choose this career?
I have been there, a sleep-deprived Mommy of a 4.5 month old baby and a toddler, knowing that my lack of sleep was affecting not just me but the well-being of my family.  My baby was not getting the consolidated nighttime sleep he needed, my toddler was getting a very grumpy, impatient and distracted Mommy and my husband was missing an engaged partner and I was certainly paying no attention to my own well-being and health.  I finally found the Sleep SenseTM program and it was life-changing.  

I believe so much in the program and know first-hand how it can improve the health and overall well-being of a family.  I was thrilled to be hand-picked and trained by Dana Obleman herself (author and creator of the Sleep SenseTM Method) three years ago.  It has been an amazing and rewarding journey, educating and providing parents the tools to guide their little ones to healthy sleep hygiene and skills. 

What do your services cost?
At this time, my full, private consultations range from $325 - $545 (half and full night packages are also available upon request).  I also offer group workshops, starting at $250.

What is your favourite part of what you do? What is the biggest challenge? 
My favourite part of what I do is helping babies finally learn the skills they need to get the sleep they need to grow, learn, and develop as they should.  Just as importantly, I provide the parents the tools to support and maintain this new sleep routine so that the whole family gets the sleep they need.  Parents can then be the best parents, partners, and professionals that they can be. 

The biggest challenge is that not every baby is the same and each responds differently to a Sleep Plan.  While I customize each plan using the Sleep SenseTM method, I love the challenge of determining what small changes will help each baby have success as quickly and as easily as possible.  

Any advice to other ladies/ moms looking to start their own business? 
To start your own business takes a lot of time, energy, hard work and commitment. Before you embark on your journey, be sure you are passionate about what you are doing, be patient, and most of all, don’t get to the point where you feel you are compromising what is truly important to you. Work hard on the business but work hard not to compromise your personal priorities.  

What are the 3 most common mistakes  parents make with baby's sleep?

1. Always putting their baby into their sleep space already asleep.   
If a baby isn’t given the opportunity to become responsible for putting themselves to sleep without help, baby will learn to associate sleep with the help the parents are providing i.e. rocking and nursing to sleep.   This will lead to a situation where baby just isn’t able to put themselves to sleep or to fall back  asleep on their own unless the parent continues to recreate  the same scenario that originally got their baby to sleep in the first place. 

2. Keeping baby up too long.
Parents often think that keeping a baby up longer will either help them fall asleep or result in longer stretches of sleep.  The opposite is actually true! If a baby is awake for too long between sleeps, it will become very difficult for them to fall asleep.  An overtired baby will be overstimulated resulting in a real struggle to fall asleep and then to sleep peacefully.  Keeping age-appropriate stretches of “awake time” can go a long way toward happy and peaceful sleep times: 
  • 0 - 3 months:  Will show signs of being tired after only 45- 1 hour of awake time
  • 3-7 months: 1.5 to 2.5 hours of awake time
  • 7-9 months:  2.5 – 3.5  hours of awake time
  • 9 – 18 months: 3.5 – 5.5 hours of awake time
  • 18 months – 3 years: 5.5 hours
3. Lack of consistency 
Babies thrive on consistency.  If a baby's sleep routine and sleep space varies greatly from sleep time to sleep time, they will not build any association or understanding of where and when sleep should happen.  Providing your baby with a little routine before sleep to help cue them that sleep time is approaching and then to place the, in a regular sleep space for each sleep time will help them create healthy sleep hygiene and prepare them for the best sleep possible. 

Jill Parker is the owner of Little Dreamers Consulting,  and is a certified Sleep SenseTM consultant based out of Delta, British Columbia, where she lives with her husband and her two active and well-rested sons.  Having personally used the Sleep SenseTM Program with her own son, Jill understands how establishing healthy sleep habits is essential to a family’s health and well-being.  Jill prides herself in offering a personal approach to helping families reach their sleep goals and is thrilled to have helped many families locally, across Canada, in the U.S. and the U.K. over the past three years.  After working with Jill, families understand the importance of sleep, have the tools for establishing long-term, healthy sleep habits and, of course, are sleeping well!  Jill feels so fortunate to have turned a passion for great sleep into a rewarding career, helping parents give one of the greatest gifts they could give their child… the gift of sleep! 

For more information about Jill & her services, check out her website and find her on Facebook & Twitter.

And don't forget to enter our contest with Jill to win an Aden + Anais swaddle blanket! Go to the blog's Contests page to enter!

Image Sources:
Nurery: Piccolielfi 
Photo collage & headshot provided by Jill Parker

January posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting