Mastering Motherhood Podcast

All You Need to Know About Sleep Training

January 12, 2020 Nicoll Novak Season 1 Episode 7
Mastering Motherhood Podcast
All You Need to Know About Sleep Training
Mastering Motherhood Podcast
All You Need to Know About Sleep Training
Jan 12, 2020 Season 1 Episode 7
Nicoll Novak

In this episode, Jensine Casey, a pediatric sleep consultant, joins the show to talk all about sleep training. She talks about common sleep problems, debunks sleep myths and talks about her approach when working with families.

For more on Jensine or to contact her directly, please visit her website or email her, and definitely follow her on Instagram!

For more on pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood, visit Or follow on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Music from
"Bossa Antigua" by Kevin MacLeod (
License: CC BY (

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Jensine Casey, a pediatric sleep consultant, joins the show to talk all about sleep training. She talks about common sleep problems, debunks sleep myths and talks about her approach when working with families.

For more on Jensine or to contact her directly, please visit her website or email her, and definitely follow her on Instagram!

For more on pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood, visit Or follow on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Music from
"Bossa Antigua" by Kevin MacLeod (
License: CC BY (

Support the show (

spk_0:   0:12
Hi, everybody. This is the mastering motherhood podcast, and I'm your host, Nicole. This show is made by a mom. Me four. Mom's covering pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood topics As we go through this motherhood journey together, today's guest is Jen Seen Casey Jen. Scene is a pediatric sleep consultant that worked primarily with Children ages 0 to 3. She's also a former early intervention development specialist. I'm very excited to have Jen seen on our show today because I know firsthand what it's like to have a baby who struggles to sleep through the night. And sleep is an issue that comes up a lot in all of my mom groups and with all of you. So I'm so excited to have you on the show. Drin seen help us, But first, tell the listeners a little bit more about you.

spk_1:   1:11
Sure. Um so I live just outside of Austin with my husband. I have two boys a day, two year old and a five month old. Almost example. Dhe and, um, I have a Yorkie named not Meg. So close here, but, um, yeah, when I'm not hanging out down like we love Boston, it's freezing right now. But when It's nice that we love to be true of a lot of great beaches around here, a swell. So we just, you know, get outside watch football. Were big football family, too. So Lovett

spk_0:   1:47
and area is so cool. I totally wish I lived there.

spk_1:   1:51
Yes, it's It's nice it we get the best of both. You know, it's freezing in the winter, so but we get to do fun things that are snow related. But then the summer, it's absolutely gorgeous. So you can't go wrong in Boston.

spk_0:   2:04
Um So tell me, how did you get into pediatric sleep issues? And we'll tell me a little bit more about your background?

spk_1:   2:13
Yeah. So I knew that I essentially I went to college. I told my parents that I wanted to be a super mom. Um, and my dad said, No, I'm not I'm not paying for you to go to college to be a mom. I said Okay. Well, that's what you're gonna d'oh. So I went, um, with the intention of being a preschool teacher. So I got my masters in early childhood special Ed. I then descended. Preschool was not for me. And I liked the ease and getting to know a lot more families in early intervention. So then I did home. But it's for Children that, um, had a variety of needs. It's for Children that have baby diagnosis of something something very severe or could be a minor language delays. So kind of. The range of Children that I worked with was pretty wide, But while I was working with those Children, I found a lot of the things that I was talking about was sleep, and that was kind of the basis of why they weren't developing, because a lot of Children weren't on a great sleep routine. They weren't sleeping well during the day at night. I'm so once that was kind of all set, then their development. They started to catch up to their peers. So I just felt like this was kind of a natural progression for me because that's really what I was talking about all the time with a lot of my family. So I just felt like in this capacity, I could be so much more helpful because I know intervention. I only see families once a week for an hour, but this way I'm able to offer support daily for about two weeks to really, really make sure that that child is progressing nicely. Pickles.

spk_0:   3:47
This is so just crazy to hear you say, because, you know, we know that sleep is important and and I guess I know that sleep is related to development. But hearing you talk about the direct connection between developing and sleeping is just It's crazy.

