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The Sleep Sessions

The Sleep Sessions

By Dara Whitaker
This podcast is a place for women to share their challenges and successes of adapting to life and sleep after a new baby. Each episode features a different mom sharing her story. The discussions cover a wide range of topics: birth experiences, physical recovery, feeding challenges, sleep training methods, mental health, infant illness, impacts on relationships, work/life balance and more.
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Mary Bridget’s Story: positive birth experience, breastfeeding, hormonal shifts, going back to work
On today’s episode, Mary Bridget shares about her positive birth experience, her 6 month long breastfeeding journey, hormonal challenges she faced when she weaned, sleep training, and going back to work.
24:55
October 27, 2020
Allison O’s Story: postpartum hemorrhage, emergency hysterectomy, surrogacy, mom of two
On today's episode, Allison shares her heartbreaking, yet inspirational story that starts with a postpartum hemorrhage resulting in an emergency hysterectomy following the birth of her first son. Due to the events that occurred, Allison became unable to carry and birth another child and was forced the grieve her dream of doing so. She shares about this grieving process, breastfeeding, returning to work after her maternity leave, and struggling to connect with other women who were having "normal" motherhood experiences. Though she experienced tremendous trauma, Allison's story has a happy ending thanks to her sister stepping in to be a surrogate and carry her second son. 
43:27
October 6, 2020
Ali’s Story: unplanned C-section, postpartum depression, placenta encapsulation, VBAC
On today’s episode, Ali Levine shares about her traumatic first birth experience that ultimately led to her journey with postpartum depression and challenges with breastfeeding. Luckily, she has a strong support system and was able to overcome these hardships. Ali recently gave birth to her second baby girl via a successful VBAC and found having her placenta encapsulated really helped her through the postpartum period this time around.  About Ali Levine: Born and raised in New York, Ali has worked for some of the biggest names in the Fashion Industry. Ali relocated to Los Angeles, California and became a household name as a celebrity stylist. Ali recently appeared with her husband on Bravo's hit show, "Stripped." Ali makes regular appearances on local to National television promoting herself as a brand becoming an on- camera expert. After Ali's 1st birth of her daughter Amelia Rei, Ali transitioned to mompreneur and mommy influencer across the board. Belonging to sought after mommy groups her fashion sense plus real life day to day inspires many who follow her and cover her. Now she is a mama of two girls and sharing it all!! Ali has a well known podcast called Striptd Down with Ali Levine, all about motherhood, real, raw and everything in between!! You can find her @alilevinedesign.
35:10
September 29, 2020
Sarah M’s story: undiagnosed gestational diabetes, attachment parenting, postpartum anxiety
Sleep consultant, Dr. Sarah Mitchell shares about her experiences with undiagnosed gestational diabetes, attachment parenting, and postpartum anxiety. From Ottowa, Ontario, Sarah and her husband now live in the San Francisco Bay area with her 9 year old son and 7 year old daughter. With 8 years of university healthcare research, Sarah thought she’d be prepared to deal with her son’s sleeping habits as a newborn. She began to struggle with unexpected sleeping issues and became obsessed with researching, studying and talking to experts about implementing solutions. Main points: 1:58 Planned on natural approaches 2:14 Undiagnosed gestational diabetes 3:23 Signs of gestational diabetes 4:26 Sleep problems 5:43 Birth incision healing 6:18 Postpartum anxiety 7:00 Sleeping and Maternity leave in Canaday 8:26 Sleeping pressure in Canada vs. United States 8:47 Sleeping approaches based on family demands 10:50 Path to good sleep 12:24 Have a plan in place that you feel comfortable with 12:32 Mental shift 14:24 Starting sleep routine 17:29 Sleeping through the night and Feeding habits 19:41 Second child 21:06 Sleep and impact on relationships in life: tension with husband Tips and Resources: Therapy Self-care Sleep Summary by age Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman Be sure to subscribe to The Sleep Sessions wherever you listen to podcasts and follow along on Instagram at @thesleepsessions.
