On our latest podcast, Marie-Eve Gagnon, founder of SlumberTime Solutions chats with Dr. Stafford about her company, the importance of sleep, and strategies for parents with kids at different stages.
To learn more about SlumberTime Solutions, visit www.slumbertimesolutions.com.
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Dr. Stafford: Hi, I'm Dr. Michelle Stafford here again with World Of Smiles, and our podcast, Mixed Dentition. Today, my special guest is Marie-Eve Gagnon, with Slumbertime Solutions.
Marie-Eve: Hi. It's nice to be here.
Dr. Stafford: Hi. Thank you for coming in today.
Marie-Eve: Thank you.
Dr. Stafford: So, tell our audience a little bit about Slumbertime Solutions.
Marie-Eve: Yes. So, like many people, my business started after a personal experience. I have two kiddos and my second, my daughter, my second child was my non sleeper. So, we struggled with sleep quite a bit, and then we finally helped her, figured out how to help her so she could sleep better. I decided that I wanted to help other families not go through the same journey that we had gone to. So, I wanted to help families get the support and the knowledge that I could have used at that time.
Dr. Stafford: Oh, that's wonderful. There's a lot of families out there that need that help.
Marie-Eve: Yeah. It's one of those things that you would think sleep is sort of easy and natural, but it's actually kind of tricky and a lot of families do kind of struggle with sleep at different times for different reasons. I'm trying to help them get to a better point from that perspective.
Dr. Stafford: Yeah, that's great. So, let's talk a little bit about the importance of sleep. At what age are babies able to sleep through the night and how many hours?
Marie-Eve: Yeah, absolutely. So, I work with families who are expecting all the way to families with like five-year-olds. What we do is very different. Expectations for a newborn are very different than expectations from a six-months-old or a two-years-old. Things definitely change. Newborns wake up a lot, but there's definitely things, even from the beginning that we can do, gentle, small things that we can do to make sure we're encouraging good sleep. Because we may not make ... We can't help our newborn sleep through the night, but sometimes there's things we can do that make it worse, and so we want to avoid.
Dr. Stafford: Oh, that's really great that you work on that with families that have new babies too.
Marie-Eve: Yes, yes.
Dr. Stafford: I think that's great that support system.
Marie-Eve: And then by the time we're four months old and six months old, I mean, a lot of babies can sleep many hours. Some still need maybe one feeding or two at a time, but we can typically start to have nice long stretches of sleep at night.
Dr. Stafford: That's great. Once the baby can sleep through the night, then the mama can sleep through the night.
Marie-Eve: Yes. Yes. So, that's what's so great about seeing families kind of improve their sleep because as they start to be able to put their kiddos down faster, or they are able to sleep more hours during the night. Once a baby sleeps better, I mean parents can also start to get more rest and that can make a big difference.
Dr. Stafford: Yeah. That's great. Is there a specific age that you find families struggle with the most with sleeping?
Marie-Eve: Yeah. I find that around four months, four or five months often parents kind of seem like they hit a wall a little bit. So, in the first couple of months, we're so on a high, right? This newborn, we're so ... Then after a while that sleep death, that sleep deprivation can kind of catch up with us a little bit.
Marie-Eve: Also, around four months sometimes that's when parents go back to work and that's also there's a big developmental lead and there's a lot going on. So I find that often around that time parents are ready to kind of focus on that a little bit more. Yeah.
Dr. Stafford: I think that's wonderful. I know that I have met families that have kids that are even two and three years old that are still not consistently sleeping through the night and waking up numerous times.
Dr. Stafford: So, it sounds like you're able to help families that have that situation as well.
Marie-Eve: Yes, absolutely. Once again, the strategies we use and the tools we use are different, whether your kiddo is not in bed nor in the crib or bed sharing, but there's definitely what is to kind of help kiddos start to connect more sleep cycle and get more restful night asleep.
