Hi! My name is Joanna, but most days I hear the name mama more times than I can count! I wanted to share with you a little about who I am, why I do what I do, and what my qualifications are.
I received my BA in Sociology with an emphasis in methods and research from California State University, Sacramento. It was during my senior year of college, working as a teacher at a before and after school program at the YMCA, where I first became interested in sleep theory as I witnessed up close the effects sleep deprivation had on children. After graduating, I worked at a women and children’s shelter and continued to observe the importance of quality sleep for young children. However, it wasn’t until having my first child that I discovered my passion for understanding sleep and helping parents navigate sleep with their little ones.
While pregnant with my firstborn, I tried to prepare myself for parenthood as much as possible by reading books, attending classes, and hiring a doula. But despite all of my preparation, I entered motherhood with a traumatic birth experience, a broken tailbone, low supply issues, a tongue-tied baby, and uncertainty with my newborn’s care in nearly every department. I remember feeling so unbelievably overwhelmed and alone, perhaps where you are now, with the responsibility of caring for my baby boy. I desperately wished that someone would come to my house and sit beside me for every feeding and attempted nap and tell me exactly what to do and answer my every question. Even with the support of my wonderful husband, I felt totally inadequate.
Sometime in the first few weeks, a friend gave me the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Weissbluth. I put it on the shelf because although sleep wasn’t great, it wasn’t terrible. Fast forward two months later, and my normally easily soothed, pleasant baby was fighting sleep all day, crying on and off for hours each evening, difficult to settle, and no amount of nursing or bouncing helped him sleep before 11pm (and even then, he wasn’t down for long). One awful night in particular, I remembered that book and ran as fast as my broken tailbone would allow to the shelf where I had stuck it. I thumbed through the pages to my son’s age and began reading and reading until my eyes burned. I was finally understanding why my baby was miserable and why our attempts at sleep were actually compounding his inability to fall and stay asleep.
That night was truly the beginning of my passion for understanding all the many components that impact sleep, and it inspired in me a desire to help parents as they walk through this incredibly wonderful but challenging time of raising young children. I wanted to be able to give families something more than a book—I wanted to meet parents who were in that desperate place I had been in, and offer them a way out of the sleepless nights and napless days and all the hopelessness that comes with that.
My consulting started with helping friends, then their friends, then moms in mom groups on Facebook. Soon people were reaching out to me for help where our friend in common was getting further and further removed. After a few years of consulting via word of mouth, I received my certification in newborn and pediatric sleep, and expanded my business full time. In 2017 I also began consulting for Sutter’s MOM’s of Multiples program. January 2019 will mark 6 amazing years of consulting families.
If you are feeling helpless, exhausted, or just don’t know how to help your little one get the sleep they (and you!) need, I want you to know that I’ve been there. Please reach out to me—together we will find a plan that works for you and your family.
Wife to Nate, Mom of 4 kids in 4 years: Graham, Oliver, Marshall, and Louisa