When they sleep well, you sleep well!

Hi! Welcome to Raising Littles.

My name is Marni. I am a...

  • Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

  • Child Development Specialist

  • Certified Lactation Counselor

  • Social Worker

  • Mom to 3 boys

I coach parents of 0-6 year olds using gentle age and developmentally approach techniques to help children fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer.

Are you exhausted and feel like you've tried everything to help your child sleep through the night or just sleep better in general?
Are you worried about letting your baby cry or scared to leave them alone to figure out how to soothe themselves to sleep?
Have you tried many things and still your child isn't sleeping? 
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Are you overwhelmed by the information and choices out there and don't know where to begin?
Are you frustrated that you spend hours every day trying to get your little one to sleep and feel like you have no time to yourself?
Are you missing out on time with your partner because your're spending so much time putting you child to bed?
If this is you then you're in the right place. 
I can help you get your little one to sleep in less time with peace of mind that they are loved, safe, and taken care of.

I'm a mom to three active boys and one wild puppy, a social worker, certified lactation counselor, certified gentle sleep coach and child development specialist.

Since I was a little girl I have been fascinated by children and how they grow. Over the last 25 years that fascination has evolved from babysitting & nannying into making a career out of coaching and supporting babies, children and their parents. 

I love working with parents and children and am passionate about helping you feel confident and empowered in your parenting journey. I started Raising Littles because I want to support parents as they go through the most incredible experience of their lives.When I work with your family I use a holistic and whole child approach and work with you to accomplish your sleep and parenting goals- I have the experience and expertise but you are the expert on your child.

Our life has been transformed!

Marni was our Gentle Sleep Coach for our 3rd child, and we started to work with her when our daughter was about 8 months old. 

When our daughter was about 4 months old, her sleeping patterns became more erratic.  Around 7 months, the bedtime routine became very challenging and my daughter started to wake every 20 minutes.  I was so concerned she was not getting enough sleep that I would usually give up and bring her into bed with me.  It was at this point I realized we needed help. 

From our first call, Marni provided us with a gentle and supportive way to help our daughter learn how to put herself to sleep.  Throughout the process, Marni was so helpful in identifying our sleep goals for our daughter and giving us the tools and confidence to achieve those goals.  Now with thanks to Marni, I feel more confident as a mom and I have the tools to help support my daughter develop healthy sleep habits that she can carry with her into the future. 

My daughter is now 10 months old and she is sleeping beautifully.  I no longer stress nap or bedtime because she goes down easily and stays asleep!  I would recommend Marni to anyone that is looking for a better sleeping experience for both their baby and their family.

Kat, mom to 10 month old

 I help children ages 0-6 fall asleep independently, stay asleep in their own sleep space and feel more refreshed and energized as a result.

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After years of studying and working in the field I assumed once I had a child I would have all of the answers...wow, was I wrong!I was shocked that I felt overwhelmed by the never ending needs of my baby, confused by all of the conflicting advice and exhasuted by sleep deprivation. I was obsessed with my baby's sleep and development and worried so much about whether I was doing 'the right thing' or not.
Now, after 11 years of being a mom I have learned there isn't one right way to do something and that it all depends on who my baby is and what he needs in that moment and time. I've learned to trust myself more and trust in my relationship with my children. And I know I can help you, too. 
Having lived and worked with families in LA, NYC, and New England for the past 25 years, my family now lives in Overland Park, Kansas where we are exploring all of this new open space and getting to know the heart of the country. 
What you can expect when you work with me
  • Education on age and developmentally appropriate sleep behavior and expectations.

  • Parenting support with social, and emotional development, and behavioral concerns.

  • Concrete strategies and tools to help your little one continue to meet developmental milestones. 

  • Support with parenting children with developmental, social, and emotional delays

  • Handouts and resources to support coaching practices

  • Comprehensive intake and review of child/family history

  • In-person or virtual Sleep Consultation 

  • Customized step-by-step action plan created with family to tackle sleep challenges & address goals

  • Weekly phone calls 

  • Unlimited text messaging/emails 

  • Wrap-Up phone call to ensure future success

"Working with Marni was one of the best things we did. She listened to our concerns about sleep and behavior. She gave us the tools to address our concerns and be successful. We went from an unorganized bedtime routine to an structured bedtime. She was always available when we needed her. Thanks to Marni we are a happier and healthier family."

Rachel and Dan, parents to 4 year old

FAQ's

My Philosophy on Sleep

By raising 3 littles of my own and working with families on their children's sleep struggles I have learned that although many babies find their own natural rhythms and figure out how to sleep well, many more children need help to learn how to fall asleep on their own. Through my extensive training and personal experience I have learned what makes us into good sleepers, what prevents us from sleeping and how to help families develop healthy, long-term sleep habits for their children beginning in infancy. I don't believe in letting children cry themselves to sleep, nor do I believe that it's ok to try to force sleeping through the night before a baby is developmentally and cognitively able to do so. I use a gentle and proven approach to help you learn the strategies to get your child sleeping through the night with minimal tears and step-by-step support and follow-up. You will not have to figure this out alone- I will be there alongside you. 

What is a Gentle Sleep Coach?

