Hello my name is Erin Neri; I am the mother of two amazing little boys living in Alberta, Canada who did not come pre-programmed with the skills to sleep well independently. This is what led me to become a Certified Sleep Sense Consultant and the founder of To The Moon and Back Sleep Consulting.
I have always had a passion for working with children and families. First completing my Educational Assistant Certification at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton. I have worked in school settings as well as provided in-home support and programming for both families and children with special needs.
I then went on to complete my Bachelor of Arts Degree, with a focus in Psychology at Concordia University of Edmonton. Within my program I had the opportunity to complete two full year practicums, one with Victim Services with the RCMP and the second with the Family Centre in Edmonton as a Family Support Worker. I also worked as a full-time support worker; providing supports to families who were experiencing crisis. I also have extensive experience working with Federal and Alberta grant funding within post-secondary educational settings including NAIT in Edmonton.
When I had my children we decided that I was going to stay home with them full-time. This has been amazing and I would not change anything about it.
My Journey to becoming a Certified Sleep Consultant
As I mentioned my husband Ray and I have two little boys, Tanner who is 5 and Brody who is 3 years old. Like most first time parents we were not fully prepared for what having a new baby does to your ability to sleep. Tanner most definitely was not born with the natural instincts to sleep well. And like everyone does in those first few months we did whatever we could to get our little man to sleep. He would not sleep unless he was being held, day and night. He also woke every 1.5-2 hours all day and all night to eat for the first 6-7 months. The longest he ever slept was 3 hours in a row at night for the first year. So naturally before long he turned into a rocking, cuddling, nursing, singing to sleep baby who screamed every time you put him down in his crib.
I did a lot of research about sleep and sleep training to find something that would help our situation. I finally did some sleep training with him when he was around 1.5 years old that was only mildly successful. Things were better; he was sleeping through the night but it would take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours to get him to sleep at night and the same with nap time.
At the point when Tanner was 2.5 years old I had shed more tears about our sleep struggles than one should ever have to!! Tears of frustration, hopelessness and pure exhaustion. I really was at a loss, he was having night terrors and still not going to sleep on his own.
As Brody was about to enter into the family, it seemed that the best solution we had found was to lay with Tanner in his big boy bed. This again was mildly successful; it could take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes for him to fall asleep, but he usually slept through the night after that. So we took that as a win.
When Brody was born I was bound and determined that things would be different, we would not go through the same sleep struggles a second time. He was a soother baby which I thought was amazing. This kid seriously had zero problems keeping that soother in from day one at the hospital. But once again he was not born with the natural ability to self sooth; and like most parents who were unable to give their first child the skills they require to sleep independently, things quickly began to fall apart with Brody’s sleep.
Again we had a baby that was waking every 2 hours to eat all day and all night. He would sleep for a small portion of the night in his bassinet or crib and then nothing seemed to work to get him back to sleep. After spending hours some nights to get the little guy back to sleep I would resort to bringing him into bed with me, then I wouldn’t sleep from fear of all that comes with bringing your tiny baby into bed with you and a husband that sleeps like a log and snores like a bear, all while recovering from a C-section with complications.
I was biding my time until he was 4 months old and I could try sleep training. I tried a version of what I had tried when Tanner was small and it was an epic fail!! I stayed consistent for 5 days and it was 5 days of torture for the both of us so I gave up and went back to what I knew “worked.” Nursing, soother, rocking cuddling, singing, lay down gently (pray he doesn’t wake up) and sneak out (pray again he doesn’t wake up when you close the door, or your ankle cracks, or you step on that part of the floor that creaks). And then repeat in another 2 hours! I thought maybe he was just too young and I would try again in a few months.
It was beginning to take longer and longer to get him to sleep, so when he turned 7 months I was even more exhausted and decided to give it another go. One day of trying what I had in the past and I knew it wasn’t going to work with this little man. So I went back to “google university” and set out to find something else, a better way. I began to realize that I had a real passion for this topic. I had gained a ton of knowledge about schedules, routines, sleep needs, signs of over-tiredness, what sleep was supposed to look like for children, but I didn’t know how to get them there. I searched and read and searched some more but I was unable to find a “sleep training” program that I was 100% comfortable with. I didn’t know what to do with my knowledge to help my kids and I was very frustrated and so very very tired!!!