26:59
September 22, 2020
Cassie’s Story: epidural challenges, postpartum depression, intrusive thoughts, maternity leave, lack of sleep
On today’s episode, Cassie Young from The Bert Show gets open & honest about her struggles with postpartum depression and anxiety. She also shares her birth story and new mother experience including a failed epidural multiple times, breastfeeding, going back to work after maternity leave, and mental health struggles & seeking professional health. Cassie lives with her husband and 8 month old baby. Although they live away from many of their family members, they are taking life day by day while raising their child. Working for such a small company, Cassie is grateful to be employed at a firm that believes in a paid maternity leave. Main points: 2:46 Maternity leave and employers 7:15 Birth experience: induced labor, 4 x local anesthetic, failed epidurals, silent baby after birth, bleeding heavily, breakthrough cry 12:51 Physical recovery 14:52 Natural practices 16:37 Bringing her home: fear of hurting baby, nightmares 23:08 Mental health: postpartum depression, anxiety 27:20 Working through mental health 29:58 Relationships in life Tips and Resources: Sleep training Moms on Call swaddling technique Taking Cara Babies Be sure to subscribe to The Sleep Sessions wherever you listen to podcasts and follow along on Instagram at @thesleepsessions.
35:30
September 15, 2020
Savannah H’s Story: unplanned pregnancy, single mom, pre-term labor, tongue tie, dairy intolerance, sleep challenges, strong support system
On today's episode, Savannah shares about her experience as a single, young mom to her beautiful baby girl, Charlotte. After an unplanned pregnancy with an unsupportive partner, Savannah impressively decided to move forward with raising her daughter all on her own. Her birth story started at 32 weeks when she went into pre-term labor which required her to be on bed rest for the remaining 8 weeks of her pregnancy. After coming home, Savannah noticed that her daughter had a tongue tie and a dairy intolerance that made breastfeeding very difficult. They also faced some sleep challenges and are still working through them now that Charlotte is 1-year-old. Savannah's family initially had some negative feelings towards her pregnancy but eventually came around and are now a very strong support system for her and her daughter. Be sure to subscribe to The Sleep Sessions wherever you listen to podcasts and follow along on Instagram at @thesleepsessions. 
26:04
September 8, 2020
Stuart’s Story: episiotomy, challenging physical recovery, breastfeeding for 18 months, night nurse, acid reflux, co-sleeping, pregnancy during Covid
Today’s Guest is TV Host & Entertainment Reporter, Stuart Brazell. Stuart is currently 38 weeks pregnant with her second baby and shares about how her first birth experience didn’t go as planned, requiring a vacuum and an episiotomy, leading to a very challenging physical recovery. Although she didn’t feel like herself for months after her son was born, she was able to successfully breastfeed for 18 months. Stuart lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband Robbie and 2 year old son. Main points: 3:45 First Birth Experience: pitocin, membrane-swipe, epidural, vacuum, high-blood pressure 8:50 Physical Recovery 10:06 Breastfeeding: 18 months, good experience, working while breastfeeding 10:40 Sleeping: night nurse, abroad trip Methods: bath and book routine, patience 14:24 Balancing Work and Mom life 16:58 Being Pregnant while Parenting Another 19:55 Acid Reflux: gripe water, diet, breastfeeding 22:57 Travelling with a Newborn 24:23 Having a Child and Relationships Tips and Resources: Take advantage of the online communities of moms Be sure to subscribe to The Sleep Sessions wherever you listen to podcasts and follow along on Instagram at @thesleepsessions.
27:59
September 1, 2020
Colleen D's Story: breech baby, positive C-section experience, postpartum preeclampsia, returning to work after 8 weeks, choosing not to sleep train
Colleen and her husband were planning on an unmedicated hospital birth, but were shocked when their son flipped into a breech position at 37 weeks gestation. While this resulted in an unplanned C-section, Colleen still had a very positive birth experience. Colleen, her husband Patrick and soon to be one year old Rory are an animal loving family as owners to their dog Scout and horse Matt Main points: Birth Story (1:53) Positive C-section experience (4:15) Preeclampsia post C-section (5:16) C-section advice (7:38) Going home from hospital (9:17) Breastfeeding jaundice and switching to formula(11:22) Sleeping (14:33) Going back to work (16:14) Nightime routine (18:31) New baby and relationships in life (22:48) Tips and Resources: Find time for yourself Love to dream swaddle Mayen Abdominal massage post c-section Be sure to subscribe to The Sleep Sessions wherever you listen to podcasts and follow along on Instagram at @thesleepsessions.
