Happy Babies, Happy Families
Photo by Catie Viox
As any new parent knows, sleep is a treasured commodity.
It can be hard to come by when you have little ones, which is why Greater Cincinnati parents are flocking to Karolyn Kritikos, a certified pediatric sleep consultant, in search of help and advice for getting their little ones to sleep through the night.
Kritikos, who owns Sleep and Sensibility, offers customized sleep plans to meet each child’s needs and offers a shoulder to lean on during the two to three week process, working daily with parents to make sure they stay on track. Through it all, she is there to celebrate her clients’ successes as well as troubleshoot obstacles.
The seeds of the business were planted before the sleep guru gave birth to the first of her two boys. All parents hope their child will be a good sleeper, but Kritikos is a woman of action. She didn’t want to foster any bad habits that would potentially lead to a poor sleep environment for her son, she researched methods of sleep training until she found an approach that was comfortable for her.
The result – her son sleeping 12 hours a night at three months old – had her friends clamoring for her advice. “I had so many friends saying, ‘How did you do it? My child is 2 and still not sleeping through the night’ ” says Kritikos. “So I found out there was a program where I could become certified. It seemed like a natural fit to me, because it made sense and I felt a calling to help other moms do what I had done.”
After Kritikos completed a certification and training program, Sleep and Sensibility was born in March 2016. Kritikos has found a market quickly. She reports a steady flow of clients in need of her services, both working and stay-at home parents alike.
”Some moms will approach me earlier on and say, ’I know that I need to be back at work and I want to make sure that I create the best sleep environment for my baby so that my baby is sleeping through the night as soon as possible,’ ” says Kritikos.
Other parents seek help for older children. “I have moms that come to me when the child is 3 or 4 and they’ve never slept well, or they’ve slept well for a little while and then once they got into the toddler years they are repeatedly coming back into Mommy and Daddy’s bed. It’s really becoming a problem and they need a solution.”
So why not just check a book out of the library and be done with it? Simple. Sleep is a major concern of parents everywhere, so the overload of conflicting information can lead to confusion. “There are stacks of books with advice, and believe me I’ve read them all, but they aren’t customized to your needs and often sound contradictory When you work with me, I eliminate the fear and the guesswork.”
Plus, there is no substitute for the personal touch Kritikos offers her clients. Although she uses evidence-based methods of sleep training that are recognized as safe and effective by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
“I coach the parents through a step-by-step process that I have customized for them,” says Kritikos. She offers a variety of packages based on the age of the child and the level at which the parents would like her to be involved. She will even stay overnight on the first night of the program for parents who are too nervous to go it alone. But for most parents, her detailed, customized plan followed by regular morning follow-up calls and e-mail support is enough to do the trick.
“I’ve had a 100 percent success rate so far,” she says. Whatever package parents choose, Kritikos offers a comforting, guiding hand throughout the process.
She also knows the science behind sleep, and the harm that can come to babies and families if they are not sleeping for longer stretches around the three-month mark. Kritikos emphasizes lack of sleep can lead to stress, poor decision making, dangerous driving, weakened immune systems, loss of milk supply for the mother or even higher rates of postpartum depression.
As far as the children, symptoms of sleep deprivation can include hyperactivity leading to a possible misdiagnosis of ADHD. Growth and appetite can be negatively affected as well.
When asked what she wants parents to know about children and sleep patterns, Kritikos is adamant. “I really want moms to know that contrary to popular belief children are not bad sleepers. They need sleep for proper growth and development and there are steps we can take to help teach our children to sleep better.”
One common misconception Kritikos sees is that parents assume that a baby who is sleeping seven or eight hours is a good sleeper, when actually the ideal amount of sleep for a baby or young child is at least 11 hours.
Kritikos is also eager to counter a common, though dangerous, cultural shift. “We often take sleep for granted in today’s society. It seems to be a badge of honor for people to talk about how little sleep they can survive on. But they are doing just that, surviving. I want families to thrive.”
If a family is struggling with sleep problems, Kritikos is ready to help. “Reach out to me and see if there is something I can do to help you. I’m in the business of making babies healthy and helping families stay healthy.”
You can reach Karolyn Kritikos at 513.400.4069, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit sleepandsensibility.com.