spk_1:   4:07
Yeah, it is. It's really If you think about it, you can't. How much can you do when you don't sleep? Well, there's you, you know you're dragging your just all of your energy is reserved for just staying awake and meeting your basic needs. How so? The Children of the same way. If they they don't have that extra energy from a good night's sleep to expend on things, then they're not going to. And they're gonna kind of do the bare minimum off what they need during the day, which most of that will go towards eating. But other than that, you know, they don't have the energy to crawl and explore and roll and pull the stand, then all that good stuff. So once they do have that extra energy and they're well rested. They could do so much more.

spk_0:   4:51
That makes complete sense. Tell me, what are some of the most common sleep issues that you helped families work through?

spk_1:   5:00
Um, I would say one of the most common thing would be falling asleep independently. Sleep progressions come up, but those are things that they're kind of a bump in the road. But if Children don't kind of have that basic foundation for how to fall asleep, not really, that really gets them. Um, still, thinking about the parenting styles have changed. There's a lot more families that cool sleep, um, or just parents that are working. So you kind of do what you need to do to get your child to sleep, whether it be sleeping with them, rocking them, driving them around things like that. So before it was just, it was different. Typically, Mom stayed home. They had a little bit more time, and energy doesn't just focus on their child. But now there's so many working moms, so many working parents that you kind of do what you have to do to get that sleeping. Um, so definitely the falling asleep independently is the biggest thing that I come across.

spk_0:   6:06
Absolutely. I have a confession to make on, and I hope that you and none of the listeners judge me. But no way, you know, in an act of desperation, my son, he's just been struggling with sleeping through the night. And I have to admit, there are some nights when I'm so desperate that I'll let him sleep in bed with us. And I know you know, if families want to co sleep, I'm totally I think that's great. You have to do it works for you in our household. You know, we just hear so much about like you shouldn't co sleep and Sid's and it's bad for the Malian and it forms bad habits, and so we really tried to avoid it. But you're absolutely right. You just you just get desperate. Sometimes You're so tired.

spk_1:   6:52
Yes, yeah, and I definitely and I obviously consultant. I think a lot of people assume that I I'm not for a co sleeping and I definitely it that's a choice that family has made that I'm 100% for it. I just like to help the families that don't want to co sleep, but feel like they don't have an option but to co sleep to get any sleep. And that's where sometimes some of that safety and the city's comes in, because if you're closely being, you kind of have a plan for it. But if you're not planning to co sleep and it just happens 1 May when you're exhausted, then that's when kind of dangerous situations can come up. I'm so I Definitely that's something that I talk about with a lot of my family's where if you want to closely, that's great. This is how you could do it safely. But if you don't want to go sleep, then here are some other options for you.

spk_0:   7:40
Yeah, you're absolutely right. It's It's when you didn't plan on doing that, that things can get a little tricky cause I even out us like that the couple of times that all get desperate and let him sleep in our bed. I'm like, Oh God, like what if I accidentally roll over on him? Isn't that usedto having him in the bed?

spk_1:   7:57
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

spk_0:   7:59
We'll talk a little bit about your approach for helping families. Is it individualized? You have to visit the families in person Tell me more.

spk_1:   8:08
Yeah, I'm so it is individualized because every family, everything is so different. So even if I have five families that come to me and I'll say my baby wakes up in the moment and they bring them to my bed all of those situations they're still going to be different. So maybe one, um, they've never slept in their bed before in their own crib orbit before. Maybe another one used to. But then they want a vacation, and now everything is derailed. So everything has to be individualized because I want to meet the families where they are on, then help them get to their goals. Um, that's also every family is different in their level of comfort around. Helping their child is difference or something. Families may not mind. A little bit of crying. Some feelings may be totally against crying. Um, so just kind of meeting again, meeting everybody where they are and getting them to where they want to be is my goal. Um, I don't have to meet families in person. If there is a family local to mean, I do have ah, level of support Wall come in at bedtime and help through that first night of sleep training. Because if you've ever done sleep training, you know that first night is the hardest. It's the hardest on the parent. It's the hardest on the child. Just because all these new expectations are being put into place and they have no idea that it's coming. You can't say Okay, you know what? Tonight's the night you're going to sleep in your own bed. Um, they turn damages one random day. You put me in this bed and I don't know what's going on. So being there to help without birth night, How I love to be able to do that perfume is because it really just sucks them up on a good foot going forward. However, I don't have to be there to do that. I can do, ah, full plan with a family from far away. So I have a lot of families that I work with that our states away, and I'm able to bride that support over over zoom over Skype. I'm over the phone through email, so it's definitely you don't have to be live in the Boston area to get my support.