28:30
August 25, 2020
Samantha’s Story: positive birth story, breastfeeding challenges, sleep training, navigating changes in her marriage after having a baby
After meeting her husband in high school, Samantha and her husband live in Pompano Beach, Florida with their 19 month old son. Samantha started the hysterical and relatable blog & Instagram account @mommy.realist to serve as a venting platform for new moms. On today’s episode, Samantha  shares about her positive birth experience, challenges with breastfeeding success with sleep training, traveling internationally with a newborn, and how she and her husband navigated changes in their relationship after having a baby. Main Points: 2:28 Birth Story at 4 weeks early 5:22 Bringing newborn home 6:14 Latching struggles, sleeping with recliner and co-sleeping 7:47 Feeding methods: breastfeeding and using formula 10:07 Sleep training and taking care of babies, weaning 12:37 Travelling with an infant 14:08Sstopping co-sleeping and breastfeeding for better mental health 15:20 Taking the year off of work 15:50 Starting @mommy.realest 16:25 Baby impacting marriage, relationships and social life 21:02 Self care practices Tips and Resources: What to Expect App Prioritize self-care Giving up control for a less stressful lifestyle Be sure to subscribe to The Sleep Sessions wherever you listen to podcasts and follow along on Instagram at @thesleepsessions. You can purchase the Postpartum Thrive Guide at www.thesleepsessions.co/get-the-guide. 
25:03
August 18, 2020
Candace’s Story: mom of two, anxiety during pregnancy, surprise unmedicated birth, feeding on demand, choosing not to sleep train
On today's episode, Candace shares about struggling with the idea of becoming a mother of two, coping with anxiety during pregnancy, and staying true to what felt right for her and her family throughout her motherhood journey. She also talks about her experience during a surprise unmedicated, success with feeding on demand, and choosing not to sleep train either of her babies. “If it works for you that’s really all that matters” (17:07) After going to the same high school, Candace and her husband Mike met later in life, settled down in Athens, and had two very different pregnancies. To learn more about her story, listen in! Main points: Overview (2:04) First Pregnancy - Boy (2:05) Second Pregnancy - Girl (3:56) Dealing with Anxiety (4:12) Bringing Babies Home (10:36) Bringing First Born Home (10:51) First Born and Sleep (11:20) Breastfeeding First Born (12:45) Breastfeeding Second Born (14:22) Second Born and Sleep (15:09) Anxiety as a Mother of Two (18:02) Son’s Sleep at Age 3 (20:25) Tips and Resources: Find what works for you Use Facebook and Youtube, Listen to Podcasts The Baby Center What to Expect Kelly Mom Be sure to subscribe to The Sleep Sessions wherever you listen to podcasts and follow along on Instagram at @thesleepsessions.
23:10
August 11, 2020
Miranda’s Story: home birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, struggles with body image, learning to embrace motherhood
As a fitness icon and mother of two, Miranda Alcaraz has had to learn how to navigate major changes to her body & mind all while growing her business and community, Street Parking. On today’s episode, Miranda Alcaraz shares about her two unmedicated births, switching to a home birth just weeks before her due date due to Covid, a surprise first pregnancy that changed her perspective on motherhood entirely, and how “owning it” impacted her career for the better. She also talks about her breastfeeding journey, struggles with body image, sleep challenges, and how she learned to love motherhood more than she could have ever imagined.
