When you choose to work with Sleep Sisters, we welcome you into our family. Although you’ll work with either Melissa or Debbie, you’ll have the benefit of getting the expertise of both of us. Like most sisters, we like to talk about things…concerns, difficult situations, successes…and our sleep consultation work is no different—we discuss our cases too! There are many sleep consultants out there and we are honored that you are considering us. While we are well-trained experts in sleep, what we value most is our relationships with our clients. As you struggle with getting your family back to sleep, we want you to know that we’ll support you the way we support each other as sisters.
Our basic philosophy about sleep is this: babies have a biological need for healthy sleep in order to be at their best. As parents, it’s our job to make sure our kids are getting the right amount of sleep at the right times. Without sleep, our babies are missing out on major developmental growth opportunities AND they are cranky! Well-rested babies make happy parents which makes everyone much healthier. No matter what your view is on where your baby sleeps or if you want him to cry or not, we can all agree that babies need to form good sleep habits in order to be at their best.With all of our clients, we begin working on the foundations for healthy sleep. We are trained in a wide variety of sleep teaching methods and our job is to help you find one that best fits your needs. We draw on all of these approaches and will never recommend a method you don’t support.
About Dr. Debbie Freidman Sasson, PsyD, Philadelphia Area, Pennsylvania
I’m so glad you’ve chosen to work with us. As a mom myself, I know how challenging a sleepless baby can be. Exhaustion is no fun…not for you or your baby. When our daughter was born, I remember feeling like I was never going to be my “old self” again. I was tired and felt completely out of control. With a new baby, those are normal feelings but I didn’t really have anyone to help me through it. Of course, my husband, my friends, my mom and my sister were there for me, but family is family and I wanted “REAL” advice. I turned to LOTS of books. Every book seemed to offer conflicting advice which left me feeling even MORE exhausted! Part of why I’ve chosen to work with families as they try to help their children sleep is because I wish I’d had some help myself… I think I would have been a lot happier and less hard on myself!
Not only am I a mom to our daughters, Margo and Julia, but I also have my doctorate in clinical psychology. All of my sleep work is informed by my knowledge about brain development, emotional development and family relationships. I really believe that a couple’s relationship (if there are two parents in a family) is deeply affected when a new baby arrives…especially when she isn’t sleeping! As I work with families, I always keep in mind that the family dynamic is always in play and find that developing the right sleep plan can really help bolster the strength of the family relationship at such a critical time.
I promise that we’ll try to get you and your baby sleeping as quickly as we can. I believe in working with families in a way that makes them feel comfortable. I’m not here to push an agenda or one particular way of parenting. As a sleep consultant, I think of myself as a coach and partner. I’m here to guide you through the process of helping your child be as happy and healthy as possible. We’ll work together to make that happen. I do have opinions about what works best in certain situations and I will share those opinions with you…that’s what you’ve hired me to do! But, if you disagree, I’ll always be open to other options.
About Melissa Freidman Zdrodowski,
San Francisco Bay Area, California
I love to sleep. I have always been a great sleeper. I could sleep anywhere, at almost any time. I am a morning person, I think, because I would get such good sleep that I awoke refreshed and ready to go. My head would hit the pillow and I wouldn’t stir until the alarm went off. But that all changed when I had my kids.
Given my love of sleep, it’s not surprising that I’m now helping others get a good night rest, and helping teach children to develop good sleep habits.
I’ll admit that I’m a stereotypical Type A personality. I’m the older sister. I’m a former investment banker. During my days on Wall Street, I really honed my sleeping skills, learning to sleep on the subway and any other mode of transportation that lasted more than 10 minutes. I like to be in control. I make lists. I am always on time. And I like routine. So you can imagine that having a baby threw a serious wrench into my way of life – at least for a while.
Of course, I knew to expect this. Most of my friends had kids and I heard all the stories and advice. “It will be a great day if you get to take a shower,” or “Just try to do one thing each day.” So I was prepared for the upheaval. In my typical Type-A way, I read the baby books about the entire first year before giving birth. I wanted to know what I was in for. Armed with information, I would feel more confident and prepared, right? What I was really nervous about was losing sleep. Once I was in my second trimester, I was already losing sleep about it. I’m no good when I’m tired. So what was I going to do?
My husband and I agreed that we would make sleep a priority from day one, both our own and our children’s. We read all the sleep books, selected the approaches we thought we could carry out, and got to work. We got a lot of help when our kids were newborns so that we could be well-rested at least some of the time. It wasn’t always easy, but we were amazed at how our daughter and then our son, learned to go to sleep on their own when we wanted them to. I distinctly recall the first night our daughter slept through the night. I woke up in a panic around 6am because I didn’t hear anything. I raced to her room to make sure she was breathing.
Since those early days of just getting through the night, we have come a long way. It’s a wonderful thing when both your kids sleep almost 12 hours straight every night in the same room and bound awake ready to face a new day! With our kids now ages seven and five, we’ve been through so many transitions, each with its own challenges: introducing a new baby into our daughter’s room, moving to a “big girl” bed, dropping naps, potty training, illnesses, and so on. I still lose sleep occasionally. And why is it that my husband rarely hears the middle of the night crying until I am already out of bed? But we continue to place a high value on protecting our children’s sleep and ensuring that our family is well-rested, healthy, and thriving.
I hope you will consider working with Sleep Sisters to address your family’s sleep concerns. We love talking with families about sleep issues and designing just the right plan to get your crew on track for healthy sleep. Debbie and I will work tirelessly to provide you with expert guidance and sisterly support to help you through your next sleep transition.
Dr. Debbie Freidman Sasson, PsyD, is a Certified Sleep Consultant through the Family Sleep Institute. More information on this certification can be found here.
Melissa Freidman Zdrodowski is a Certified Sleep Consultant through the International Maternity Institute. More information on this certification can be found here.