Emily Oster

17 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

Better Sleep for Toddlers—And Their Parents

Making a plan, post-crib

Emily Oster

17 min Read

How do we get kids to sleep? I’ve written a lot about this in the context of babies, but toddlers and older kids are a whole other ball game. Sleep training — which can be an effective method for babies in a crib — doesn’t really work for a 4-year-old who can get up and leave their room. It is up to you what sleep looks like in your family and where it takes place. However, if your goal is for your child to sleep independently through the night in their own room, parents often find that hard to implement.

I’ve talked before about general principles on sleep for older kids, and many people have asked for more specifics. As in: I hear you about bedtime routine, but literally What do I do? Today on the podcast, we have perhaps our most practical guest ever. Jessica Berk is a sleep consultant for toddlers and preschoolers, and we speak very directly about why sleep is difficult (but also important) and how to get your kids to bed.

Here are three highlights from the conversation:

Why is it important for your child to get enough sleep?

Emily:

I spend an awful lot of time talking about why sleep is important and how the data says that sleep is important. And I don’t think that we speak enough to parents about why their own sleep is important, why the sleep that their kid gets is important, why it is worth it to undertake some things that are a little costly in the short term because it’s going to deliver good sleep for you and your kids later. So do you want to tell me why you’ve devoted your career to the importance of sleep?

Jessica:

Yes, thank you so much for saying that, because it is so true, and this is exactly what I tell parents all the time. I tell moms that in order to focus on this process of improving their kid’s sleep, they really need to think about how important sleep is for their child. Because I feel like parents don’t want to do anything that they’re going to be thinking is selfish in any way. And so I really try to bring it back to the child. 

But I think the American Academy of Pediatrics says that 25% or 30% of kids under 5 years old do not get enough sleep. And we know how important sleep is. You can say this more than I can, but science shows us that. In the short term there are major issues, mostly related to marital satisfaction, maternal depression, but then even for the child, later in life, sleep issues in childhood have been shown to impact their performance in school, their attention, and things like that. And I’ve worked with many families whose kids… The doctor says, “Well, they may have ADHD or hyperactivity,” but then once the kid is sleeping, a lot of those symptoms go away because really, really chronically overtired kids look clingy and hyper and can’t calm down and they’re always going, going, going. So sleep is such a core foundational need.

Why is getting your toddler to sleep so challenging?

Emily:

That strikes me as the most challenging piece of what we would refer to as sleep training or sleep coaching in the older age group — you can’t just say, “Do this and then here is how it’ll work.” There’s a third person effectively in the conversation in a way that there’s just not with a baby. So with that jumping-off point, what happens that causes people to call you?

Jessica:

Well, if you want me to just run through what different scenarios look like, we could be here all day. But no, you’re right. In some ways it’s just really different with older kids. And it does feel more challenging, because with a baby, it’s really all about getting the timing, getting the schedule, the naps and stuff like that. And then you just put them in the crib and they can’t go anywhere. But with an older kid, once they’re out of the crib and they’re free to roam, it’s like the perfect intersection of this freedom but also this little person who’s, let’s say 3, 4, or 5 years old, who is coming into this age where they want control of things. They feel like they’re a big kid and they want some more control of what’s going on in their life. They want some say in things, they want to feel heard. So there’s a lot going on there developmentally. 

So when you say it’s harder, it is harder because your kid can say heartbreaking things and make you feel guilty and cry, and they’re just so much more verbal and they’re saying things like “I’m scared of this” or “I have to go potty.” And you’re like, “Well, are you scared? Do you have to go potty for the 89th time? Maybe you do.”

Emily:

“I’m thirsty. I’m so thirsty.” Hydration is so important, Jessica.

Jessica:

Yeah. No one’s ever more thirsty than a 4-year-old at 8 p.m. Thirstiest person ever.

Emily:

They’re in the desert. It’s the pre-bedtime desert.

Jessica:

Yeah. They’re starving. But then the parents are like, “They didn’t eat that great at dinner. They’re kind of in a picky phase. Maybe they are hungry.” So it does feel really confusing. It’s kind of the perfect storm of all these things coming into play. 

So the first thing that I always say to parents is “Yes, it’s a little bit more difficult in that way, but also I feel like in a lot of ways it can be easier.” And parents are surprised by this, because once they learn to understand where their kid is at developmentally and you learn how to use it to your advantage, instead of fighting against it and trying to control your kid — if you learn how to work with them — then it can actually make the process a little bit easier.

What’s the most important first step in establishing better sleep habits?

Jessica:

So this all really starts with the bedtime routine, like you said, and the first thing that everybody needs to be doing is every single person needs to be putting their kid to bed earlier. Let’s just say that. That’s a general rule.

Emily:

Say more of what you mean by earlier?

Jessica:

Well, I just want to say that I think everyone who has a 3-year-old thinks that their bedtime should be 8:30. And I don’t know why that is, but so many families I talk to, kids are going to bed at 8:30, 9:00. I don’t know if it’s like we think they’re 3 and they’re big now and they can stay up late. No. If your child is under 6 years old, the goal is to have them asleep by 8:00, and the younger the kid, the younger the bedtime. So for a 3-year-old to go to bed at 7:00 is not unheard of. I understand there’s family schedules, work situations, like that. But just talking generally here, we want our kids to be asleep by… a 3-year-old should definitely be asleep by 7:30.

So putting your kids to bed earlier is key, because what happens is kids get cranky, kids get overtired, and then they get a second wind and then they’re up until 9, 9:30, and then everything is a disaster. So first hardcore tip, just move bedtime 15 minutes earlier tonight from wherever you are. 

Full transcript

This transcript was automatically generated and may contain small errors.

Dad:

Bed, sleep, now.

Bluey:

Aw. But I’m not tired.

Dad:

Night, Bingo.

Bingo:

Night, Dad.

Mum:

So Baby Chick snuggled up to Mummy Chick and drifted off to sleep. The end. Okay, sleepytime now.

Bingo:

Just one more.

Emily Oster:

This is Parent Data. I’m Emily Oster.

Mum:

Bluey.

Bluey:

Can I have a drink of water?

Mum:

Okay, honey.

Bluey:

Dad, can you sing to me?