spk_0:   10:19
I'm gonna take a quick second to pause here and say, if anything in this episode resonates with you, take a screenshot posted on social media and tag me so other mamas or moms to beacon. Listen it. And if you like what you're hearing head on over to apple podcasts and leave a review. All right, Now, back to the show. I'm going to talk a little bit about my unique situation. Walk? Yeah, you need I'm gonna talk about it because it's not unique. That's why I've been several mom groups. And and this is just I This comes up every single day. So my son Magnus, he is seven months old, and you know, of course, when he was born, we had he was waking up all the time or we had to wake him up to feed him. And then when he was a few months old, he started sleeping through the night, all on his own. And so it was great. And me as a mom and, like, Yes, I'm doing it right, baby, lead everything. I don't have to do sleep trading. Sorry for you. Other moms? Yeah. I don't know what happened he hit six months old and then it all went out the window. He started waking up several times a night, and it just progressively got worse and worse to the point where he just got really upset about being put in his crib at night. And I had been putting off sleep training. Still have, admittedly, because again, I think my my approach in my theory has always been like, Oh, let baby tell you what he needs. And and more than that, I am so afraid of Cry it out because I I hear these, like, philosophies around. Well, then your child's going to think that they're abandoned, whatever. But I'm telling you this all to say we're desperate and I reached a point where we need to sleep. Train him, tell me that I'm not damaging my child by sleep training him?

spk_1:   12:24
Yes, I can tell you 100% and I can send you Ah, a plethora of articles that show how it is not damaging to the child. So, um, the science behind that is the thought is that you are just leaving your child to cry. And there you're gonna hurt your relationship with them. Um, but really, the science behind it shows they did a study that showed exactly on the stress levels of Children each night that they were going through some training in the first night. Of course, it was a little bit higher just because they were confused. You can't Taliban be like I was saying before. Hey, this is the new schedule. This is a new routine. This is what you should expect for them. It's just kind of one random night. They're used to falling asleep a certain way on. Then that's not being provided to them. So they're only way to communicate is to cry and ask his parents. It's really hard for us not to put our own emotions onto them being upset. So we're thinking he's mad at me. He's upset. He's not gonna, You know, our relationship is gonna be damaged. He's gonna hate me to him. It's really Hey, what's going on? This isn't I don't know how to fall asleep like this. I don't know what's going on, so it's really just kind of taking that into account and taking a step back. But as you teach those independent sleep skills, it's gonna last for a lifetime. It's There's no better gift that you can give your child than the gift of sleep. I'm touching on the methods that you were talking about. So Ferber is somehow became signs. That's like a little old school. Our parents grandparents used that, um, just as a way of sleep training, and that was the only you put your baby in to cry, and they will eventually figure it out. And that's definitely heat. Scares parents away from doing sleep training because that your initial thought. But there's so many other methods that are more gentle, especially one of the nothings that I use. I have parents be in the room with the child to help support them through that process. It's yes. Do you want them to learn how to fall asleep independently, but their steps to get there? You don't have to just cold turkey. Put them in. If you want to do that, that is 100% up to you, and you don't need a sleep kingdom to help you with that, Um, but if you're looking for a way that's more gentle and just feels, it just hugs at your heartstrings to hear, hear a little one screaming from the other room and feeling like you're just ignoring them. So it's not. It's not very popular for parents to use that full Ferber extinction like that anymore. I'm a lot of parents go with a more gentle route.

spk_0:   15:10
I am encouraged hearing your approach and how it's kind of individualized and Taylor to the family. Because I'll tell you, in my mom groups and actually in our situation right now, another thing that's kind of deterred us from doing any kind of sleep training is the fact that my son doesn't have his own room. We have to share room. His crib is in our room. And so that's another thing that I hear all the time is like Well, you can't sleep train if you're in the same room and and we don't have another option So so tell me more about that. Do you ever see situations like that?

