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Sleep Sense by Dana Obleman

sleep sense review by Ashley Davis, 10BabyGear

If you are parents whose life has been miserable because you have been sleep-deprived since you brought home your bundle of joy, we are here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way. This is part of our sleep guide series including techniques such as 5s.

In this article, we will go through the sleep sense program by Dana Obleman, a renowned infant sleep expert, and will share some insight and review of the program along with some tips to develop healthy sleeping patterns. I hope this guide will inform you of whether the Sleep Sense program is right for your baby and hopefully get your life back in the process.

Dana Obleman, the creator of Sleep Sense
Image of Dana Obleman

About Dana Obleman/sleep sense consultant

Dana Obleman is the creator of Sleep Sense, a comprehensive guide to solve your child’s sleep problems. She is very experienced in the field from years of working full time as an infant and child consultant since 2003.

Her expertise has gotten her featured as a guest on US national television, radio talk shows, and major newspapers among other prestigious programs.

You can read more about her on the Sleep Sense website here.

What is sleep sense/ what is sleep sense training?

Sleep Sense is an easy-to-follow step-by-step program designed to solve sleep problems for infants and children up to 5 years. The program shows you everything you need to do for your child to sleep through the night as well as during naps. The program is suited for infants as well as toddlers.

Sleep sense review by Dana vs other sleep training programs

How Sleep Sense works

Dana Sleep Sense is an online program containing various methods to choose from. The methods are customizable depending on your child’s age and personality.

The program is designed to help your child learn to sleep on their own without your assistance through props like rocking, nursing, giving them a pacifier, etc.

In the video below, Dana explains Sleep Sense program;

She shares tips you can use to get your baby to sleep through the night;

Sleep sense method(s)

Like many sleep experts in the market, you can only get details of Dana’s Sleep Sense methods if you purchase the whole package (eBook and videos) from the website or the Kindle version from Amazon.

That said, she has already guaranteed that the method is not ‘Cry it Out’ but says some crying is to be expected as a way of your child protesting to change.

In the course of our research, we came across what Dana calls Sleep “shortcuts”, and we thought we could share with you. She says the shortcuts could be the only missing tricks for your child to sleep nicely.

Seven sleep shortcuts by Dana Obleman:

1. Watch the waking hours to prevent your child from being overtired, which she claims is the biggest enemy of sleep.

Below is her quick guide to how long your child should be awake between naps during the day:

  • Newborns (0-12 weeks)- 45 minutes of awake time
  • 3-5 months- 1.5-2 hours of awake time
  • 6-8 months-2-3 hours of awake time
  • 9-12 months- 3-4 hours of awake time
  • 13 months to 2.5 years- 5-6 hours of awake time

She recommends putting your child down for naps before they get too tired and says if you do this, they will fall asleep more easily at naptime and be more relaxed at bedtime too.

2. Keep your child’s room as dark as possible at night and during naps. Research shows humans, including babies and toddlers sleep better in the dark.

3. Give your child a predictable routine, not lasting more than half an hour. It helps them know when the time for sleep is coming

For example:

– bath (5 minutes)

– put on pajamas (5 minutes)

– sing some songs or read a storybook (10 minutes)

– nursing or bottle-feeding (10 minutes)

After finishing your bedtime routine, she suggests that you act boring by not participating in any games your child might want to play.

4. Only feed or nurse your child after naps to help break their feeding-sleep association. This association she says causes babies and toddlers to think they must nurse or feed before they can fall asleep.

NB: Dana says the strategy is only for naps not and not bedtime since a full tummy is necessary to keep your child from waking in the night.

5. Try as much as possible to put your child down for sleep in the same place and at the same time every day. She says it can improve the length and quality of nighttime sleep.

6. Try the “1, 2, 3″ System

When your child wakes from a nap or sleep and starts fussing or crying, wait one minute before checking on them and keep lengthening to two or three minutes in the following days.

She says this allows your child to get themselves back to sleep without your help.

7. Ensure the five minutes before putting your child to bed are calming and relaxing. Don’t let them engage in exciting things like watching TV, tickle fights, or other rowdy games.

Sleep sense consultant cost/Pricing 

Sleep Sense and consultations are available in three different packages to cater for every budget. Check out from our snapshot below how much the packages cost and what you get.

What age to start sleep sense (newborn, 1 to 12 months, for 4 months old? 

Dana says that the Sleep Sense program is relevant for all children from newborns, toddlers, and preschoolers. She says, the earlier you start, the easier the sleep training process will be.

When placing your order for the Sleep Sense program, you will choose from the following age groups:

  • 0-3 months
  • 4-6 months
  • 7-12 months
  • 12-24 months
  • 24 months and older

Sleep Sense Twins

When sleep training twins, Dana recommends putting your twins on the same schedule because their sleep needs are very similar.