Dad:

99 bottles of thing on the wall, 99 bottles of thing. And if one of these bottles should happen to fall, there’ll be 98 bottles of thing on the wall.

Emily:

A few months ago, I was at dinner with two older couples. Both of them had grown kids, kids in their thirties, and one of them had grandkids. And they got in a fight. And the fight was about sleep hygiene for toddlers. And it wasn’t about the toddlers that were the grandkids. It was a fight about what they had done 35 years ago when their own children were not very effective sleepers.

One of the people thought that it was appropriate to have your kids sleep in your bed, and the other couple had insisted on their children sleeping in their room. They got quite heated. And what was striking was both that apparently one never gets over fighting about things like sleep with other parents who you disagree with. But also that the father of one of the couples remembered so vividly his attempts to get his child to sleep in her room. He recounted that when they had finally decided to insist that she go back to her room when she came out at night, that the first night he returned her to the room 130 times. 130 times. He remembered the number. The next night it was 44 times. After that, she stayed in her room, which he viewed as a success. That of course, led to more arguing, the conversation ended.

Sleep, for parents, is one of the hardest things. When we have a baby, we expect sleep deprivation when they’re infants. And we talk a lot both on Parent Data and in general about how to get small babies to sleep better, thinking about sleep training, thinking about versions of cry it out or not cry it out. But what I think gets much less attention is that these issues with sleep continue as our kids get older.

One of the most common questions that I get at Parent Data is, “How do I get my toddler or elementary school age kid to sleep better?” We don’t expect this, but the sleep deprivation that now has built up over 3, 4, 5 years can be really damaging to parent mental health. We worry that our kids aren’t getting enough sleep, and often bedtime becomes a scorched earth disaster movie.

I’ve talked about sleep for toddlers in general in a lot of my writing. I’ve talked about the value of consistency, about ways to generate a better bedtime routine, but it turns out most people think that that’s not concrete enough. So today on the podcast, I brought on Jessica Berk. Jessica is a sleep consultant, and we’re going to talk very concretely about methods for getting kids who can leave the room on their own to stay in their room. We’re going to talk about the importance of sleep, but we also talk about just literally how can one implement this kind of sleep environment that will help your kids sleep better, and just as importantly, will help you sleep better. And with that, after the break, Jessica Berk.

Emily:

Jessica, it is great to have you on ParentData. I would love to start, can you just introduce yourself?

Jessica Berk:

Yes. My name is Jessica Berk. I am a certified pediatric sleep consultant and I’m the founder of Awesome Little Sleepers. And when I say sleep consultant, if you’ve ever heard of a sleep consultant, most people think of babies, but I actually specialize in older kids, so kids closer to three years old, because if you have kids in this range, you know that once they’re out of the crib and sleeping in a bed, sleep can really get crazy at that point. So that is actually… I specialize in bigger kids.

Emily:

Which is why I brought you on, because I would say if we put in the top questions that I get in ParentData, they are about sleep, food, and… Well, really sleep and food. Oh, screens. Sleep and food and screens. And so today we’re doing sleep and I would say the biggest sleep question is about this older kid range, where, as we’ll get into, it gets much harder. But I want to start before we even talk about why is this hard and when does it fall apart and how do we fix it with almost the science of sleep.

Though, I spend an awful lot of time talking about why sleep is important and how the data says the sleep is important. And I just want to put a pin in that because I don’t think that we speak enough to parents about why their own sleep is important, why the sleep that their kid gets is important, why it is worth it to undertake some things which are a little costly in the short term because it’s going to deliver good sleep for you and your kids later. So do you want to tell me why you’ve devoted your career to the importance of sleep?

Jessica:

Yes, thank you so much for saying that because it is so true, and this is exactly what I tell parents all the time. So even though you and I understand how important parental sleep is, especially for moms, but I tell moms that in order to really focus on this process of improving their kid’s sleep, they really need to think about how important sleep is for their child. Because I feel like parents don’t really want to do anything that they’re going to be thinking is selfish in any way. And so I really try to bring it back to the child, although it was very important to both. But I think it’s like the American Academy of Pediatrics says that it’s like 25 or 30% of kids under five years old do not get enough sleep.

And we know how important sleep is. You can say this more than I can, but science shows us that. in the short term there are major issues when it comes to mostly related to marital satisfaction, maternal depression, but then even for the child later in life, sleep issues in childhood have shown to impact their performance in school, their attention and things like that. And I’ve worked with many families whose kids… The doctor says, “Well, they may have ADHD or hyperactivity,” but then really once the kid is sleeping, a lot of those symptoms go away because really, really chronically overtired kids look clingy and hyper and can’t calm down and they’re always going, going, going. So, sleep is such a core foundational need.

Emily:

Yeah. And we see this even in small trials. One of my favorite trials to talk about for parents is one in which they took elementary school-age kids and they had their parents either put them to bed at their normal time so they got the normal amount of sleep or put them to bed an hour later for a week. And they had a trial where then at the end of the week they would see how did they perform on tests. And even that week of one less hour of sleep every night caused them to…

Their parents said that they behaved worse, their teacher said they behaved worse, they did worse on cognitive testing. And it gives you a sense of both just how important an adequate amount of sleep is and not just don’t stay up all night, but actually even an hour for a few days matters. It also tells you that if you can fix this, if you can get your kid to sleep more if they’re not sleeping enough, you may see returns right away. You don’t have to have them sleep enough for three years to get the benefits. You could literally get the benefits in a week.

Jessica:

Yes, and this is one of the questions that I ask parents after they take my sleep course. I ask them, “What is one of the most unexpected benefits of having a well-rested kid?” And it’s one of two things either comes up, it’s that either the child, they see such a change in the child’s behavior or they’re reported on at school, the teacher’s like, “Oh my gosh, we’re not having any trouble with him sitting still, or any trouble with listening or hitting,” things like that really can resolve very quickly.

And then the other thing people say is that their child is so proud of themselves when you actually set up some structure so the child knows and has a good understanding of the expectations and the rules around sleep. It allows kids to feel so proud of themselves. And then a lot of times I also hear that parents feel more connected to their kids because so often there is so much drama between the parent and the child. It really feels like a you versus them when it comes to sleep problems. If your kid refuses to go to bed or is waking up all night, that usually isn’t great for that parent-child interaction.