Dr. Stafford: Oh great. Great. You do in-home consultations with families.
Marie-Eve: Yes. So, I do in-home consultation with people locally, and I also work remotely. So we can also do these consultations over video calls or even phone calls depending on how people, how it works for them.
Dr. Stafford: Yeah. And you offer classes?
Marie-Eve: I do. I have two classes that I teach. One is Baby Basic Sleep and it's for families who are either expecting, pregnant families, or to like four months. Then the other class is sort of four months and up. So once again, we get to kind of focus on what's developmentally appropriate at the different age and kind of talk about what tools or strategies we can use at that time.
Marie-Eve: Sometimes too, with the class for expecting parents, a lot of what we talk about is setting sort of expectations and sort of having realistic expectations about what is going to happen. Some newborns sleep wonderfully from the get-go, like there are some unicorn babies who just sleep from the beginning, but what we should probably expect is that when we have a baby, we don't sleep more.
Marie-Eve: We don't have a baby to sleep more, so we most often should be prepared that there's going to be some sleep disruptions and then we can talk about what can we do? There's things we can do to help the baby sleep better, but often in the first few months, a lot of what we talk about is, how can we help the parents cope and help them maximize their own sleep given sort of what's realistic of what we can expect baby to be able to do.
Dr. Stafford: Oh, that's wonderful.
Dr. Stafford: I feel like all parents need that.
Dr. Stafford: Especially in our day and age where there's a lot of distractions and disruptions, sleep disruptions anyhow.
Dr. Stafford: So that's really helpful. Wonderful.
Marie-Eve: Were your kiddos good sleepers from the beginning?
Dr. Stafford: My almost seven-year-old, he I think was a unicorn baby.
Marie-Eve: He was? Good.
Dr. Stafford: I don't tell a lot of people this, but he slept through the night by six weeks.
Marie-Eve: Yes, they exist.
Dr. Stafford: He was a great nurser and just very healthy kiddo, just kind of slept through the night. As parents, we were like, "Oh yeah. It was us." Then the second kid, not so much. He would sporadically sleep through the night and then kind of wake up and yeah, I wish I would have known you then. You would have really helped me. I would say we struggled looks like he was about a year and then it was more consistent. Yeah.
Marie-Eve: Yeah. That's the thing. Like often, like this ... Well, it could be the first. It could be the second child, but a lot of this is a temperament of the child, right? Their own natural skills, what comes easy to them or where they need a little bit more help. So yeah, same thing. I got tricked to have a second kiddo and then that was the one who we had a hard time with.
Dr. Stafford: Yes. I find often when I speak with parents, it's often the second kiddo.
Dr. Stafford: That can be a little bit more challenging in certain ways and sleep is definitely one of those ways.
Marie-Eve: Yes. Yeah.
Dr. Stafford: Challenging us parents. What else would you like to share with our families out there listening?
Marie-Eve: Yeah. One more thing that I offer that we didn't talk about is that I offer a weekly sleep support group. So, think about like a new mom's group but that's sort of focusing on sleep. So, that's every Tuesday at 12:30, 12:30 to 1:30 and it's in North Portland at the Doula Love Wellness Center.
Dr. Stafford: Oh, great.
Marie-Eve: And it's free, so people can come in and check in and talk ...
Dr. Stafford: How nice.
Marie-Eve: We talk about some, I typically have a topic I talk about for a few minutes and we just open it up and people share their wins of the week or their struggles or questions and we talk about sleep for a little bit.
Dr. Stafford: That's great.
Marie-Eve: Yeah. It's a lot of fun.
Dr. Stafford: What a wonderful service that you're offering families.
Marie-Eve: Yeah. It's fun to get to see families and how things change over time.
Dr. Stafford: Right. It's probably fun to see moms getting more sleep and then you see them getting more sleep and you're like oh look, you're human again.
Marie-Eve: Yes. That is the most rewarding part of what I do, which is to see that transformation in families, like families who just parenting is hard.
