How To Sleep Train: A chat with Littlest Learners

Wishing your baby or toddler would sleep through the night? Who ISN’T! Margot Marquit and Maddy Travers of Littlest Learners are helping little ones to sleep through the night and thrive during the first years of life and we are so thankful to have had the opportunity to chat with both of these lovely, super helpful women.

Hi Margot & Maddy! Let’s talk about the one topic that’s on EVERY parent’s mind – SLEEP. First off, tell us about how Littlest Learners came to be. 

Our sons were born a week apart and brought us together through a new moms group. We immediately bonded over our shared experience of staying up through the night feeding and rocking our boys back to sleep.  Tackling infant sleep was tough, and we were losing our minds! We started to worry that we would never sleep again. We read pretty much every sleep book on the market and frantically googled solutions. Then one day  we hired a sleep consultant. After implementing a sleep training plan TA-DA! our sons were sleeping through the night!

Somewhere along the way, what started as a desperate search for answers grew into a shared passion. We found ourselves acting as unofficial sleep consultants to friends, colleagues and family with a variety of sleep issues, and decided to make the leap and create Littlest Learners.

I love it when passion becomes career! Why do you think sleep training in-particular is so important to both of you?

We both experienced the magic of a sleeping baby and saw what a difference it makes for the baby’s happiness, temperament, development, etc. as well as for the parents! We believe that all families can achieve successful sleep through sleep training. 

What makes your approach different from some of the other popular sleep methods we so often hear about (Cry-it-out, Ferber, Chair method, etc.)? 

We do not subscribe to a specific sleep training method. Our approach is completely customized based on the baby and the family’s needs and preferences.We bring a scientific yet gentle approach to sleep training. Our strategies are based on published sleep research, but we combine this knowledge with the compassion and understanding we have gained as parents ourselves. 

I’m sure many parents appreciate the gentle approach – but if you were to compare your approach to one of the listed above (or others), which one would it mirror most? 

We find that most families have the greatest success with some form of graduated extinction.

When a new parent hires you to get some rest (literally!), what can they expect to discuss on their initial consult? And what does the process of sleep training look like thereafter? 

Once a new parent contacts us we ask that they begin by completing our intake form. This form will help us to learn more about their baby and his/her sleep problems. This includes information such as the baby’s schedule, where they typically sleep, and any sleep props they might be dependent upon. We will then create an individualized step by step plan for the family to follow. We then support them via email or phone through the entire process of implementing the plan and offer guidance and clarification along the way!

That all sounds wonderful and super helpful for all parents who could use some extra shut eye.

Sleep is not the only type of training you both are experts in. What other big milestones can you help parents with as their little one grows? 

We are also here to help with major transitions such as moving away from co-sleeping, switching from a crib to a toddler bed, sibling room sharing, weaning off of a pacifier, and potty training! 

I’m sure every child’s story is different from the next and as we know, no two babies are the same! Is there one success story that really stood out to each of you that you’d like to share? Or something you tried that became an instant game changer?

Coincidentally, our proudest accomplishment so far was working together to sleep train another friend from moms group’s baby. Her daughter was 9 months old and sleeping in their bedroom and still being nursed throughout the night. Ultimately, the goal was to get her sleeping independently and sharing a room with the older sister. It was so much fun getting to help a friend and she was the dream client. Her daughter started sleeping through the night after a SINGLE NIGHT! 

Amazing! And in that same train of thought, is there something that has surprised you the most in the behaviors of either parent or baby throughout this process? 

We’ve realized that babies can adjust relatively easily – when a sleep plan is implemented correctly and consistently they catch on pretty quickly. It’s the parents that take a little more work 🙂 We’ve found that part of our job is providing support to parents and helping them to remain strong.

During this time of social distancing and uncertainty, is it possible to sleep-train virtually? And if so, what is the best way for parents to connect with you while at home?

YES! We currently work with clients all over the country. We are able to do intake, sleep plan sharing, and follow-up remotely. 

I don’t know about you but we have certainly been feeling overwhelmed by all of the news around Coronavirus and the reality of being at home with children all day long. I can’t imagine a more important time for the whole family to be getting restful sleep – both because it is important for the immune system and because the only breaks we get as parents are during nap time!!

Absolutely. It is such an overwhelming time for all of us.

Lastly, I have to ask what we’re all dying to know – if you could give one piece of crucial sleep advice, what would it be?

Be consistent! If you are trying to solve a sleeping issue or develop good sleep habits implement your strategy for at least 5 days before determining if it’s working. Once you have established a sleep routine, try to stick to it, even when you encounter bumps in the road (vacations, illness, etc.). 

Great advice! Thank you so much for taking the time.

For more information and to have all your sleep dreams met visit littlestlearners.com or email maddy@littlestlearners.com
 margot@littlestlearners.com


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