spk_1:   15:43
I d'oh, I? Yes, often I have families, especially, um, if they live like there are a couple of families that I worked with. They were all mom's friends in New York, and they had smaller apartments where they shared a child with the Children with their child. I'm So what I would recommend to you is to put some kind of partition or maybe hanging a sheet from this feeling something like that. Just so when he initially looks over, he's not able to see you. And the reasoning behind that is so say you're who's Who's the celebrity that you really like?

spk_0:   16:23
Um, is it worth Who is it? Chris Hemsworth. There you go.

spk_1:   16:31
So I imagine you're sleeping, and you kind of wake up your little ground. He look over and he walks into the room. Are you just gonna roll back over and fall asleep? Are you gonna You're gonna sit up like a Chris? What's what are you doing here? So it's that same kind of reasoning for your child. You were his most beaver person in the world. So if he wakes up and sees you across the room, of course he's gonna call out to you. He's gonna wanna be with you. So what Theme reasoning of you want to put something in between so he can't readily see you if there's a way to set up his crib. So, um, it's just one square rum. That's that's really difficult, because no matter where you put him, you want to see you. But just having something I wouldn't recommend something over the crib, just for safety reasons. But if you can put something between the crib in your bed so that he just can't see you right away, as he looks through the crib slats, that would be the most helpful. But you can certainly sleep. Train the child that's in your in your room.

spk_0:   17:33
That's that makes me feel a lot better. And also your analogy, just like tugged at my heartstrings. I've like, Oh, I'm this favorite person

spk_1:   17:43
You are, you really, really are. You're like him. Seeing you is you seeing Chris. That's how it feels.

spk_0:   17:53
So talk to me a little bit about sleep progressions. You had mentioned them before. What are they? When do they come up? Do all babies go through him? Tell me more.

spk_1:   18:02
Yes, So there is the word progression Tiny gets me because the true kind of the biggest one is the four monthly progression and that I don't even like to use the word regression because it's not. It's It's not a regression, there's You're not going backwards. So at four months before then, Children just kind of have to choose nuance of two cycles. You're eventually awake or asleep at Foreman's. Children talk to cycle through sleep as an adult does, so you have periods of lightly. Then you go into deep sleep and then you come back into lately. Then you go back into deep sleep so Children at four months start to cycle through as an adult does. So that's what leads them to start waking up more often because if they are, how are they fall asleep? They've kind of convinced themselves that they need got to fall asleep again. So once they come up into that light sleep cycle, if they're not still be rocked, held, nursed, driven in the car, they don't know how to get themselves back down to sleep. So that's where kind of that independent learning those skills at that time really, really helps, because then they'll be able to carry those over through the night. Nobody actually sleep through the night. If you think about when you wake up, you turnover, fix your blanket, fluff your pillow, whatever it is, and then you go back into sleep babies of the exact same way, starting at about four month mark. But they don't know how to do all of those other self soothing things to get themselves back down to sleep. So they call out to you for help. Um, so that's that four month period is really the only big one that I feel like a lot of parents get tripped up with because they went from having this great sleeper to now All of a sudden, wise, maybe be weakening up so often, Um, the other ones there there are absent things like that. I don't really I'm not truly of that camp because I think that it can come developmentally. So other reasons that people will see, like a 12 month of Russian 18 months regression that has to do with the skills that the child's developing around that time. So if you Hey, you are learning something new and you're like, Oh, really? I'm going to stay up late tonight because I'm gonna figure this out before you go to bed. Be busy the exact same way I'm learning how to roll over. So I'm gonna do that over and over and over. It's gonna keep me awake at night. But I'm gonna do it until I master it. I'm learning how to pull the stand. So I'm gonna do that over and over and over right night. I'm not gonna want to sleep because I really, really want to get this. So that's where those regressions come up typically when Children are learning a new skill. Um, so there's a couple that come in because if you're thinking about all the development developmental milestones, there's so many that happened in those first few years of Blake rolling, sitting, pulling to stand startinto, walk, starting to talk so many things that come up. The Children just want a master, and unfortunately, they kind of use that time in their crib to try to get some active extra practice time in. So if you're noticing a little bit of our aggression on your child, sleep, definitely take a look at them and see what new skills they're working on and then help facility. That's go during the day just so they can have a little bit more extra practice and they won't be needing it at night.