The Gentle Sleep Coach (GSC) Program is the first and most extensive professional sleep coach training and certification program available. The program involves over 80 hours of training with a faculty panel that includes 2 medical doctors, a psychologist, an attorney, lactation counselor, postpartum doulas and a family therapist. Each coach must pass an exam and participate in case mentorship with Kim West, LCSW-C (a.k.a. “the Sleep Lady”) who has been helping tired parents for over 20 years. Clinical mentorship and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach.

Some of my training topics included:

  • Basic counseling and child development

  • Sleep science and behavioral modification techniques to help parents of children age 0 to 6 years old.

  • Secure attachment theory

  • Support for the breastfeeding mother

The training also consisted of lectures from top specialists, including:

  • Postpartum Depression from Dr. Shoshana Bennett, author and leading specialist on Postpartum Depression

  • Medical Conditions and Sleep Apnea in Children led by Dr. Lewis Kass, Director of Children’s Sleep Center

  • GERD and Sleep led by Dr. Anthony Loizides, pediatric gastroenterologist

The GSC Program also includes an exclusive advanced training specifically focused on how to gently work with babies 0-5 months of age. Some of the curriculum training topics include:

  • In-depth knowledge of the importance of attachment and infant mental health

  • The sleep science behind the first six months of life

  • What special considerations need to be taken when working with and supporting families during this delicate period.

  • Specialized instruction on how to evaluate families in the first six months

  • Guidance on how to assess when the baby is ready for sleep coaching based on current research and evidence-based strategies

  • Review of gentle sleep solutions and strategies that are developmentally appropriate, breastfeeding and attachment friendly and promote a solid foundation for sleep learning and long-term healthy sleep patterns.

This specialty training is designed to give Gentle Sleep Coaches the knowledge, education and all the tools and resources they need to successfully work with families of newborns through 5 months of age in a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate manner.

My Approach

When I work with your family, I listen to your concerns and help you figure out how to meet your sleep goals. I will help you navigate the various information and recommendations you have heard and simplify your path, with constant support along the way. My approach is to empower parents to take the steps necessary to improve their child's sleep. As a sleep coach I am there to guide parents in this process however I believe it is important for parents to do the actual training for several reasons:

  • This helps children to understand that their parents are the ones taking care of them, and will be there for them when they are scared or unsure

  • Children respond more authentically with their parents making it easier to determine when to modify the strageties

  • You are the one living in your house with your children and really know your children and family dynamics- I am there to help and guide you but won't be there forever

I help parents transition and grow into the role of parent with support and compassion by helping them to find what works best for them and their family. Over the years, I have helped many parents learn how to:
  • establish routines and structure,
  • foster and support their children's development,
  • address behavioral needs; and
  • improve sleep and feeding issues

Do you use a specific method?

We have a general approach that is called fading out, which means you will lessen the amount of sleep support you provide to your child over a finite amount of time. The way we do this is to help you figure out what is and isn't working with what you are already doing, and tweak it to achieve your goals. Every parent and child is unique and has their own needs. My job is to provide you with the strategies and tools to support your child in learning to fall asleep independently of sleep crutches or long term intervention; and to give you the confidence to tackle any challenge that may arise as they grow.

Why don't you sleep train babies under 6 months old?

The period of newborn through 6 months is a period of rapid growth and change. Babies are learning about their world and taking time to bond and attach to their caregivers. The sleeping expectations for babies under 6 months old are varied and just beginning to become organized. Therefore it is not recommended to try to sleep train babies in this age group and I do not believe it is beneficial to parents or child. Sleep training a child under 6 months can often backfire later and cause more sleep disruptions as they get older. 

What services do you provide for babies under 6 months old?

For this age range I offer a variety of services:

  • Tips and tools to begin shaping your baby's sleep- establishing routines and practices that lead to healthy sleep habits

  • Education and strategies to foster healthy social, emotional and physical development

  • Breastfeeding support

  • Speciffically designed for family with babies under 5 months old is my Oh Baby! package which focuses on monthly sleep tips and child development guidance and support along with text , email and phone support.

What is your belief on letting babies cry it out?

Current research has shown that although some unattended crying is ok for infants, long periods of unattended crying can cause shifts in attachment, mood regulation and brain chemistry. I take a more gentler approach called fading out, in which we slowly fade out parental support over a length of time to acclimate your child and help them learn to fall asleep independent of parental intervention or periods alone to cry themselves to sleep. This doesn't mean your child won't cry, but if they do you will be there to support them and let them know they aren't alone.

What else is included in your offerings?

Included with every service I deliver is the most up to date child development research and information as well as support in finding your parenting path. It's impossible to talk about sleep, feeding, or behavior without understanding how children develop socially, emotionally and physically; and what role you, as parents, have in encouraging and fostering their development. By working closely with you to determine what your parenting goals are I am able to help you navigate your parenting journey and help you become the parent you want to be.

I know what it's like to be stuck in the vicious cycle of spending all evening trying to get your little one to bed only to be woken up several times a night to have to do the whole thing all over again!

 

It's exhausting and the thought of commiting to making a change is overwhelming and often paralyzing because it feels daunting to figure out what to do to get your child past this.

 

I will help you get unstuck. I will take you step by step through the process of how to support your child using gentle age and developmentally appropriate strategies to help them fall asleep independenty and stay asleep all night in their own sleep space. 

Ready to learn more?

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