Column on The DC Ladies

My column on The DC Ladies is live!

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– Michelle

New Green Column

I am starting to write a twice monthly column on The DC Ladies website,

My first column should be published this week.  I am very excited to be writing with such a great group of ladies!

Check them out 🙂


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Confessions from a Sleep Coach

I had originally wrote this in October and posted it on another blog of mine.  I reread it recently and thought it was worth sharing again to show almost no one, not even a sleep coach, have children who always sleep through the night!

Many people assume that because I am a sleep coach, my children are
perfect sleepers.  I will say, most nights are great, but there are the
off nights.

Last night my 7 year old daughter woke at 1:40 and came to our room and
said she was scared.  I walked her back to her room, tucked her back in,
gave her a hug and a kiss and she let me leave.  Normally she would
need me to talk a bit about what she was scared of and to think of some
good thoughts she could think of.  Not last night, I didn’t hear from
her again.

And then when I got up this morning I learned about what really happened
when I went back to sleep.  My daughter told me she climbed in bed with
my 5 year old son, asked him if she could sleep with him and he said
yes.  Ok, not too bad right?

Then, I talk to my husband who had already left for work.  He tells me
he got a drink of water at 3:15AM and noticed there was a door closed
that normally isn’t.  He opened the door and heard some noise in my
son’s room.  He went in and found my son on the floor playing with toys
and talking.  He put him back in bed and went back to sleep.  He had no
idea that my daughter was in there.

Apparently, my daughter got in my son’s bed, they “rested” according to
her, and then she asked him if they could play.  So they got up and
started playing in the middle of the night!  We’re not sure how long
they had been playing, or where my daughter was when my husband went
into my son’s room.  When she gets home from school I’m going to ask her
where she was – we’re wondering if she was hiding somewhere!

See, so no one’s kids are perfect sleepers!!  (Although I will say they
didn’t wake us up during the middle of the night playtime!)

kids sleepover

Why Do People Need a Sleep Coach?

891330_sleeping_beautyI was having a conversation with my husband recently that sparked this blog post.  We were discussing why people need sleep coaches now when they haven’t in the past.  I have some thoughts, and these are only my personal opinions.  Feel free to let me know what your thoughts are.

Why are there so many coaches nowadays?  We have Relationship Coaches,
Parenting Coaches, Potty Training Coaches and Sleep Coaches to name a few.  I have a few ideas why we have these helpful people as part of our
lives now.  I am going to focus on sleep coaches, but I think many of the following reasons apply to other coaches being part of our lives as well.

1.  Families are more spread out.  In the past, families were
closer together and thus new parents had more help.  When my children
were born, my parents did come to stay near us (they live in New York,
we live in Virginia) , but once my children were a few weeks old, I had
no close help.  With my daughter it was not a big deal, she was a
relatively easy child and I was getting sleep.  She was also my first,
so I had no other children to take care of.  Then my son came along.  My
daughter was 2 and I had a very cranky baby who barely slept.  How I
wished my family was close then!  How nice it would have been to have
them come over a couple of times a week just so I could get a nap in.  I
do not believe I am the only one who has been in this predicament.  And
this is when a Coach comes in handy.  In this case, I could have used a
sleep coach to walk me through my son’s sleep issues and reassure me
while I was trying to improve his sleep.

2.  Overload of information.  I searched for Child Sleep Books on  After narrowing it to just the books in Parenting &
Relationships there were 350 results!!  I know when my son was not
sleeping, I bought a couple of books, but which one was right for us?
And more importantly, which one would work?!  Here is the great thing
about a sleep coach – most of us have read a lot of these books and
we’ve been trained on many of the methods.  We find out about your child
and how you parent and we recommend the method that we believe will
work the best in your situation.  And then we guide you through the
changes as you make them.  A book cannot take into consideration your
child and the differences each child has.

3.  More women working and not staying home.  I am in no way
judging this, I just personally think this is one of the reasons why
more people use sleep coaches.   If a woman is not working, she may have
time during the day to possibly take a nap and get caught up on some
sleep.  Of course if she has other children to take care of, this is
probably not the case.  And especially if she has to work, she will not
have time to catch up on any sleep during the day.  Some women are going
back to work when their babies are only 6 weeks old, and thus they are
probably not getting much sleep.

4.  More children are being breastfed.  There have been studies
that show that initially, breastfed babies may wake more during the
night than formula fed babies.  This difference however disappears as
the babies get older.  Here’s a link to the study:
This does not mean I am advocating formula instead of breastfeeding so
your baby will sleep more.  In fact, when my son was a baby I switched
him to formula hoping he would sleep better (he was also going down on
the weight percentile chart and I unfortunately did not have a doctor or
lactation consultant that was working with me to continue).  I was so
tired, I was hoping this would be the miracle, but I was wrong.

5.  No, you cannot spoil a newborn!  In the past, mothers were
told not to hold their babies too much or they would be spoiled.  Take a
look at this infant care brochure from 1929.  Infant Care Brochure.
I find this quote particularly interesting (and so wrong!): “He should
learn that hunger will be satisfied only so often, that when he is put
into his bed he must go to sleep, that crying will not result in his
being picked up or played with whenever he likes”.  This is from the
newborn section!  So if parents were indeed letting their babies cry at
young ages and fall asleep on their own, they would probably have no
choice but to fall asleep.  Luckily today, we realize that letting a
baby cry it out as a newborn is not a good idea.  And there are many
kinder, gentler ways to encourage good sleep habits in children of all
ages, without leaving them along to cry along.

So these are some of the reasons I’ve come up with that may cause more
people today to seek out help than in the past.  Do you have other
ideas?  In all, I am so much happier with where we are now as compared
to years ago!  I do not believe that “training in self-reliance should
have begun by 1 year” as the Infant Care Brochure I mentioned earlier

Michelle Winters
Gentle Sleep Coach, Greenproofer

What Does “Going Green” Mean?

1412834_riverThe term “Going Green” can mean different things to different people.   I wanted to talk a little about what this term means to me and I welcome your comments on what it means to you!
If you asked me several years ago (before I had kids) I would have probably said going green had to do with saving the environment by recycling, saving electricity and saving water.  Now my answer still includes those aspects, but it also includes so much more!
Now I consider Going Green being aware of what I am putting in and on my family’s bodies; being aware of what products I am using and how they affecting the environment around me; being aware of what companies I am buying from and how they stand on environmental factors; being aware of how the food we eat is made and grown as well as all the other aspects I used to believe.  There probably also is a lot more that I am not thinking about right now!
Now I’m not trying to say that I am a perfect specimen – I do eat McDonald’s now and then.  🙂 But I try to be better and to be aware.  There are many different shades of green, and we can all pick one that fits with our lifestyle and our beliefs.  So if you are just starting out, start small and add bigger steps later if you feel you can!
Feel free to let me know what Going Green means to you!