In this new series, we will be chatting with a few of our favorite sleep experts to get their insights on how to improve your (or your family's) sleep routines. This week we’re talking to Becca Campbell, a Richmond, VA-based Pediatric Sleep Consultant.
What do you do as a pediatric sleep consultant?
As a Pediatric Sleep Consultant at Little Z’s Sleep I teach parents, through online courses, how to make sleep a thing for children ages 0-5 years old. In the last 5 years of running Little Z’s I’ve been able to work with thousands of families all over the world. It doesn’t matter where you live. If you have a child who can’t sleep and you have a phone...we can work together.
What is one thing you would tell a parent whose child is struggling to sleep at night?
Whenever a family messages me on Instagram, sends an email or checks out our website I want them to know that their child CAN sleep!! It’s our job as caretakers to teach and equip our children with the tools to sleep. These skills last a lifetime. It’s never too late to learn how to sleep, and it’s never too early to begin to understand the foundations of sleep.
What are your top recommended products for new parents to establish healthy sleep routines with their children?
I believe the 3 cornerstones of the best sleep environment are:
The darker the room, the better the sleep - always. Any speck of sunlight peeking through your child’s windows or doors can cue your child to wake after 1 sleep cycle. I highly recommend the SlumberPod or Blackout EZ Covers to ensure 100% darkness. You should be able to go into your child’s room, close the blinds and curtains...sit down and let your eyes adjust, and not even be able to see your hand in front of your face.
There are lots of options here, but the best one hands down is the Dohm Classic. We’ve been using ours for over 5 years, and it’s never failed us. Many clients ask if music or lullabies are okay, but the biggest issue I have with a sound machine that runs on a track is that when the song ENDS, your child can wake up. Don’t want that! All of the Yogasleep machines are on a continuous loop, so even if the true white noise or fan motor isn’t your thing, you can easily find a naturescape to soothe your child to sleep as well.
The most important reason we want a sound machine for your child’s room is to prevent environmental noises from waking your child. Especially in the early morning when sleep is the lightest, having a quality sound machine is perfect to block out your movement around the house as you get ready for work. And of course - be able to enjoy a movie in the other room after bedtime while your child snoozes without a care next door.
Safe Sleep Space
It’s important that babies and children have their own separate safe sleep space. While many families choose to bed share or co-sleep, I teach separate sleeping spaces for maximum safety. My entire journey to becoming a sleep consultant began when I found my 3 month old under my covers one morning...and I had NO memory on how she got there in the first place. That’s a scary place to be that I wish those panic feelings on NO ONE.
The best place for a newborn to sleep is either a pack 'n play, bassinet, or a crib with no bedding, pillows or stuffed animals. For children 4 months to 3 years of age, I recommend a crib. When a child turns 3 years old they are developmentally ready to understand the open bed concept, and won’t be as tempted to hop out of bed all night. Separate sleep spaces are best for all children.
What is one thing a parent could do tonight to make sleep better for the whole family?
If you’re ready to start making strides toward a better night of sleep for everyone, go through that 3 point checklist above and apply it to everyone’s room! Grab towels or blankets to hang from windows as a temporary blackout solution, and even grab an eye mask for your sleep! Pop up a sound machine app (or even a box fan will work for now!) and ensure everyone has a separate sleeping space. Setting up the sleep space is step one of all my online sleep training programs. Having this set is vital for a foundation of a great night of rest.
At Little Z’s Sleep we’re passionate about helping families become happy, healthy and well-rested families. Your child CAN sleep! If you’re ready to make sleep a thing, check out all of our free resources.