Meet Erin Neri – A supportive Edmonton Sleep Consultant

Heirloom album of a newborn smiling and with his dad

Are you tired of the adage “sleep when the baby sleeps”? Chatting with a supportive Edmonton sleep consultant can help!

Fragmented sleep during the first 18 months of a baby’s life is no joke, whether this baby is your first, second or consecutive newborn baby. Figuring out an effective sleep hygiene can be challenging — which is why in this blog article, I bring to you this interview with Erin Neri — an Edmonton Sleep Consultant at To The Moon and Back Sleep Consulting.

Sleep when the baby sleeps is likely the least helpful adage.

Feel free to join my free motherhood group — where you can connect with other moms and any Edmonton sleep consultant & doulas in the group. It is a supportive group where you can also meet another mom and organize play dates!

I am an Edmonton-based maternity & newborn photographer. If you have yet to book either session, check out my maternity portfolio or fill out the contact form on my website. I look forward to connecting with you!

A newborn baby girl covered with a pink lace blanket sleeps on her mother's wedding dress during a newborn session with Cynthia Priest Photography

How can Erin Neri, an Edmonton Sleep Consultant, help babies sleep better?

Erin has a newborn program to help prepare parents for all things sleep-related with a newborn. This includes schedules, routines, wake windows, and how to develop age-appropriate independent sleep skills and more. Parents can choose to come into the program during the prenatal stages or up until the baby is about 10 weeks old. Newborn Sleep School supports families up to 18 weeks and ensures you have a little one sleeping well independently by graduation at 4.5 months old. My program supports babies during their first 4.5 months of life and helps parents navigate life with a newborn to make it more enjoyable and less stressful.

I also have programs for babies 3-12 months, toddlers at the age of 12-24 months and kids 2-9 years old. So, the best time for sleep training is when parents are ready to make changes to their baby’s sleep situation. Parents need to be ready to make changes. If they cannot commit to the process, it will be harder on the child.

To begin all parents start with a free 20-minute sleep evaluation call where I learn more about what’s happening with your child’s sleep and I explain how I can help change your family’s life into one that gets the sleep they all need.

What are some typical sleep patterns for newborns and infants?

Newborns tend to wake up frequently to eat at night and often have their days and nights mixed up in the beginning. They can also have short naps as they develop their circadian rhythm.

I often see infants that cannot get to sleep independently, have frequent night wakings and take short naps as they cannot connect their sleep cycles or consolidate their sleep. They are reliant on external sleep props to get to sleep and to get back to sleep and need these props repeated for them all night long and often in the middle of a nap. Sleep props include feeding to sleep, pacifiers/soothers, rocking, patting, holding, co-sleeping, etc.

Infants who have healthy independent sleep skills fall asleep within 10-15 minutes and sleep through the night for a consolidated 11-12 hrs straight, plus take long restful naps that last for 1-2 hours. They are happier and eat better than before they were sleeping through the night.

How can parents establish a healthy sleep routine for their newborns?

By following a wake-eat-play-sleep pattern and avoiding feeding the baby to sleep. Feed baby upon waking up in the morning and then from naps, not before the nap or to sleep. This will help to promote full feeds as the baby stays awake for the feed and stops the feed-to-sleep association from developing.
It’s also best to put the baby down for sleep awake and let them drift off to sleep using their skills. You can put the baby down drowsy but awake in the early months.
Start using a bedtime and nap routine to help signal the transition from play to sleep.

What are your recommendations for creating a conducive sleep environment for infants?

Baby needs to be sleeping in the blackout dark for both bedtime and naps. It must be a 9/10 dark and no sunlight is bleeding into the room during naps or early mornings.
Also, they should be exposed to lots of natural light during their awake times. These are going to help set their body clock.

I would also use continuous white or pink noise for all sleep. It needs to stay on for the entirety of the sleep situation.

Make sure that the crib is set up using safe baby sleep guidelines. Nothing should be on or in the crib but the baby is in a sleep sack. No bumpers or mobiles, no light enhancing or musical toys, nothing that can stimulate the baby while trying to get to sleep.

We want to avoid your baby getting overtired, to do this you want to follow age-appropriate wake windows and put your baby down awake 10 minutes before the end of the awake window. This should help to make sure that the baby is not getting overtired. Soothing an overtired baby and trying to get them to sleep is very difficult it’s best to avoid the situation.