33:04
August 4, 2020
Stephanie’s Story: premature birth at 32 weeks, emergency C-section, feeding challenges, struggle with balancing work & home life
On today’s episode, Stephanie shares about her daughter’s premature birth at 32 weeks via emergency C-section, challenges they faced with feeding & acid reflux, transitioning back to work after maternity leave, and ultimately deciding to leave her career when her daughter was 18 months old. “I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough at work, I wasn’t doing enough at home, and I was just failing at both” (21:42) Stephanie lives in Minneapolis with her husband, daughter Clara and dog, Lucy. Her first year as a mother came with struggles she never imagined, but ultimately they made her realize what was most important to her. Main points: Stephanie’s Birth Story (1:25) Aftermath: Special Care Nursery for 5 Weeks (3:01) Transition: Bringing Clara Home (6:34) Feeding Struggles (7:11) Acid Reflux and Eating Habits (10:05) Clara’s Sleep Cycles (12:41) Going Back to Work (16:25) Frequent Sickness and Guilt (22:48) Leaving Work (27:06) Tips, Advice and Resources (30:16) Resources: Taking Cara Babies: Online Sleep Classes and Resources for Newborn to Two-Year Olds Follow on Instagram @takingcarababies Be sure to subscribe to The Sleep Sessions wherever you listen to podcasts and follow along on Instagram at @thesleepsessions.
33:31
July 28, 2020
Amanda’s Story: infertility, C-section, VBAC, sleep training, two under two
On today's episode, we learn about Amanda's PCOS diagnosis when she was in her teens, her struggle with years of infertility, and how she was eventually able to have two successful pregnancies. She also shares about her C-section, VBAC, sleep training, and navigating having two under two with minimal outside support due to Covid.  This episode is brought to you by Beluga Baby. Their super soft, breathable bamboo wraps are perfect for the newborn days and beyond, giving your baby a womb like environment to relax into while giving you your hands back. Get yours at BelugaBaby.com.
28:08
July 21, 2020
Catherine’s Story: C-section, twin mom, exclusive pumping, formula, night doula, following a routine
Catherine, shares about her two differing birth experiences, navigating how to feed her twins, exclusively pumping, wishing she hadn’t put so much pressure on herself about transitioning to formula, following a sleep routine, and getting the support of a night doula.
28:04
July 14, 2020
Falen’s Story: positive birth experience, irrational fears, mom guilt, work/life balance, sleep training
Morning radio show co-host, Falen Bonsett, shares about her positive birth experience, dealing with hemorrhoids, overcoming irrational fears, feeling mom guilt about her husband stepping in as the primary nighttime caretaker due to her career’s demands, and success with sleep training.
31:34
July 7, 2020
Katie L’s Story: unmedicated hospital births, naturally minded motherhood, extreme colic, feeding challenges, trusting others with your babies
Katie shares about her two unmedicated hospital births, being a naturally minded mom, dealing with extreme colic with both of her babies, overcoming feeding & digestion challenges, the toll these issues took on her family, and how she learned to allow other people to care for her children.
38:32
June 30, 2020
Arielle’s Story: traumatic birth experience, postpartum hemorrhage, divorce, sleep training
Arielle from Expect to Sleep Again Sleep Consulting shares her story of a difficult pregnancy, traumatic birth experience, postpartum hemorrhage, going through a divorce, and how hiring a sleep consultant changed her life.
27:59
June 27, 2020
Sarah’s Story: unmedicated hospital birth, difficulty bonding with her baby, following a sleep routine
Sarah shares her experiences with an unmedicated hospital birth, difficulty with bonding with her baby, following a sleep routine, and learning to put her challenging childhood behind her by having a daughter of her own.
29:22
June 23, 2020
Brooke’s Story: mom of 3, postpartum depression & insomnia, work/life balance
Brooke from @thesouthernishmama shares about her 3 different birth experiences, recovery from a third degree tear, coping with postpartum insomnia, and how motherhood helped her find her voice. This episode is brought to you by Sam Rogers at Northwestern Mutual - visit samrogers.nm.com
25:13
June 16, 2020
Allison’s Story: C-section, co-sleeping, sleep training, coronavirus
Allison shares her experiences with co-sleeping, moving to Italy with her infant daughter for her husband’s basketball career, and finding a sleep training method that worked for her family that didn’t involve crying it out.
26:18
June 9, 2020
Meet the Expert: Liz Price, Owner of Nurse at Night
On today’s special episode we learn what a night nurse is, who should have one, when they are most beneficial, and how they help to support families postpartum from Liz Price, a NICU RN, Certified Sleep Consultant, and Certified Lactation Counselor.