Emily:

That’s the best part of the day. I think [inaudible 00:05:57].

Jessica:

That’s not good times right there.

Emily:

Not good times.

Jessica:

I call it mean mommy, mean daddy. That’s not who we want to be at eight, nine o’clock at night, 2:00 in the morning. But oftentimes that’s what happens. And so it really can help to really bond parent and child together, which is kind of like the opposite of what people think is going to happen when they fix sleep.

Emily:

So let’s talk about this, about fixing the sleep and particularly about this older age because I’ve talked a lot in CribShoot, I talked online, I talk a lot about sleep training and we’re talking about babies in some ways that’s very well-defined and in some ways very tractable, which is different from saying it’s easy, but with a baby, the advice of put them down in their crib and let them cry. And we can talk about how that’s not bad for them, but just in terms of practically implementing, it’s hard in the sense that it is hard to experience, but it’s not hard in the sense that you can explain to someone do this.

The baby can’t leave the crib. That’s it. You just do it and it’s just tractable. It’s easy to explain to somebody when we get to older kids, your kid is playing more of a role in pushing back. That strikes me as the most challenging piece of what we would refer to as sleep training or sleep coaching in the older age group that you can’t just say, “Do this and then here is how it’ll work,” that there’s a third person effectively in the conversation in a way that there’s just not with a baby. So with that jumping off point, what happens that causes people to call you, is basically what I’m asking. Why are people calling you?

Jessica:

Well, if you want me to just run through what different scenarios look like, we could be here all day. But no, you’re right. In some ways it’s just really different with older kids. And it does feel more challenging because you’re right, with a baby, it’s really all about getting the timing, getting the schedule, the naps and stuff like that. And then you just put them in the crib and they can’t go anywhere. But with an older kid, once they’re out of the crib and they’re free to roam, it’s kind of like the perfect intersection of this freedom.

But also this little person who’s like, let’s say three, four or five years old who is really coming into this age where they want control of things. They feel like they’re a big kid and they want some more control of what’s going on in their life. They want some say in things, they want to feel heard. So there’s a lot going on there developmentally. So when you say it’s harder, it is harder because your kid can say heartbreaking things and make you feel guilty and cry, and they’re just so much more verbal and they’re saying things like, “I’m scared of this, or I have to go potty.” And you’re like, “Well, are you scared? Do you have to go potty for the 89th time? Maybe you do.”

Emily:

I’m thirsty. I’m so thirsty. Hydration is so important, Jessica.

Jessica:

It’s so important.

Emily:

So important.

Jessica:

Yeah. No one’s ever more thirsty than a four-year-old at 8:00 PM. Thirstiest person ever.

Emily:

They’re thirsty. They’re in the desert. It’s the pre-bedtime desert.

Jessica:

Yeah. They’re starving. They’re starving. But then the parents are like, “They didn’t eat that great at dinner. They’re kind of in a picky phase. Maybe they are hungry.” So it does feel really confusing. So it makes sense. It’s kind of the perfect storm of all these things coming into play. So the first thing that I always say to parents is, “Yes, it’s a little bit more difficult in that way, but also I feel like in a lot of ways it can be easier.” And parents are surprised by this because once they learn to understand where their kid is at developmentally and you learn how to use it to your advantage instead of fighting against it and trying to control your kid, if you learn how to work with them, then it can actually make the process a little bit easier. And like I was saying before, sometimes you can set it up. If you set it up in the right way, the kid actually feels proud of themselves. But the first step is really knowing who you’re dealing with.

Emily:

With. And I think that recognition is a very key step here. The thing that I think people find the hardest is your kid complaining, not complaining, but your kid being able to verbalize things, which if they came out of the mouth of another adult would seem very reasonable. And it echoes for me so much of what’s hard about disciplining and behavior modification in this age, not even discipline, but just how we interact with our kids that if my spouse said, “I’m really thirsty, I’m going to get another drink of water before bed.” I wouldn’t be like, “No, you’re not. Just get in the bed.” Or, “I want to have a snack.” I wouldn’t be like, “Look, I’m sorry you had enough dinner.” He would not react well or I would not react well as a person who consistently snacks immediately before bed, I would say, “You don’t understand. I really am hungry.” And our kids are not adults, which is a constant, constant recognition that we are having.

Jessica:

Yes, our kids are… I like to remind parents too, “You are the parent. You have to provide the structure and the boundaries that are going to work for you and your family.” And that can look different. There’s no right or wrong. It can look different for different families, but the parents should have the structure that works for them and works for their kids. So yes, our kids have underdeveloped brains. They don’t have impulse control, they don’t have a sense of time. That person should not be running the show. That is not a good way for your family to operate, to be run by this tiny person who just wants what they want, when they want it, and have no idea of consequences at all.

Emily:

So let’s talk about solutions, because a big piece of the reason I wanted to have you on is I think that it’s easy to articulate, and this is a lot of what I do at ParentData, general principles. A general principle is that you should have a bedtime routine. A general principle about behavior changing kids is that consistency is important. And those are things which are true of sleep routines. They’re also true of many other things. This is a place where people I think really benefit from quite a bit more scaffolding than can be given by, “Here are three general principles.” So you are doing something quite specific, and I’d love you to just talk a little bit about when someone comes to you with this problem, what is the general approach you take without giving away all your secrets?

Jessica:

Yeah, yeah, no, of course. So the general approach is I think the heart of everything that I teach in the Rest Method that I’ve developed, which is specifically for these older kids is what we said at first, which is really knowing who you’re dealing with, understanding where your kid is at developmentally so that you can give them a chance to feel heard. And my program is focused on giving your kid a sense of control. So I really like for parents to understand that when you can make your child feel heard and give them some sense of control, it goes a long way to getting them to cooperate in going to bed. So this all really starts with the bedtime routine, like you said, and the first thing that everybody needs to be doing is every single person needs to be putting their kid to bed earlier. Let’s just say that. That’s a general rule. I don’t know what-

Emily:

Say more of what you mean by earlier?