If you are reading all of this it’s likely because you are experiencing some version of the above, and you are feeling lost and frustrated. I wanted to share my experiences with you so that you know that I truly understand, I know where you are coming from, how you are feeling and what you are going through. I have been there and it took 3 years for me to find a solution. PLEASE do not take that route, I really don’t recommend it lol!
THE GOOD NEWS - A SLEEP SOLUTION
I found a solution; something that made sense to me and I was 100% comfortable doing with my boys. I now have two little boys that go to bed with zero protest or shenanigans and sleep for 12-13 hours at night, with ZERO wakeups. I didn’t know it was possible to read your baby a story, hug and kiss them night-night, put them in their crib, walk out and close the door. Then not have to go back in until 2-3 hours later when they wake up from their nap. Who knew that was a thing??? I certainly didn’t!!!
My husband and I have free time in the evenings together. I don’t worry about someone else having issues putting my boys to bed. This gives us freedom to go out in the evenings together, with no kids! Our boys are such happy little guys that are always well rested and ready for a full day of playing and learning. Tanner’s toddler tantrums reduced by about 80%! When I tell Brody its time for nap, he literally walks over to the stairs ready to go up! It has been life changing for our family and has given me my sanity back.
Once I had helped both my boys learn the skills they needed to sleep independently through the night, I realized this was it. I was going to be able to get back into helping children and families, while still being at home with my boys. I was going to become a certified sleep consultant and change the world one sleeping little moon bug at a time!
As a Certified Sleep Sense™ Consultant out of Alberta, Canada, I have undergone a comprehensive training and mentoring program which has given me the very best tools and knowledge available to help get your little one sleeping through the night and napping like a champ. I am under the direct mentorship of Dana Obleman, world renowned child sleep consultant and creator of the Sleep Sense™ program, which has successfully helped over 57,000 clients worldwide with their little one’s sleep troubles.
I work with one of the largest networks of professional sleep consultants in the world, who, together, have worked with thousands of clients and have experience in almost every conceivable sleep-related challenge parents face. We collaborate on a daily basis, offering insight and expertise on each others’ clients, and our success rate is second to none.
When you work with me, you will receive a detailed and personalized sleep plan for your child, along with extensive follow up support to ensure success. I will support, motivate and assist you each step of the way. Remember I have been there and I know how painful having a child with sleep struggles can be. No one should have to continue to struggle; parent or child, with sleepless nights. It is not a requirement of being a parent, and children should be able to have perfect sleep!
I chose to receive my sleep consultant training from the best in the business because the methods worked for me personally and they followed along with my own beliefs. The Sleep Sense Method® was created out of a strong belief that healthy sleep habits make for healthy children. A well-rested child is curious, energetic, happy, playful, and eager to learn.
When parents entrust me as their child’s sleep guide, either through one-on-one consultations or seminars, they are placing a great deal of trust in me, and I want to let you know that I take this responsibility very seriously.
While most books and programs dealing with child sleep issues take philosophical stands (based largely around the issue of “crying it out”, I believe that your child’s sleep is more important than my personal views on this subject. That’s why the Sleep Sense Method places so much emphasis on accommodating different parenting styles. The bottom line is that you, as a parent, need to be comfortable with your new sleep plan in order for it to work for your child.
WILL YOU HAVE MY CHILD "CRY IT OUT?"
This is a common question. Crying is your child’s way of protesting change, and you can expect that making changes to their sleep habits will result in some protest. That’s why I’m always sure to tell parents that my program will most likely involve at least some amount of protest on the child’s part.
However, I will never ask you to leave your child to cry alone, nor will I ask you to ignore their cries. The reason that the Sleep Sense Method is so effective is that it lets you develop a plan that you feel comfortable with, based on what you know about your child.
My simple approach to improving your child's sleep