24:22
May 30, 2020
Mary Jane’s Story: mother of 3, feeding challenges, major surgery while 28 weeks pregnant
Mary Jane shares her experiences with jaundice with her first baby, overcoming significant feeding challenges with her second, and undergoing a serious & invasive surgery while 28 weeks pregnant with her third. This episode is brought to you by Northwestern Mutual. Visit samrogers.nm.com to learn more.
26:12
May 26, 2020
My Story: miscarriage, breastfeeding challenges, nap trouble, bonding with baby
It’s hard to believe that my baby is 1 year old! I hate to sound cliche but the saying “the days are long and the years are short” does a great job of explaining how I’m feeling. On today’s episode, I share my experiences with miscarriage, breastfeeding & pumping challenges, learning how to bond with my baby, leaving my career, and overcoming nap struggles. It’s amazing to reflect on how far we’ve come and I can’t imagine our lives without our sweet little Winnie. This episode is brought to you by Northwestern Mutual - visit samrogers.nm.com to learn more.
33:29
May 19, 2020
Casey’s Story: mother of 2, emergency C-section, mental health, sleep development
Casey shares about her emergency c-section and the emotional toll it took on her, how speaking with a counselor helped her cope with postpartum anger, and ways she handles sleep developmental milestones with her two children.
30:21
May 12, 2020
Addie's Story: two under two, breastfeeding challenges, entrepreneurship in motherhood
Food Network Star turned entrepreneur, Addie, shares about her very different birth experiences, having an allergic reaction to her epidural that caused challenges with breastfeeding, managing two kids under two, and starting a business while on maternity leave with her youngest.
22:49
May 5, 2020
Meet the Expert: Gill Rapley, Author of Baby Led Weaning
Gill Rapley, Author & Founder of Baby Led Weaning, shares her tips and best practices for starting your baby on solid foods.
27:46
May 3, 2020
Jess’ Story: infertility, sleep training, mom guilt
Jess from @jessicaoakes shares her story of overcoming infertility struggles (twice!), choosing to sleep train her second baby after having a tough time with her first, and coping with mom guilt while trying to balance being a mom, wife, and successful blogger.
24:03
April 28, 2020
Richelle's Story: induction, pumping, balancing work and home life
Richelle shares her experience with an induction, choosing to have her baby sleep in a crib from day one, success with pumping, and going back to work when her daughter was 8 weeks old.
27:58
April 21, 2020
Raquel’s Story: unmedicated birth, mom of 2, entrepreneurship in motherhood, helpful products
Raquel, Co-Founder of Funboy, tells her story of a natural hospital birth, balancing being a mom and an entrepreneur, and shares products that helped her children sleep.
22:42
April 14, 2020
Margot’s Story: induction, breastfeeding challenges, bonding with her baby, sleep training
Margot shares her experiences with an induction, breastfeeding challenges, and activities that helped her bond with her baby.
28:25
April 7, 2020
Meet the Expert: Laura Hunter, Co-Founder of Moms on Call
Laura Hunter, Author & Co-Founder of Moms on Call, shares her experience of raising 5 children and starting her successful business while her youngest was just 1 week old.
25:15
March 31, 2020
Katie's Story: twin pregnancy, emergency C-section, premature babies
Katie shares her experience with a twin pregnancy, an emergency c-section, having premature babies, and finding the right medical providers.
24:24
March 24, 2020
Kris' Story: postpartum depression, co-sleeping, mom of 2, building a support system
Kris shares her experiences with postpartum depression, co-sleeping and building a strong support system.
25:53
March 17, 2020
Colleen's Story: C-section, acid reflux, international travel, changing family dynamics
Colleen shares her experiences with a c-section, feeding challenges, traveling internationally with a newborn, and changing family dynamics. 
21:54
March 10, 2020
Hannah’s Story: C-section, two under two, sleep training
Hannah shares her experiences with c-section recovery, having babies 18 months apart, and sleep training.
25:44
March 1, 2020
Caitlin’s Story: home birth, co-sleeping, breastfeeding
Caitlin shares her experiences with a home birth, co-sleeping, and handling unwarranted criticism.
34:36
March 1, 2020
Jen's Story: bonding with her baby, breastfeeding, finding her role as a mom
A first time mom & music teacher shares her experiences with bonding with her baby, breastfeeding and finding a rhythm in her new role. 
29:25
March 1, 2020