Jessica:

Well, I just want to say out there that I think everyone who has a three-year-old thinks that their bedtime should be 8:30. And I don’t know why that is, but so many families I talk to kids are going to bed at 8:30, nine o’clock. I don’t know if it’s like we think they’re three and they’re big now and they can stay up late. No. If your child is under six years old, the goal is to have them asleep by eight o’clock, and the younger the kid, the younger the bedtime. So for a three-year-old to go to bed at 7:00 is not unheard of. I understand there’s family schedules, work situations like that. But just talking generally here, we want our kids to be asleep by… A three-year-old should definitely be asleep by 7:30.

So putting your kids to bed earlier is key because what happens is kids get cranky, kids get overtired, and then they get a second wind and then they’re up until 9:00, 9:30, and then everything is a disaster. So first hardcore tip, just move bedtime 15 minutes earlier tonight from wherever you are. That’s the best tip to take away from this whole episode. But so knowing where your kid is at developmentally is step one so that you can work with them to set up a bedtime routine that they’re going to rebel less against. That’s the goal. So really talking to your kid about, “Okay, what do you want to do? What kind of things do you like to do before bed?” Have a brainstorming session with them. Try to put some pieces of a routine together that the routine does not need to be more than 15 minutes.

It can be short, but ask your kid what they like to do, write it out step by step. Have your kids say, “I want to brush my teeth before I put my PJs on.” Anything to give them a sense of control. You can do that with a kid who’s two and a half years old just so that they have a sense that this is their bedtime routine. Draw little icons, tape it on the wall, let them be in charge of bedtime. And then anything that you used to stall, if they’re asking for water snacks, add that into the bedtime routine so that when they don’t need to ask for it at the end, or if they do, you as the parent can say, “You already had that. We did the snack, we’re done.” I think the second thing to understand too is a lot of parents, and I’m sure you probably see this too, Emily, is like they’ll come to me and they just say like, “Oh my gosh, my kid is waking up every night at two in the morning trying to crawl into my bed. How do I make it stop?”

Emily:

Yes, people do ask that.

Jessica:

Okay, normal question, but my question back is, “So then what happens?” So this is the piece that I think parents don’t understand is that kids are such creatures of habit, and habits are formed by the kid behaving in one way and then the parent reacting in a way to that behavior, that becomes the habit. So in most cases-

Emily:

And I think what people miss sometimes is that those habits can form very fast.

Jessica:

Very fast. One night.

Emily:

One night.

Jessica:

One night, one vacation.

Emily:

Yeah. One grandparent visit.

Jessica:

Oh, grandparents. Love them, love them, but…

Emily:

Love them, but…

Jessica:

Yeah. Yes, grandparents can be tough on sleep. Or even if you’re misaligned with your spouse, and again, none of these things are bad. We’re just saying this can happen. It can happen easily where your kid all of a sudden gets up at two in the morning and then you let them come sleep with you because I don’t know, this has never happened before and you’re tired. Well, now that could be their new expectation after one night. But so the important piece is that parents understand that it’s very hard… It’s not very hard, but the piece is not how to make the kid stop waking up it, it’s how are you, parent, responding to those wake-ups, because that is at the heart of why it continues.

Emily:

So you’ve got almost these two pieces. So there’s the routine, there’s the bedtime, giving them control over what happens before they go to bed, and then once they are in the bed, pretty much not reacting or thinking about a second piece, which is, “How do I react when there is a behavior that is coming out of the room or coming into my bed,” or whatever it is.

Jessica:

Yeah. So it’s two pieces. It’s understanding where your child is developmentally, giving them some control, part of that bedtime routine, and also parents understanding that they play a very important role with their reactions, and that’s the only part that they can really control is how they’re reacting to things. So that’s what we can change. And so it’s really important, especially when it comes to the overnight wake-ups and just kids’ quality of sleep. It all comes back to bedtime. So you really want your child to be able to fall asleep independently at bedtime because how people fall asleep, that’s what they need to stay asleep.

The other night I was asleep and I have a little fragrance thing that’s plugged into one of the outlets, and I’m asleep, and then all of a sudden I wake up and I woke up because the thing was blinking purple. It wasn’t making a noise, nothing happened. It was just, I could sense there was something different in my room. It’s the same with kids. If you are laying in their bed until they’re asleep and then you’re army crawling out and hoping the door doesn’t creak, your kid’s going to eventually at some point in the night wake up and realize that you’re gone and then they need you to come back again because you’ve made yourself an integral part of their sleep process.

Emily:

Yeah. It’s interesting because this is really very much in… We talk a lot about parenting styles, sort of permissive authoritarian mean. This is kind of right in this what we call authoritative parenting where you’re setting the boundaries, but also there’s a component of, I don’t know, decision-making or negotiation that happens with the kids. But here it’s have the discussion upfront about what happens at the bedtime, but then ultimately the decision of you stay in your room overnight by yourself and I’m going to return you to the room. If you don’t, that’s the part that you set as the parent.

Jessica:

Yes, I believe that because, when it comes to something like sleep, which is such a foundational need for our kids, it’s a health concern if your child is not getting good sleep. And so I think that is definitely a place where parents need to feel their role as the leader of their house to ensure that everybody gets good sleep. So the child needs to get good sleep, but also if there’s a sibling that’s getting disturbed because the kid is up in the middle of the night, and not to mention both the parents, that affects the health and the functioning of the entire family. So I definitely, in that case, view parents as the ones who should be putting a plan together, deciding for their family, what’s going to work best and what those rules are going to be. And so I like to think about analogy I use for boundaries is, parental boundaries are like the bumpers at the bowling alley. If your kid was just bowling without them, they’d be in the gutter every time, never getting where they need to go.

Emily:

Not just your kid, but okay, fair enough. Also you.

Jessica:

So you’re the bumpers, but your kid can have some control and some choices. They can weave around the alley, but you got to help them get to where they need to go, which is to bed.

Emily:

Implementing this for many people, changing habits is going to require some things that we might view as more, harsher is not the word I’m looking for, but more authoritative parenting. So it’s great to have a bedtime routine, but the reality is if your kid is coming out every night nine times before they fall asleep and expecting you to be there, when you say, “Here’s the bedtime routine,” now you’re in your bed by yourself and the door is closed, they’re going to come out again and you’re going to need to return them to their bed.