spk_0:   21:28
Interesting. And I definitely see that connection. At least in our house. When we started having sleep problems, it really was when he was learning to sit up independently. And now he's kind of in the process of learning how to crawl. Yes, those are big things.

spk_1:   21:45
Yes, they are. And you know, he just wants to do it all the time.

spk_0:   21:52
So tell me more about wind. Can parents start sleep training

spk_1:   21:58
so formal sleep training. Really concert. After about 16 weeks. I'm not. The formal training is where you're working on those independent sleep skills at bedtime, however, you can start getting like starting that good sleep hygiene from birth. So for my second. So like I said, I have two sons. I didn't become a sleep consultant until after my my older son was about 18 months. I got certified. So for my younger son, I started working on this literally. The day we came home from the hospital, we started a bedtime routine that has evolved in the since he's been alive. But definitely we started right when we came home. Um, we all I worked on putting him down in a safe, calm, quiet environment for naps. So essentially, he never really needed to be sleep trained a little bit around the four month period. But, um, he had all of those good skills from birth. So it's never too early to start it. You just There's things that you could do, um, to get them on a good path and kind of not introducing a lot of those props is really what it's about. But then it's also never truly so. On the other hand of it, I don't ever want a parent to feel like I have a two year old, three year old four year old who's never slept well. I guess they'll just never sleep. Oh, no, There there is hope it definitely this judge's team do they get older because Children can talk, not talk back. But they can respond to you and they can try to, you know, Oh, I need more books one more time to that more drink of water. Um, so the strategist change as they get older, but it's really never too early, and it's never too late to get on, um, to learn some good sleep hygiene.

spk_0:   23:53
How long should babies be sleeping at night?

spk_1:   23:57
I like to do a 12 hours a day in 12 hours a night. So ideally, you would like your child to be up until you know their school aged and longer, um, in in their crib or bed for 12 hours.

spk_0:   24:12
That's so long. Getting sick

spk_1:   24:15
ranges from about 10 to 12 on the younger side. You definitely you want them to get that good sleeps building there meekly, so they're able to develop. As I get a little bit older, it's gonna go down to about 10. But I think as a society weevil, it's It's go, go, go, do do, do the last sleep you get, the bigger the badge you have and that's I don't know when that started, but I It's not great for us. Sleep is so, so important, and it's definitely kind of become something of the last sleep I get. You know, the more I can brag about it. But it should be the opposite. It should be who's getting the award for getting the mostly but night, Um, so it was like a lot, but it's really that's really what we need.

spk_0:   25:05
You're totally right. We are like, Oh, I only got four hours sleep last night? Yeah,

spk_1:   25:11
yeah, and it's I don't know. I don't know why that's become a thing, but it's definitely feeling like the last sleep. You get that it means you. You work harder. You're better at your job or, you know, whatever it is. But it's really it's really sadly, I wish that wasn't the case.

spk_0:   25:33
I heard you say 12 hours in the crib. So that means that they may not sleep the full 12 hours, but they do need to be in the crib for 12 hours.

spk_1:   25:44
The goal is really for them to be sleeping. You know, 11 and 1/2 hours you want, you can give them a little bit of time to fall asleep initially on. Then when they wake up that they're just kind of in there, hanging out happy. You definitely don't want to feel like you have Russian right when they wake up that they wake up well rested and happy and can kind of role in Kou and, you know, put the thumb in them out. Whatever it is so but yes, that 12 hours is ideally what you would like to see, and that's really nice for you because you get a couple hours after bedtime and then maybe a little bit of time. If you're an early riser in the morning to get some things done, so it works out best for everyone.