If you are putting them down to bed or nap, do it at the same time, preferably in different rooms during the sleep training period. She says you can give your twins a 30 minutes allowance if one sleeps a little longer than their twin brother or sister. After 30 minutes, parents can try to rouse the sleeping twin.

Dana says naps are more challenging because the sleep is lighter and a bit more fragmented, giving a higher chance of one child waking up the other. Therefore, she recommends separating twins for naps indefinitely even if they share at bedtime. This is easier done during the day because more rooms are available. In the end, both babies will learn to get back to sleep on their own.

When your twins become great sleepers for about two to three weeks, you are at liberty to move them to be sleeping in the same room.

Baby naps

When it comes to naps, many parents complain that their babies do not sleep more than 20 or 30minutes. To get babies to nap longer, Dana has the following advice: 

First, make sure the baby’s room is dark. It might require you to tape, use blackout blinds, or sheets, whatever you must do so long as it makes the room dark.

Second, keep your child cozy and comfortable by dressing them in loose pants or jammies.

Third, do not feed the child before nap, instead, do it after. If that has been your primary sleep prop, switch feeding to another activity like a diaper change, singing a song, or reading a storybook.

Though the Sleep Sense Program has a guideline for wake time for children based on different ages, Dana says you can add or reduce 15 minutes to see if it improves the quality of your baby’s nap. You might realize that maybe your child needs more awake time. The objective is not to let your child be overtired by the time you put them down for a nap.

Toddlers Sleep regressions

Toddler Sleep Regression happens when a toddler who has been sleeping well suddenly refuses to go to sleep, has a more nightly awakening, and might not go back to sleep for weeks.

According to Dana, it is a normal part of developing, and it is during this phase that your toddler will try to ‘test the waters. She warns that toddlers will try to push the boundaries of their bedtime routines and observe their parents’ reactions. Most parents go on to give more incentives to try and make the child sleep- things like hugs and cuddles even after you already said the good night the first, second, and third time. According to Dana, this will only encourage the child to continue fussing or crying to get more of your visits, cuddles, or whatever else you do.

The solution she offers is for you to carefully monitor how you respond and try to minimize your attention. For example, you can simply open the door say nighty-night and no cuddles, if your child still finds that rewarding enough to continue with their protest, then you reduce even more. For example, you could open the door and tell them nightly-night and that you won’t be going back into their room. Since they are already good sleepers, with time, they will give up trying to get your attention and sleep as before. Besides, it is a phase that will blow over.

The other issue Dana talks about concerning toddlers is when there is a newborn and toddlers feel all the attention is gone to the new little one. She says even parents might feel guilty about it and they start giving in to their toddler’s demands by pushing or removing sleeping boundaries like pushing bedtime later, allowing more time for play etc.

Dana recommends that if parents are feeling guilty, they should plan special outings and play with their toddler during the day, so he/she can feel secure and retain the same firmness around bedtime routines.

She says parents who remain consistent with their bedtime routines sail through toddler years much easier than those who give in.

Sleep Sense vs Taking Cara Babies

Sleep Sense is a more dense training program that can be customized to fit most infants of age 0 to 5 years while Taking Cara Babies is a shorter program that can be used by infants and toddlers from age 0 to 24 months. Taking Cara Babies is also much more expensive with its Cheapest package ($179) costing more than Sleep Sense’s most expensive package ($129)

The table below shows more differences between Sleep Sense and Taking Cara Babies.

Sleep SenseTaking Cara Babies
Created byDana OblemanCara
Recommended age0 months to 5 years with packages for;
-0-3 months
-4-6 months
-7-12 months
-12-24 months
-24 months and older
0 months to 24 months. There is a separate e-book for babies from 0 to 4 months which costs $34.
Content available  -221-pages eBook
-14-day sleep coach video
-Phone consultation
-Personalized email support for the platinum package
-Baby sleep boot camp video recordings available in Gold and Platinum packages
-60-page reference booklet
-90-minute video for all packages
-Phone consultation for Package B and C
Pricing packagesComes in three packages; $47(Basic), $67(Gold), and $129 (Platinum). The Platinum package comes with personalized phone and email support.Comes in three packages; $179(A), $249(B), and $319(C). The $249 plan gives you 40-minutes phone consultation and the $319 plan gives you 2 40-minute consultation sessions over the phone.
VideosAll videos are pre-recordedFor newborns, there is a live online session but all the other courses are pre-recorded.
Training basisAll training courses are age-basedAll training courses are age-based
Warranty100% money back anytime30-day money-back guarantee
Read more & enroll hereRead more and enroll here.