Jessica:

Totally.

Emily:

Potentially many times.

Jessica:

Potentially, yes. So there are many different ways to handle what happens after the bedtime routine. So I love, like we talked about, giving your kids some control over bedtime, but then if your kid is used to you staying in there, you do need to figure out a way to get out of that, if your goal is for your child to be sleeping independently through the night in their own room. If that is your goal. That doesn’t have to be your goal, but if that is your goal, then your first step is trying to get out of their room at bedtime, and there are many ways to do that. There are many ways to do that. You could have a rip the bandaid off approach and really get that started from night one. You could have a much more gradual approach, which can take a little bit longer, but could be just as effective, and really anything in between.

It’s kind of endlessly customizable based on people’s parenting style, your kid’s kind of personality, stuff like that. And so I like to teach families, if you’re not quite sure, you kind of start one way, but there are signs that this isn’t going to really work for you and not be as effective, and it may be time to switch to something else. I tell people this all the time, “If we could convince your child or use any type of language to explain to your child how important sleep is and why we need to do this and here’s what’s going to happen, and then they would just say, ‘Sounds good, Mommy, see you in the morning.'” That’s not how it works. That’s just not how it works. But also it’s important to remember that kids are going to pick up on our emotions as parents.

And so this is a lot of times what’s happening in houses already, which is bedtime sucks. Parents know it going into it. That’s probably part of the reason why bedtime becomes because parents are like, “Oh, they’re playing. Let’s just wait a little while.” And then they’re feeling the anxiety and the dread, and then they’re like, “Okay, time to go for bed.” And they’re feeling all anxious and the kids pick up on that too. So I do think that it’s important for parents to remember that sleep is instinctual to us as humans. By the time kids are four or five months old, and healthy, they have the capacity to sleep through the night independently without needing a parent. So the things that happen between four months old and five years old are really just habits that are changeable. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy and sunshine and roses for the first few days, but it’s changeable. And if it’s important for your family, then it’s totally doable.

Emily:

More ParentData, including your own questions, and a story about how I accidentally caffeinated my kid and kept her up all night, after the break.

Emily:

I have some specific questions from people that I want to ask you, but first I want to ask about pushback because when I talk about sleep training on the internet, people aren’t always pleased to hear it and I think gives a lot of different versions of that pushback. And one I talk a lot about is, is it damaging for your kid and damaging for your attachment. I think the data there completely does not support that concern. But there’s a version of this which says something almost lighter touch than that, which is, “Why can’t we all just sleep in the bed together? And why do we need kids to sleep in their own room? And this isn’t the natural approach.” I’m curious if you get that kind of pushback.

Jessica:

Oh gosh, yeah. I get it all. I get it all, as you can imagine. Yeah, no, I hear all of that, and that’s why I try to reinforce, I am not here to tell anybody what is right or wrong. That is not my job. I don’t want that job. I am not here to say, “This is the right way to do things. This is the wrong way to do things. You’re wrong.” I’m here to say, “Hey, if this isn’t working for your family…” The stories that I hear are crazy. I hear that for years people play what I call musical beds, which is parents are rotating around the house. They say that they don’t even, when they open their eyes in the morning, they don’t even know where they’re going to be. Are they going to be in their own room? Are they going to be in this kid’s room, this kid’s room, with the baby on the couch? They don’t even know where they’re going to be.

And this has gone on for years. And so if that is not working for your family or if you just don’t want your child to sleep in your bed, or if your child sleeps in your bed like a lunatic because kids move around so much. If they sleep horizontally and they’re kicking you in the face all night. Or if I hear this a lot too, parents are like, “I don’t mind if my child sleeps with me, but they don’t sleep. They stay up all night and they’re trying to talk to me,” and it doesn’t seem like they’re sleeping well even in the parent’s bed. So if you’re in a situation that isn’t working for you as the parent, or you can tell that your kid is not getting enough sleep, all I’m here to say is I can help you with that. There are solutions. But I’m not here to say, “Don’t ever co-sleep. That is a horrible way to raise your children.” No, do whatever works for your family. If you need help, I’m here.

Emily:

Yeah, I love that. Okay, I have a couple of specific questions. I’m just curious. I’m curious what you’ll say.

Jessica:

Okay.

Emily:

So if a kid is sleepwalking, how do you think about that?

Jessica:

So sleepwalking, so my oldest daughter was a sleepwalker, so I’ve got experience with this. So, when it comes to sleepwalking, which is kind of similar to, not the same thing, but similar to night terrors in the same way that it’s kind of this parasomnia, the rule is to make sure that kids are safe, but don’t try to wake them up. So what I actually did with my daughter, a couple things you can do. If they’re younger, you would definitely probably want to consider a baby gate or some way to secure their door so they can’t get out and roam around the house.

With older kids, you could hang a bell on their door so that you might be awakened. What I actually did with my daughter, because this went on until she was maybe 10 or 11, is I got, which I ordered off Amazon, one of those motion detectors. So you put the little motion detector in the hallway beside her room, and then I put the chime, I plugged it in my room so it would chime, it would make a noise whenever she was on the move, just so I can make sure to kind of guide her back to bed. But that’s the best thing you can do in that situation. But usually they’re-

Emily:

They’re not awake.

Jessica:

They’re not awake.

Emily:

They’re not really awake in a meaningful… It’s not like a nightmare.

Jessica:

No, no, no. It’s not like a nightmare at all. They are not awake. So you just keep them safe, get them back to bed. They won’t remember it in the morning and they outgrow it by the time they’re 12, usually before that.

Emily:

A lot of people ask about using melatonin for sleep.

Jessica:

Yeah, I’m not a fan of parents using melatonin for sleep unless it is prescribed by a doctor or there a medical necessity. Sometimes kids who have special needs, that would be something that would be prescribed. But as I understand it, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there is any data to show that giving kids over-the-counter melatonin is safe. In fact, there’s been many studies that have shown that the amount of melatonin in the over-the-counter drugs is not necessarily accurate. It could be way less. It could be way more.

Emily:

Yeah. I think the data supports the use for jet lag and it supports the use for some more data on ADHD. But as a give-your-kid every night, there are probably other solutions you should look for first.

