blog - well rested baby

(Photo by Harmon Weston Photography
Heather Andersen Family PhotoHeather officially joined Amy as a new member of the Well Rested Baby team in October of 2014. Heather first learned about Well Rested Baby when she saw a company postcard in one of the local children’s stores in Salem, MA, where she frequently shopped and participated in infant classes with her then 10-month-old daughter, Claire. At the time, Claire was sleeping pretty decently at night but Heather could just not get Claire to take more than 30-45 minute naps. After one particularly challenging napping day, Heather decided to call Amy and learn more about her services. Her first reaction when speaking to Amy on the phone was instant relief. Amy was delightful to speak with and made Heather feel so confident that Claire’s sleep issues were common and could easily be fixed. By making tweaks to Claire’s schedule, as well as giving tips and strategies to help her become a better self-soother, within a very short period of time, Claire was taking two wonderful naps each day as well as self-soothing wonderfully at all sleep periods. Heather was hooked. She immediately became a huge fan of Amy’s work and began following her blog, FB page and read many of Amy’s articles. A few months later, Heather again worked with Amy on Claire’s transition from two naps to one. As a person who has always loved science (Heather has an undergraduate minor in Science), she found the science behind sleep fascinating and became very interested in the work of a Pediatric Sleep Consultant.

Fast forward 2 years, to a few months ago, when Heather had the tremendous opportunity to join Well Rested Baby and work with Amy, someone that she had grown to respect enormously over the years, both professionally and personally. Heather was beyond excited to have the chance to help families in the same way that she had been helped over 2 years ago. Heather is a huge believer that healthy sleep habits are crucial to the entire family, not just children, and cannot wait to help deserving families get back to the rested state they weren’t sure was even possible. Helping children and entire families sleep better is incredibly rewarding work and Heather is so proud and honored to be part of Well Rested Baby.

Prior to joining Well Rested Baby, Heather was an Event Planner in the Financial Services Industry in New York City for over 5 years and holds a certificate in Meeting Planning & Event Management from New York University. Heather has also taught third grade and has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Born and raised in Wisconsin (yes, she is a Cheesehead and an avid Badger fan), she joined her then boyfriend, Will, in Hoboken, NJ in 2003 (Amy and Heather lived in Hoboken over a very similar time period yet never met!) and she and Will both fell in love with NYC and the surrounding areas. Extremely proud to now call New England home, Heather lives with her husband Will, their two children, Claire (3 years) and Charlie (10 months), and their 7-year-old Golden Retriever, Madison, in the wonderful community of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

I don’t know about you, but the recent talk about all of the viruses out there has me a bit on edge. I have been doing everything in my power to keep us all as healthy as possible this germ season. A 20+ second hand wash every ten minutes (well, not that often but you get the idea) – check. Apple a day – check. Anything and everything to keep our immune systems in gear. Do you know what else is a key part of keeping us healthy? SLEEP! So insist on it for your entire family (Dads, toddlers, high schoolers, infants – everyone!) as it is key in our defense against illness.

Did you know that many recent studies have shown a direct correlation between adequate sleep and academic success? Is your child getting all the sleep they need to be their best this school year? Check out my article on with six easy tips to ensure they are well rested for the year ahead.

8360825449_bfe460f02c_oQuite often I receive new client forms in which a parent informs me that they have previously tried sleep training and it didn’t “work” for their child. Clearly they are open to trying again or they wouldn’t have reached out to me, but let’s discuss why their past attempt failed? Was it:

A) Because they were not consistent
B) Because their child was not on a schedule conducive to their age
C) Because their child is chronically overtired
D) Because they just have a terrible sleeper

Hint, the correct answer is not D. Of course that is never the case as all children can be great sleepers if given the right tools. Option A, B, C or a combo of the three are always to blame when sleep training goes awry.

Consistency – In the world of sleep consulting you will hear this word a lot. This is because being consistent is the key to your child understanding your expectations. If one day you respond to his night waking by leaving him to go back to sleep on his own and the next you rock him to sleep, how will he know which you expect? So consistency, consistency, consistency!

Schedule – Why is a schedule so important? For a few reasons: First, it is important to have your child on a sleep schedule that is in sync with their inner biological clock or circadian rhythm, because this ensures that they will have the easiest time falling asleep and staying asleep. Sleeping at these correct times will also allow your child to get the best quality and most restorative sleep possible. Second, because having a schedule and a consistent routine allows your child to understand what to expect. Children truly thrive on routine and this is no different when it comes to their sleep. Lastly, sleeping on the correct schedule for your little one’s age will allow them to remain well rested and not to become dreadfully overtired.

Overtiredness – Rather than re-invent the wheel, I will let my friend and colleague Joleen Dilk Salyn of Baby Sleep 101 explain this one. Please read her thorough and eloquent explanation on just how much havoc overtiredness can reek on your child’s sleep. “Overtiredness – the Root of All Sleep Training Evil”.

If this all sounds all too familiar to you and teaching your child self soothing skills has failed in the past, take care to ensure these 3 things are in place and give it another go. With them included in your plan, I am willing to bet this time it will go much better.

Is your child a terrible sleeper? Oh well, better luck next time . Of course I am kidding! I often here from parents that have labeled their child as such and the truth is that their is no such thing. All kids can be great sleepers, they just need to be taught this important biological skill. It’s not as tricky as you may think. Here are my tips:

photoI live in a 250 year old home sans central air. This past week when my husband lugged the window units into my daugthers’ rooms and their once perfectly pitched black rooms became sun filled, I was determined to find a solution. 15 minutes, one roll of packing tape, and one $5.97 redi-shade blackout blind later their rooms are back to their cave like state. I simply cut 18 inches from the bottom of the shade and then cut it in half to divide it into two sections (one for each side of the AC).  I made sure that they were taller than the actual air conditioner so that they would over lap a bit when the main shade came down.  I taped these side peices with the “accordions” in the vertical direction to both the window frame and the air conditioner. I was careful to use as little tape as possible on the frame as I do not want to mess up the paint! I then took the top portion of the blind, cut it to fit my window, stuck it up using the self adhesive, and voila – a perfectly dark window with air conditioning unit!  Best of all when the main shade is clipped up you can not see it at all.  I also have vinyl pull down shades that typically go under my fabric black out curtains which I will pull down too over the top black out shade to the top of the AC unit (yes, I am obsessed with a dark room!).  Also, please note the pink card tape on one side as a flap that goes over the LED lit control panel.  Those little lights can reek havoc too and it is a good practice to cover up any in bedrooms rooms.  Happy Summer everyone and stay cool!

While expecting my first child, I thought I had prepared for everything. We read the baby books, took child birth and breast feeding classes, bought all the latest and greatest gear….too bad we forgot about one very important thing: SLEEP! As clueless new parents, we just thought our daughter would sleep anytime and anywhere and we were sadly mistaken. If you are now facing this reality, this one is for you! Newborn Sleep 101