If you’re a parent to babies or toddlers (or *sigh* even older kids because this seemingly never ends), chances are you’re reading this in the middle of the night during a feed or after your little one woke up yet again. Or you’re reading it over your third cup of coffee because your sleep deprivation is next level. If your eyes are starting to droop, you’re going to want to hear this.
Nicole Johnson is the founder and lead sleep consultant of The Baby Sleep Site, and for more than 15 years, she and her team of sleep consultants have helped over 50,000 (!!!) families improve their children’s sleep. She — like so many parents — had many sleepless nights when her firstborn (she’s a proud mama of two boys!) kept waking up. And so she started to research sleep methods and all the developmental factors that impact a baby’s sleep. She finally overcame her son’s sleeping problems in a way that worked for her.
“I overcame my son’s sleeping issues in a way that matched my own parenting style, and I knew it was my mission to help other tired parents,” she said on her site. It’s a style, she tells us, that is all about helping her sons be the best versions of themselves rather than changing them into someone they are not.
“I learned long ago that we, parents, guide them and instill values but they are born who they are,” she tells SheKnows exclusively. “We should not, and cannot, change them but rather help them sharpen their strengths, recognize their weaknesses, teach them love and kindness, and help them become successful adults.”
And yes, sleep plays a huge role in future success, be it as a baby who needs to grow or as an adult who needs to be productive at work. When her son finally started sleeping — and she get a full night’s sleep herself — she made it her mission to help other tired parents with practical advice. And she’s not only teaching them tangible sleep strategies, but an important lesson for every facet of parenting: that no parent is alone.
“More moms are trying to do it alone but are afraid to say they are struggling,” she tells us. “Parenting is hard and millions of parents visit my site each year to help with their babies’ sleep. If you are struggling, know that there are many others just like you.”
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Another integral lesson she reminded us of is that kids are ever-evolving. And while that can be a source of frustration, it can also be motivation to try something different tomorrow.
“The one thing I wish all parents knew about babies’ sleep habits is that what you do today doesn’t automatically mean things will be this way for years to come,” she tells us. “It’s never too early or too late to teach new sleep habits!”
When the focus isn’t on sleep in the Johnson house, it’s on a throwback book series, TV reboots, and classic skincare lines. Below, Johnson shares the parenting essentials that help her and her family have a good day so they can then get a good night’s sleep.
The podcast I’m listening to right now
Unfortunately, since I’m a visual person, I do not do well with listening to podcasts or audiobooks! I tend to start daydreaming and thinking about all the mom things I need to do! 🙂 Therefore, I don’t have a regular podcast I listen to.
The books my kid is obsessed with
I loved reading The Magic Treehouse book series to my children. Each book in the series is educational but told in a very entertaining, whimsical, and magical way that keeps the children engrossed in the book. My children wanted to read an entire book in one sitting but of course, we had to limit bedtime stories to 1-3 chapters or so. Some of the stories were a little too real and sad such as the slaughter of Native Americans but most stories were educational and uplifting.
What I’m currently reading myself
I currently have three books I’m loosely reading that represent what is most prominent in my life right now: Who Gets In and Why which is about the college application process for my 17-year-old, Driven to Distraction which is a book about ADHD, and New Menopausal Years The Wise Woman Way that is helping me learn about my new stage of life, menopause. My son was only diagnosed with ADHD a bit over a year ago so I’m learning a whole new way to help guide him while also helping him get into college amongst my hot flashes! 🙂 It’s a wild ride!
The beauty product I never leave the house without
As someone with curly hair, I can’t go ANYWHERE without my curl serum! I use Davines. If I don’t, my hair can become very frizzy and this stuff helps define my curls.
The app that makes my life as a parent easier
As a parent and home manager with four people’s schedules, I could not do as good of a job without my COZI calendar app. I’m sure others use Google or Apple but we have used COZI for years! It makes it easy for us to all see each other’s schedules and make sure we don’t have conflicts. This is especially important when your children are involved in activities and can’t drive themselves yet. Even for my son who can drive himself, it helps me see what his schedule looks like so I can plan family events and such. And when it comes to sports, it makes it easy to make practice schedules that repeat. Love it!
The TV shows and movies I actually enjoy watching with my kid
Not too long ago, we all got into The Mole reboot on Netflix and trying to figure out who was, in fact, the mole. My two sons like different genres of TV shows but it’s nice to have one-on-one time with each. One loves anime and the other likes shows like Outer Banks.
The parenting accounts I follow
In my line of work, I follow a lot of parenting-related accounts so I can keep up with all things baby. Some of those accounts include @mother.ly, @parentingteensandtweens, @snarkybreeders, @dadandburied, @modernmomprobs, @scarymommy, @healthiest_baby, and @babycenter.
The skincare products my family loves
We love Aveeno Baby and Johnson’s bath products.
The products my kid can’t live without
When my sons were little, they could NOT sleep without their Taggies blanket. My younger son is/was very tactile and loved to put his fingers through the “tags.” It soothed him and helped him become a fantastic sleeper! Although they used to sell them customized with your child’s name on them, you can still get the general blankets on Amazon.
The clothing brand that helps me ‘mom’ in style
I love to work out and love the PowerHold leggings from Fabletics. They stay in place and have a pocket for my phone so I can work out with my music! In addition, I love Athleta all around from the sun dresses to the workout clothes to the swimsuits! My absolute favorite outfit was a gift from my husband, the Delancey Moto Tight and a black top.
To get even more parenting recommendations, read about the other stylish moms featured in our Momsessed series.
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