Jessica:

Well, and I kind of take a step back and look at this as more of a global global problem because I do feel like we’re in this, as a society, we’re so into instant gratification. We’ve got everything at our fingertips. Amazon, if it’s not here tomorrow, “What the hell? Oh my god.” We’re so used to that. And so I think it can feel like a magic pill in some ways. But my kids are older and I’ve got kids that come to spend the night and they have to have their gummy. And I’m talking about kids who are 10 plus years old. So I would definitely consider if that’s something that you want your child to be needing in the long run. But otherwise, I think the majority of sleep issues that families have are behavioral and can be solved with really parents being empowered with new tools.

Emily:

Can we talk about the grandparents a little bit? Because I think this is… I say I do all the hard work to get my kid into the right bedtime routine works well, and then we travel. So there’s a new environment or somebody else is there even in the same environment and they don’t implement this. And I will tell you once… We are quite strict with our kids, and once we left my in-laws to put them to bed, we have done it more times than this, but there was a particular time when we left them, and I love them very much, but my son convinced my father-in-law that it was necessary to leave the door to his room open at night because otherwise he was afraid. And not only did that result in a complete disaster that night, but it took several days to get back from that experience.

Jessica:

Yep.

Emily:

What should I have done?

Jessica:

This is a really common situation, I think probably tougher when it happened at your own house. But certainly when people are traveling, what I tell families is, if the kids are staying with grandparents or even if they’re sleeping in a new place and maybe you’re sharing a house with other people and you end up having to co-sleep with your kids or whatever, tell your kids, “This is just happening because we’re here. This is a special situation. This is how we sleep at Grandma’s house. This is how we do things when we’re here.” If it happens at your own house, I would definitely try whoever’s staying with your kids or putting your kids to bed, really try to be clear with them about what the rules are. And then you could potentially let your son know that that could be a special thing that he just does with grandpa. But if you said it was even a disaster that night?

Emily:

Yes, it didn’t work because the thing is he can’t go to sleep with the door open.

Jessica:

Well, of course.

Emily:

And so when we got home quite late, he was still awake and arguing about the door.

Jessica:

Yeah.

Emily:

Anyway, this was a while ago, but I still remember it and I’m holding in some feelings.

Jessica:

Yeah, so in that case… Yes, I can see you still remember it very clearly. So in that case, I would say that would say, “Grandpa made a mistake. We don’t sleep with our doors open.” And try to explain to him, I don’t know how old he was, but if he could have understood that he didn’t get great sleep that night, he didn’t feel very good the next day. But also you can lean into using rewards to help either jumpstart new behaviors or get things back on track. I know there’s a lot of no reward movement going on, but I don’t there’s anything wrong with, especially in a situation like yours where, “Hey, we’re going to go back to closing our door.” Reassure him there’s nothing to be scared of, he slept this way his whole life, and then just surprise him with a little something in the morning, just a little treat or even just praise to let him know that you’re so excited that things are back on track.

Emily:

Yeah. I’ll say one last thing about as your kids get bigger. So you said it would be great if we could explain, you said earlier, it would be great if we could explain to our kids that sleep is so important that then they would say, “Oh, thank you so much, Mommy, and now I’m going to go to bed.” I think that strategy is underused with older kids. So certainly with a three-year-old, you’re out of luck on that strategy. But if you have a 10, 11, 12-year-old where you start getting to a different problem with sleep, which is that they maybe have more control over, there’s more things to do. They have potentially more control over their bedtime than they do when they’re little. That is a place where I think we can actually help them understand their own sleep value. And how did you feel today? You were up late?

The best thing that ever happened to sleep in my house was the time that I accidentally gave my daughter a heavily caffeinated tea at four o’clock in the afternoon. We didn’t know it was caffeinated, it was just like an accident. And she was up until, I think maybe she was like nine or 10, and she was up until 1:30 in the morning and just couldn’t go to sleep. And the next day she felt terrible and there was a speed test in math, and she did very poorly on it. She still, now she’s 13, if you asked her why is sleep important, she would tell you, “One time Mom messed up and gave me this caffeinated tea, and it was a hundred percent her fault.” And it really was so crucial for her to see that feedback even… Of course, I wish I hadn’t given it, I guess. Actually, I don’t really, because it was so good for that and now we have a lot of those conversations. I do think you can bring your kids into that as they get big.

Jessica:

Yes, of course. Totally. And I think in that situation, it was probably a good thing that it was your fault.

Emily:

Totally.

Jessica:

It was a good learning experience. But no, so my kids, I’ve got a 13-year-old also and an 11-year-old. And we’ve had those same discussions when they’ve gone to a summer party or a birthday party where they’ve stayed up all night and they come home and they’re trash, and it’s just like, “Wow.” And so the whole next day I’m like, “How are you feeling? It’s after lunch now. Gosh, do you need to take a nap? Really cranky today.” Being able to point those things out and help them realize that, “I really don’t feel good,” is definitely…

Emily:

Yeah. Which is different from saying you shouldn’t go to a slumber party.

Jessica:

Totally.

Emily:

But that’s recognizing that, in general, sleep hygiene is important. Okay, Jessica, leave us with some closing words of wisdom about putting our older kids to sleep.

Jessica:

I think what parents have to understand when their kids are older is that our kids want to do the right thing. They want to make us happy. That’s just part of the nature of being a kid. And so a lot of times we as parents miss the opportunity to be really clear about what our expectations are, what that looks like, what we really want, specifically in an age-appropriate way for the child. So I think when you can lean into that and then you can use your praise to encourage your child’s good behavior, that goes a long way. Because I talk a lot about this to parents too, which is like, attention is attention. Whether it’s good attention, “You’re doing a great job, buddy.

“Tell me about your day.” Or negative attention, which is, “No, stop. I said go to bed, do this right now. I have to carry you back to your room.” That’s all attention. And so what happens at nighttime is we spend a lot of time pouring our negative attention on our kids, and that kind of keeps those behaviors going and going, going. It’s like watering plants. Those are the seeds. We’re watering them. So if we can switch it up and give our kids an idea of what we’re looking for, what to expect, and what is good behavior, and then we really try to focus on praising that even. And I tell parents, “You should praise them.” It’s like, “Feel dumb.” Be like, “Great job brushing that tooth. Great job keeping that first pair of PJs on,” whatever it is that your kid’s been struggling with. If you can just praise the heck out of something tiny and focus on that and try to ignore the bad stuff, then you’ll start to see more of the good stuff.