It’s going to depend on the age of the infant as to what’s appropriate to help soothe them. But It’s best to stay consistent with your boundaries and expectations and support the baby while they work out getting to sleep on their own.

Top view photograph of a family loving on their newborn baby

What is your stance on sleep training methods, and what is your approach like for each family?

As an Edmonton sleep consultant, I do not believe in crying it out. Alternatively, I don’t believe there are effective no-cry solutions. I think both cause more tears than are necessary.

I provide my parents with a lot of education; we spend time preparing for the upcoming changes and don’t just jump into sleep training.

We set the child up for success with the least tears possible. But there will always be some tears because it is how the baby communicates, and it’s the baby’s right to say, “Hey, I don’t like these changes.” Plus, crying has been working for the baby to get what he wants, so why would they stop crying right away? He has to test the boundaries and learn the new expectations.

I use the gentler sleep training methods where parents support the baby while still giving him opportunities to work on and learn his/here independent sleep skills.

My methods are very effective, and we always see considerable improvements in night sleep and naps. I care greatly about my families and I want them to see succeed. I work with a family until we have met their sleep training goals.

How can parents manage and respond to night wakings and feedings while encouraging healthy sleep habits?

They can start by waiting for 10 minutes before responding to baby. Give baby a chance to use their own skills and see if they will go back to sleep on their own.

If it’s a feed time, start with a diaper change before feeding as that will help to break the feed-to-sleep association. Keep baby aware of her surroundings and put her back into the crib awake.

If it’s not a feed time and you’ve waited 10 minutes and baby is still struggling to get back to sleep you want to respond to baby using your sleep training method and support baby through the wake-up.

If you aren’t using a sleep training method then it’s only fair to respond to baby as baby expects as anything else will cause a lot of unnecessary tears.

What are your thoughts on co-sleeping, room-sharing, and independent sleep for infants?

The research supports having a baby in the same room for up to 3-6 months, but not co-sleeping. Co-sleeping has been shown to increase the risks of SIDS and therefore it is not something I recommend. I have also partnered with hundreds of families working towards ending co-sleeping with all ages of children and I can tell you that it causes a ton of problems for children of all ages.

When room sharing and promoting healthy independent sleep skills, it’s best to have the baby away from the parent’s bed and in their own little sleep space with a partition of some kind between them. Using a SlumberPod is a great option for room-sharing parents.

I believe all children have the right to get great sleep and should have the opportunity to learn healthy independent sleep skills when they are lacking.

Sleep is just as important as nutrition and should be regarded as such. If you’re concerned about what baby eats then you should be as concerned about the quality and quantity of sleep that your little one is getting. It affects their development, mood and relationships.
Continuing to struggle with sleep deprivacation, because your child lacks independent sleep skills, is not something that should be happening. Sleep deprivation affects your ability to parent at your best. It affects your relationships with your spouse and your children. We shouldn’t be taking risks with little ones’ well-being just because we have some reservations about sleep training or more specifically about letting babies cry for short periods. The research is clear that sleep training doesn’t harm infants and children. Studies show the benefits of getting a consolidated night’s sleep and taking long restful naps far outweigh the concerns for small amounts of crying.

What other advice do you have for parents struggling with their baby’s sleep regressions?

It’s best to stay consistent when responding to your baby. If your baby is sleeping well independently and hits a sleep regression it is best to go back to your sleep training methods when responding to him. Stick to your boundaries and expectations and respond when your baby struggles. Stay consistent with how you’re responding and supporting baby, don’t offer any new sleep props or they will become his new sleep strategy even after the regression is over.
Regressions are usually tied to developmental milestones so practice, practice, practice their new skill during waking hours.

I hope you have found this Edmonton sleep consultant interview helpful. If you have any questions, reach out to Erin Neri directly!

A 10 day old newborn wrapped in purple gently caressing her cheek while she sleeps in a heart shaped wooden bowl in Cynthia Priest Photographys studiio in Edmonton

For newborn-related blog articles, check out the following!
Bumps Upon A Time – an Edmonton doula
Five helpful Edmonton baby stores
Post-partum doula Diana Sikanja

For blog articles for expecting moms, check the following out:
Prenatal massages in Edmonton
Maternity Stores



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