Dr. Stafford: It is hard.
Marie-Eve: It's beautiful, but it's hard.
Dr. Stafford: Great.
Marie-Eve: But getting some sleep makes it a little easier. It's a little easier to be the parent you want to be when you have some rest. So, it's great to see, it's so rewarding to see sort of changes in family and sort of see them [inaudible 00:08:20] the kiddos, being sort of better mood or the parent just feeling like human again, like you were saying.
Dr. Stafford: Yeah. Well, sleep is so important for kids too because of brain development and even their behavior you kind of mentioned that a little bit, but behavior of children can be driven by how much sleep they're getting and the quality of sleep.
Dr. Stafford: I think recognizing that is important.
Marie-Eve: Yeah. Definitely especially as they get a little bit older, kind of toddler, we see that more in toddler and preschoolers where all of a sudden when we sort of address sleep, parents are often surprised as to what other areas of their life kind of seem to be affected by this change, on definitely behavior and just easier mornings and more pleasant dinner and just in general, just yeah, it can impact definitely their behavior.
Dr. Stafford: Oh, wonderful. So Marie-Eve, before I let you go, are there any tips that you could share with parents? So let's say a parent of a three, four-month-old, can you give a couple of tips to our audience?
Marie-Eve: Absolutely. So, one of the most important thing at that age is making sure that our babies don't get overtired. So, kind of getting to know your baby and their windows, like how long can they be awake before they need to nap and sleep again. So, if you kind of get into that rhythm and kind of offer a nap or bedtime before they are overtired, typically sleep is easier and they actually tend to sleep better, which is sort of counterintuitive.
Dr. Stafford: Right.
Marie-Eve: But for babies or kiddos kind of just making sure that we get on their rhythm. Some kiddos are very good at giving us signs of that, they kind of give some sleepy cues like they're yawning or they're rubbing their eyes or they're getting a little fussy, but we're trying to look for cues before we have a meltdown.
Dr. Stafford: Right.
Marie-Eve: Because typically by the time we have the meltdown, we kind of miss that window and so the next time we can sort of try to get them down just before we get to the meltdown. Once again, catching, kind of keeping an eye on how long they're awake and making sure that they don't get overtired can definitely make a difference. Yeah, that would be sort of one of the main things at that age.
Dr. Stafford: Yeah, that's wonderful. What about a parent of say a three or a four-year-old that's still struggling with their child sleeping through the night, do you have any quick tips you can give us?
Marie-Eve: Yes. So, often, what happens at bedtime really sets a tone for their expectations of their child at night. So often when three or four-year-old wake up at night, I always ask, "How are they falling asleep at bedtime?" Often, at that age, parents kind of snuggle with the kiddo and then kiddo falls asleep and the parent is next to them and then parent sneaks out. And then a few hours later, kiddo wakes up and they're like, where did my parent go?
Dr. Stafford: Right.
Marie-Eve: All of a sudden that feels different. If they don't feel confident in falling asleep on their own at bedtime, when they wake up in the middle of the night, they won't feel confident to just roll over and kind of go back to sleep. So, kind of thinking about what is happening at bedtime and does my kiddo feel empowered and confident and capable of falling asleep on their own at bedtime, and most often once they have bedtime, then just the middle of the night comes together and they start to be able to sleep through the night.
Dr. Stafford: That's great. Wow, excellent advice.
Marie-Eve: Thank you.
Dr. Stafford: Marie, tell us your website for your company.
Marie-Eve: Yes. So, it's slumbertimesolutions.com, and yeah you can find all sorts of information on there.
Dr. Stafford: Wonderful. Well, thank you, again, for coming out and talking with us. We really appreciate it.
Marie-Eve: Well, thank you very much. Thank you very much for having me.
Dr. Stafford: And that concludes another episode of Mixed Dentition. Everybody have a great day.