Adults generally require seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but new parents are at risk of losing sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, after a baby is born, men lose an average of 13 minutes of sleep per night, while women lose over an hour of sleep per night.
“I had my son in 2019. I was a first time mom, typical mom — sleep deprived,” said Joanna Paul. “It became harder to manage work, manage the home, manage my son.”
As a new mother at the time, Paul felt a lack of support. She noticed how breastfeeding classes were available, yet she found nothing regarding sleep for new parents, which she describes as being essential to function. From there, Paul took it upon herself to learn about sleeping habits, which is when she developed a passion for understanding baby sleep.
By 2020, Paul received her certification from the Institute of Pediatric Sleep and Parenting. By 2021, she started her virtual business, Sleepy Little Nugget, where she creates personalized sleep plans for families. The business name stemmed from Paul and her husband referring to their newborn as a “Little Nugget.”
“I try to understand every aspect of their life as much as possible, and I create a personalized sleep plan for them,” said Paul.
Paul’s clients fill out an extensive intake form, which goes over daily routines, habits and sleep schedules. Generally, Paul works with a family for two to three weeks, depending on how gradually the parents wish to make a shift in the baby’s sleeping habits, said Paul. She also works with families that have children up until age 4.
“It’s my job to be a third party looking at the data you provide me,” said Paul. “There’s so many factors to look at, so it’s not a one-fits-all solution.”
Some of the factors Paul looks at include nap schedules, feeding schedules, activity and stimulation, as well as the personality of the baby and parents.
“I look at what happened during the night and I ask them to provide as much information as possible,” said Paul, who explained how she checks in with her clients on a daily basis.
When examining the data, Paul looks at how many times the baby woke up in the night, what the parents did during the waking such as holding or feeding, and how long it took the baby to fall back asleep. Additionally, Paul provides her clients with ideas on how to handle behavioral aspects, such as reducing screen time while keeping the child happy.
“It’s a lot of being there for the families and cheering them on,” said Paul.
Currently, Paul works with two to three clients at a time due to her high level of consistent involvement.
“The favorite part is when the first night a mom feels like she’s got a four- to five- to six-hour stretch, and she feels like a new person,” said Paul, who explained how being well rested decreases stress in households and allows for greater flexibility for families.
According to Paul, much has changed over the past 10 years in terms of lack of village support and less community members assisting others.
“Sleep is definitely not a luxury for new parents. I think it’s a necessity,” said Paul. “That’s my goal — to be someone’s support system.”
For more information visit https://sleepylittlenugget.com/