Emily:

I love it. Tell people where they can find you.

Jessica:

So, best place to find me is on Instagram @awesomelittlesleepers, or my website, awesomelittlesleepers.com. And I also have a free toddler sleep masterclass that people can take if they want to learn more about my Rest Method, and they can find that at toddlersleepmasterclass.com.

Emily:

Amazing. And I want to shout out Amy Schumer for connecting us. Thank you, Amy, if you’re listening.

Jessica:

Yes. Thank you, Amy.

Emily:

All right. Thank you for being here, Jessica. It was such a treat, and I think people will find this extremely useful.

Jessica:

Thanks. It was great talking to you.

Emily:

ParentData is produced by Tamar Avishai, with support from the ParentData team and PRX.

If you have thoughts on this episode, please join the conversation on my Instagram @profemilyoster. And if you want to support the show, become a subscriber to the ParentData Newsletter at parentdata.org, where I write weekly posts on everything to do with parents and data to help you make better, more informed parenting decisions.

For example, last year I wrote an article that stated, point blank, that your child isn’t getting enough sleep called, appropriately, “Your Child Is Not Getting Enough Sleep” – what the studies said and what you can do about it.  Check it out at parentdata.org.

There are a lot of ways you can help people find out about us. Leave a rating or a review on Apple Podcasts. Text your friend about something you learned from this episode. Debate your mother-in-law about the merits of something parents do now that is totally different from what she did. Post a story to your Instagram debunking a panic headline of your own. Just remember to mention the podcast too. Right, Penelope?

Penelope:

Right, Mom.

Emily:

We’ll see you next time.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
A young boy sleeping face down on a pillow reaches over to turn off a yellow alarm clock.

8 min read

Your Child Is Not Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep, as a phenomenon, is extremely interesting. All animals sleep, or have a form of sleep-like resting state. Sometimes they Read more

Emily Oster
A sleeping baby is curled up on a white sheet.

Jan 23 2024

2 min read

When Should I Get My Baby On a Sleep Schedule?

Our pediatrician recommends getting our baby on a sleep schedule by four months (three months and change now). What evidence Read more

Emily Oster
A toddler sleeps on their stomach in their parents' bed.

Jan 30 2024

2 min read

How Can I Get My Kid to Sleep in Their Own Bed?

My seven-month-old was sick and spent a week in our bed because it was the only way he’d sleep. Now Read more

Emily Oster
Person under covers

Mar 21 2024

3 min read

How Much Sleep Do We Actually Need?

There’s a lot of buzz on social media that sleep studies that determined we need eight hours of sleep didn’t Read more

Emily Oster

Instagram

left right
The list of what not to do while pregnant feels longer than a CVS receipt. At ParentData, we want to empower you to make the right decisions for you. 

What an amazing group of women, and an honor to speak at the #MomsFirstSummit debunking parenting myths. 

What are some pregnancy rules you chose to bend after being empowered by data?

#emilyoster #parentdata #pregnancyproblems #pregnancymyths

The list of what not to do while pregnant feels longer than a CVS receipt. At ParentData, we want to empower you to make the right decisions for you.

What an amazing group of women, and an honor to speak at the #MomsFirstSummit debunking parenting myths.

What are some pregnancy rules you chose to bend after being empowered by data?

#emilyoster #parentdata #pregnancyproblems #pregnancymyths
...

Looking for Memorial Day Weekend plans? Might be the perfect time to give potty training a shot. Potty training is notoriously difficult, and we unfortunately don’t have a lot of evidence-based guidance on what works best. So I asked the ParentData community to fill out a survey and share their knowledge — about 6,000 people responded.

👉Comment “Link” for a DM to an article that summarizes all of the best potty training advice we collected. 

Remember, you are not alone in the potty training struggle! It can be incredibly challenging, so please give yourself some grace.

#emilyoster #parentdata #pottytraining #pottytrainingtips #toddlertips

Looking for Memorial Day Weekend plans? Might be the perfect time to give potty training a shot. Potty training is notoriously difficult, and we unfortunately don’t have a lot of evidence-based guidance on what works best. So I asked the ParentData community to fill out a survey and share their knowledge — about 6,000 people responded.

👉Comment “Link” for a DM to an article that summarizes all of the best potty training advice we collected.

Remember, you are not alone in the potty training struggle! It can be incredibly challenging, so please give yourself some grace.

#emilyoster #parentdata #pottytraining #pottytrainingtips #toddlertips
...

We’re hiring an Associate Editor at ParentData! More details at my link in bio. Please share with the great writers and data-loving people in your network. 📊💻

We’re hiring an Associate Editor at ParentData! More details at my link in bio. Please share with the great writers and data-loving people in your network. 📊💻 ...

Do you brand things a certain way to get your kid to accept it? Like calling carrots “rabbit popsicles”? Or telling them to put on their “super speed socks” in the morning? Share your rebrands in the comments below! You never know who you might be helping out 👇

#emilyoster #funnytweets #relatabletweets #parentingjokes #kidssaythedarndestthings

Do you brand things a certain way to get your kid to accept it? Like calling carrots “rabbit popsicles”? Or telling them to put on their “super speed socks” in the morning? Share your rebrands in the comments below! You never know who you might be helping out 👇

#emilyoster #funnytweets #relatabletweets #parentingjokes #kidssaythedarndestthings
...

Have you ever panic-googled a parenting question when everyone else is asleep? If so, you’re not alone. 

Today is the first episode of a new biweekly series on my podcast: Late-Night Panic Google. On these mini-episodes, you’ll hear from some familiar names about the questions keeping them up at night, and how data can help. First up: @claireholt!

Listen and subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster in your favorite podcast app 🎧

#parentdata #emilyoster #claireholt #parentingstruggles #parentingtips #latenightpanicgoogle

Have you ever panic-googled a parenting question when everyone else is asleep? If so, you’re not alone.

