Amanda Jewson from Baby’s Best Sleep Is On A Mission to Save Sleep and Sanity, One New Parent at a Time.
Becoming a new parent is fraught with many steep learning curves. Coupling that with many city-dwelling millennials’ demanding and fast-paced work schedules, broken sleep is hardly a viable option.
Before the throes of desperation strike – as they do for many who are experiencing sleepless nights – an empowering and practical option may be to work with a baby sleep coach. During this finite time of massive shifts and change, having a well-educated, sought-after professional in your corner provides peace of mind and ensures that your most basic needs are met, so you can tend to the needs of your child, not to mention navigate your life.
Notable sat down with Amanda Jewson, founder of Baby’s Best Sleep, to discuss her work educating caregivers, removing shame and stigma surrounding baby sleep, and setting the foundation for good sleep hygiene for the rest of your child’s life. Jewson does an incredible job of honing in on tangibles and dispelling myths and misinformation to help remove the endless and overwhelming information highway coming at new parents 24/7.
With Amanda in your corner, your baby’s best sleep is no longer a seemingly unreachable daydream.
What was the catalyst for starting Baby’s Best Sleep Company?
I was on my second maternity leave, and baby sleep was always ‘my thing.’ My friends constantly asked how my kids slept so well. It felt accessible to me, but I soon noticed that baby sleep was difficult for many. My new stroller-fit bestie stopped showing up to class because her baby stopped sleeping. My friends would call me in tears because they hadn’t slept in days. I realized that no one was doing anything about it because they thought they were ‘damaging their babies’ or others would judge them. So I started BBS to take the judgment out of baby sleep information and help parents find the rest they need to be their best selves.
What is your main goal with Baby’s Best Sleep?
I know personally (through my own parenting/ personal journey and work with great mental health professionals) that parents cannot parent when they are resentful and tired. Many of my clients seek our services because they are not coping well. I want to take the shame and judgment out of parents’ choice to sleep-train. I also want to educate folks that all ways to parent (including the choice not to sleep train) are great! Good parents parent in ways that feel right to them, whatever that looks like.
Why have we seen such a rise in demand for this type of service in the last ten years?
We are a generation that grew up with google. When your baby isn’t sleeping–you’re googling it, and people are discovering that sleep work is an evidence-based practice with years of research (long and short term) behind it. We’re a generation that loves to do our research. Families are changing–both parents work, many of my clients don’t have the luxury of 12-18 months off, and many require 8 hours of sleep to survive their work day. Even for those on maternity leave, work at home is very important, and we’re starting to see a generation of parents who know they don’t have to suffer when options exist. Caring for a young baby or child is exhausting whether you’re in the home or the office. Parents are starting to understand that when they are at their best, so are their children.
Why is setting a great sleep foundation for one’s baby so important?
For years sleep was considered ‘for the weak.’ And now we know that sleep is as essential as food/water/oxygen. Several physical and mental health outcomes are linked to sleep hygiene; if you’re not taking it seriously, you’re not taking care of your body. Whether you co-sleep or have your baby sleep on their own, giving them sleep is a gift for their future self.
How did BBS gain traction in Toronto and surrounding areas?
First of all, I’m so grateful for our success. Thank you, Toronto, for trusting us with your families. I am OBSESSED with the work I get to do every day.
When we started in 2017, I hustled and ensured I got in front of people. I did workshops, IG Lives, online seminars, and whatever I could to put my face in front of people to spread the good word of sleep. I also connected with local moms and asked them to share our experiences. It all came together, and here we are!
I’m also very honest with our clients; they appreciate that. Your baby will cry during this process, which sucks, but I’m going to work my ass off to ensure that crying isn’t very long. Parents should know that we’re a team and have the same goal: sleep with fewer tears.
What methodology do you use at BBS?
We use two methods at BBS. We call them Check and Connect or Stay and Support.
Research calls them ‘gradual extinction’ and ‘parental presence. Both methods allow for physical touch and assurance. Stay and Support allows the parent not to leave the room if they don’t want to. We choose these methods because they are based on research (we have evidence of safety and efficacy over and over again with both of these methods), and they allow for significant parental involvement, which our clients like. We also select these methods because they confuse the baby less. When you have babies that understand what is coming next, you have much less crying. Less crying means parents can follow the program and see the fruits of their labour. All of our work includes a ‘consultant in your pocket’ with access to daily text message support to help parents stay on track and ask last-minute questions. We believe in helping parents prevent common mistakes in their sleep journey that may prolong the experience. Our work with a client in the first three days is intense, and then we get through the hard part to where everyone can rest easy!
There seems to be a lot of misinformation about baby sleep and baby sleep training on the internet. Why is it important for you and the BBS team to combat that?
This is such a huge issue, and we could write a whole article on this. It comes down to all misinformation having some route in some science, but it’s the interpretation of the science or what research people are showing online. Our society generally doesn’t have an excellent grasp of what makes good research. Looking at a study with a small sample size and several research method errors is problematic, but the average person doesn’t have the training to recognize that. I went back to school to GET that training because I wanted to be sure I truly had an evidence-based practice.
Most anti-sleep training folks assess based on theoretical interpretations and on what’s not there. I’ll keep evaluating the science here, but just last month, there was another large-scale study of 2000 US parents that once again demonstrated the safety of sleep work on the child and parental attachment. There are brilliant, educated folks against sleep work based on different interpretations of data. In the end, those on both sides of the argument make decisions based on what they think is best for children. Ultimately, parents should make decisions based on what feels good in their souls. We have a lot of excellent research on parental mood and its effect on children. That’s one area most folks can agree on.
Who are excellent candidates for your consulting services, and why?
Those who aren’t coping with sleep deprivation (experiencing PPA/PPD), whose moods are impacted by lack of sleep, and who have tried sleep training repeatedly and think it doesn’t work. We usually have tips and tricks on why that’s happening.
Who may not be, and why?
Those who don’t think sleep training is for them. Those who have babies where feeding isn’t well established yet. Anyone under four months of age. Or when both parents aren’t on board. We need all hands on deck, and if one parent isn’t committed, it will impact the success of the process.
Please share a little bit of the process of working with you and what parents can expect.
We always do a discovery/screening call to explain the process, assess for parental/baby readiness and make sure it’s a good fit. Once readiness has been assessed, and the client wants to move forward, we do an intake process with them. Using our best age/stage strategies, we use that information to create a sleep plan for the client using our best age/stage strategies. From there, we learn how the baby responds, and that’s where the true personalization of our work comes in. We adjust strategy, wake windows, feeding intervals etc., to ensure the baby ge/= everything they need. Most of our clients sleep after 1-3 nights, but we stay with every client for a minimum of two weeks, just in case troubleshooting is required. If a client needs more support and time, they always get it.
You also run a podcast about baby sleep – please share with us a little bit about that.
Free support is really important to me. I try my best to provide free content on my IG, Tiktok and blog, but I have the gift of the gab and prefer to use it when possible. Thus, The Slumber Party Podcast was born. We talk about parenthood, have guest speakers and industry leaders on the pod, and answer baby sleep questions one episode at a time.
Connect with Amanda and BBS
Facebook: Baby’s Best Sleep
Podcast: The Slumber Party Podcast