spk_0:   26:25
I'll tell you about another obstacle that I hear a lot, which is around travel. So I hear a lot of parents say, Well, yet no way of a trip coming up. We can't do sleep training now. You know, it's just another reason to put it off. But I guess my question is more if I do sleep trained my child, and then I have to travel and I'm gonna have to start over again. So

spk_1:   26:50
it will depend on kind of what the circumstances are, where you're traveling, how long will be gone, what the sleep situation is like There you would want to as close as you can replicate your child sleep environment in this while you're on vacation. So if your child typically sleeps in their own room, you wouldn't wanna have something, um, kind of distance them from you just because I get not used to seeing you. So there's a lot of products on the market. There's you know I don't have your part of the slumber pod. Um, if sometimes if there's a large walk in closet in a hotel room, you can put the pack and play in there. Some people have done in the bathroom. Oh, uh, yes, And it sounds weird to say, Just stick your child in a closet, but it's, you know, it's It's not just the child in the closet, it's the pack in place. So it's a lot is the whole space and then Children than people envision? Um, but whatever. Whatever it is, you wanna as closely replicate that as possible. Sometimes it's just not possible. You go someplace there's only one bed you don't typically closely, but you have to co sleep. Then it's about just once you get home getting back on that exact scene routine that you have always had and trying not to keep the habits that you had on vacation once you return home. So it's definitely then if there is time differences and our long flights and things like that, that that all kind of messes it up and honestly, travel days really sleep, have them sleep when they can't. That's travel is stressful enough it, you know you don't want to worry. Oh, it's one o'clock on the dot My child should be napping right now. You know, you just you do what you can and then wire on vacation. Enjoy your vacation. Definitely. Keep in mind nap times and bad times, because if you have an over tile over tired, cranky child is not going to be fun for anybody. So keep those situations in mind. Keep it as close to home is you can. But then, once you return home, it's really that's going to be the biggest piece of it is just jumping back into where you left off.

spk_0:   29:05
So it sounds like when you work with your clients, you really cater to their family needs and and also kind of offer parents Cem skills that they can use when they do come across some out of the ordinary situations

spk_1:   29:19
like travel. Yes. Yep, there's I offer a whole goodbye packet, doctor. I leave them just so they know what to expect. Going forward. So this thing to talk about travel, teething, transitioning if they're on to naps, how to transition toe one nap. So there's ah, whole lot of information that I provide them with because I again don't want it to feel like Here you go. Good luck. I definitely want to be there to support them into anything that could come up in the future.

spk_0:   29:47
That sounds so good. If our listeners want to get in touch with you, how can they contact

spk_1:   29:52
you? Yes, I'm so my website is Bebe. Oh, um, the letter o and I consulting dot com. You can always email me my first name, Jen. Seen at bbo and I consulting dot com. I'm on instagram working on that bbo and I So any type of bbo and I and something will come up.

spk_0:   30:16
You are on instagram and I love your instant because you just have the best quotes on there.

spk_1:   30:21
I'll be you. I try I'm trying really pump up my instagram And it's hard There's so many people on instagram it But I don't understand how it works Like I think I do. And then things change And then I'm lost again Nobody knows Yeah, I'm I'm feeling pumped up by your instagram. Oh, good, Thank you. I'm very happy to hear that.

spk_0:   30:45
I will also include all of your contact information in the show notes as well. If anybody wants to get a hold of you. Thank you. All right, well, thank you so much for being on the show today. It was so great to have

spk_1:   30:57
you. Yes. Thank you for having me. This was so much fun.

spk_0:   31:00
Absolutely. And wish us all luck with our with our non sleeping babies, or we'll just get in touch with you and you could help us

spk_1:   31:10
all out. Yes. Yes. And I mean, the most important thing is like, you got it. Whatever you choose to do, just be consistent and know what indifference this is gonna make in your whole family. All

spk_0:   31:23
right, I believe you. X again, Jin Si.

spk_1:   31:28
Yes. You're welcome. No problem.

spk_0:   31:31
Thanks for listening today. For more on pregnancy postpartum in parenthood visit mastering motherhood podcast dot com and subscribe to this show wherever you get your podcasts. If you have a topic that you'd like to hear, shoot me an email at mastering motherhood podcast at gmail dot com. Thanks