Today is the first episode of a new biweekly series on my podcast: Late-Night Panic Google. On these mini-episodes, you’ll hear from some familiar names about the questions keeping them up at night, and how data can help. First up: @claireholt!

Listen and subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster in your favorite podcast app 🎧

#parentdata #emilyoster #claireholt #parentingstruggles #parentingtips #latenightpanicgoogle
...

Sun safety is a must for all ages, especially babies! Here are my tips for keeping your littlest ones protected in the sunshine:
☀️ Most importantly, limit their time out in hot weather. (They get hotter than you do!)
☀️ Keep them in the shade as much as possible when you’re out.
☀️ Long-sleeve but lightweight clothing is your friend, especially on the beach, where even in the shade you can get sunlight reflecting off different surfaces.
☀️ If you want to add a little sunscreen on their hands and feet? Go for it! But be mindful as baby skin tends to more prone to irritation.

Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on the data around sun and heat exposure for babies.

#sunsafety #babysunscreen #babyhealth #parentdata #emilyoster

Sun safety is a must for all ages, especially babies! Here are my tips for keeping your littlest ones protected in the sunshine:
☀️ Most importantly, limit their time out in hot weather. (They get hotter than you do!)
☀️ Keep them in the shade as much as possible when you’re out.
☀️ Long-sleeve but lightweight clothing is your friend, especially on the beach, where even in the shade you can get sunlight reflecting off different surfaces.
☀️ If you want to add a little sunscreen on their hands and feet? Go for it! But be mindful as baby skin tends to more prone to irritation.

Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on the data around sun and heat exposure for babies.

#sunsafety #babysunscreen #babyhealth #parentdata #emilyoster
...

I’m calling on you today to share your story. I know that many of you have experienced complications during pregnancy, birth, or postpartum. It’s not something we want to talk about, but it’s important that we do. Not just for awareness, but to help people going through it feel a little less alone.

That’s why I’m asking you to post a story, photo, or reel this week with #MyUnexpectedStory and tag me. I’ll re-share as many as I can to amplify. Let’s fill our feeds with these important stories and lift each other up. Our voices can create change. And your story matters. 💙

#theunexpected #emilyoster #pregnancycomplications #pregnancystory

I’m calling on you today to share your story. I know that many of you have experienced complications during pregnancy, birth, or postpartum. It’s not something we want to talk about, but it’s important that we do. Not just for awareness, but to help people going through it feel a little less alone.

That’s why I’m asking you to post a story, photo, or reel this week with #MyUnexpectedStory and tag me. I’ll re-share as many as I can to amplify. Let’s fill our feeds with these important stories and lift each other up. Our voices can create change. And your story matters. 💙

#theunexpected #emilyoster #pregnancycomplications #pregnancystory
...

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio!

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio! ...

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio!

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio! ...

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio!

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio! ...

Is side sleeping important during pregnancy? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on whether sleep position affects pregnancy outcomes.

Being pregnant makes you tired, and as time goes by, it gets increasingly hard to get comfortable. You were probably instructed to sleep on your side and not your back, but it turns out that advice is not based on very good data.

We now have much better data on this, and the bulk of the evidence seems to reject the link between sleep position and stillbirth or other negative outcomes. So go ahead and get some sleep however you are most comfortable. 💤

Sources:
📖 #ExpectingBetter pp. 160-163
📈 Robert M. Silver et al., “Prospective Evaluation of Maternal Sleep Position Through 30 Weeks of Gestation and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 134, no. 4 (2019): 667–76. 

#emilyoster #pregnancy #pregnancytips #sleepingposition #pregnantlife

Is side sleeping important during pregnancy? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on whether sleep position affects pregnancy outcomes.

Being pregnant makes you tired, and as time goes by, it gets increasingly hard to get comfortable. You were probably instructed to sleep on your side and not your back, but it turns out that advice is not based on very good data.

We now have much better data on this, and the bulk of the evidence seems to reject the link between sleep position and stillbirth or other negative outcomes. So go ahead and get some sleep however you are most comfortable. 💤

Sources:
📖 #ExpectingBetter pp. 160-163
📈 Robert M. Silver et al., “Prospective Evaluation of Maternal Sleep Position Through 30 Weeks of Gestation and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 134, no. 4 (2019): 667–76.

#emilyoster #pregnancy #pregnancytips #sleepingposition #pregnantlife
...

My new book, “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available for preorder at the link in my bio!

I co-wrote #TheUnexpected with my friend and maternal fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Nathan Fox. The unfortunate reality is that about half of pregnancies include complications such as preeclampsia, miscarriage, preterm birth, and postpartum depression. Because these are things not talked about enough, it can not only be an isolating experience, but it can also make treatment harder to access.

The book lays out the data on recurrence and delves into treatment options shown to lower risk for these conditions in subsequent pregnancies. It also guides you through how to have productive conversations and make shared decisions with your doctor. I hope none of you need this book, but if you do, it’ll be here for you 💛

#pregnancy #pregnancycomplications #pregnancyjourney #preeclampsiaawareness #postpartumjourney #emilyoster

My new book, “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available for preorder at the link in my bio!

I co-wrote #TheUnexpected with my friend and maternal fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Nathan Fox. The unfortunate reality is that about half of pregnancies include complications such as preeclampsia, miscarriage, preterm birth, and postpartum depression. Because these are things not talked about enough, it can not only be an isolating experience, but it can also make treatment harder to access.

The book lays out the data on recurrence and delves into treatment options shown to lower risk for these conditions in subsequent pregnancies. It also guides you through how to have productive conversations and make shared decisions with your doctor. I hope none of you need this book, but if you do, it’ll be here for you 💛

#pregnancy #pregnancycomplications #pregnancyjourney #preeclampsiaawareness #postpartumjourney #emilyoster
...

We are better writers than influencers, I promise. Thanks to our kids for filming our unboxing videos. People make this look way too easy. 

Only two weeks until our book “The Unexpected” is here! Preorder at the link in my bio. 💙

We are better writers than influencers, I promise. Thanks to our kids for filming our unboxing videos. People make this look way too easy.

Only two weeks until our book “The Unexpected” is here! Preorder at the link in my bio. 💙
...