Sleep sense vs little ones

Sleep SenseLittle ones 
Recommended ageDana OblemanNicky & Amanda
Age group covered0 months to 5 years0 months to 36 months
Content available  -221 pages eBook
-14-day sleep coach video
-Phone consultation
-Personalized email support
-Baby sleep boot camp video recordings
Little one app for iOS and Android
PricingComes in three packages; $47(Basic), $67(Gold), and $129 (Platinum). The Platinum package comes with personalized phone and email support.From $59 for all programs
Warranty100% money back anytime90 day money back
Read more & enroll hereRead more and enroll here.

Sleep sense vs Ferber

Sleep SenseFerber
Created byDana OblemanDr Richard Ferber
Recommended age0 months to 5 years4 months and above
Content available  -221 pages eBook
-14-day sleep coach video
-Phone consultation
-Personalized email support
-Baby sleep boot camp video recordings
The method is accessible from the internet.
It is a modified Cry It Out with timed check-in increments.
PricingComes in three packages; $47(Basic), $67(Gold), and $129 (Platinum). The Platinum package comes with personalized phone and email support.Free 
Warranty100% money back anytimeN/A
Read more & enroll here

Sleep sense vs Baby wise

Sleep SenseBaby Wise
Created byDana OblemanDr Robert Bucknam & Gary Ezzo
Recommended age0 months to 5 years0 months to 3months (infants)
Content available  -221 pages eBook
-14-day sleep coach video
-Phone consultation
-Personalized email support
-Baby sleep boot camp video recordings
-Audio mp3 files
-Hard backPaperbackePub files
PricingComes in three packages; $47(Basic), $67(Gold), and $129 (Platinum). The Platinum package comes with personalized phone and email support.From $8.95 to $12.99
Warranty100% money back anytime
Read more & enroll hereGet books here

Sleep Sense vs Sleep lady shuffle

Sleep SenseSleep lady shuffle
Created byDana OblemanKim West
Recommended age0 months to 5 years6 months and above
Content available -221 pages eBook
-14-day sleep coach video
-Phone consultation
-Personalized email support
-Baby sleep boot camp video recordings
-Kindle version 
-Paperback
PricingComes in three packages; $47(Basic), $67(Gold), and $129 (Platinum). The Platinum package comes with personalized phone and email support.From $11.99 to $14.25
Warranty100% money back anytimeCheck Price on Amazon

Sleep Sense app

Sleep Sense by Dana Obleman does not have an app but an eBook and video from the website. You can also get the Kindle version from Amazon.

Sleep sense clothing (night shirts, nightgown, lounge cardigan, loungewear, and flannel pajamas)

You can get Sleep Sense sleepwear for you and your child from major stores like Dillards, eBay, and Posh Mark.

Sleep sense book and blog (include free download link if you can find or link to PDF)

If you wish to have a Sleep Sense eBook, you can follow this link to get it at 30% discount, and you will also get access to the Sleep Sense blog.

Sleep sense mattress

Sleep Sense mattress by Spring Air International features an innovative inner core construction designed to relieve pressure from the body’s high-pressure areas and provide lower back support for a comfortable and restful sleep.

Its superior core construction is combined with gel-infused memory foam or natural latex to provide support and cooler temperatures throughout the night.

Sleep sense Meg Faure

Meg Faure is an occupational therapist based in Cape Town, South Africa. She has teamed up with several health experts like an obstetrician, midwives, allergy specialists, and pediatric dieticians to write several parenting books, including Sleep Sense. Meg’s Sleep Sense book details a practical and gentle method to help all children from newborns to preschoolers to sleep well at night as well as develop healthy sleep practices that will promote a good mood, learning, and lifestyle. It also includes an age-related troubleshooting section, where parents can find quick fixes in desperate times. It is retailing at the price of R 170.00 from the website and while at it you can also check out her other books like Pregnancy Sense, Baby Sense, Weaning Sense, Feeding Sense, and Allergy Sense.

Sleep Sense night waking

If your child is experiencing night wakings, Sleep Sense teaches you to make sure you break any prop association for the child to start sleeping well.

Also, make sure your child is not already too sleepy or asleep when you put them to bed.

The other area you might want to check is, are you doing something different? Like at bedtime he falls asleep on his own but when he wakes up later in the night you rock, or feed him to sleep. This may cause the child to continue depending on those props to sleep. 

Sleep Sense night feedings

Sleep Sense teaches that if a baby is a healthy and gaining weight, there isn’t much reason why they should need night feeds after the 6th month.

The best way to get a deal to go about it is to stop letting your baby fall asleep while she’s feeding. You can change things a bit so that if feeding used to be the last part of his nightly routine, push it to sometime before, and then after feeding, read a story or a song for example, and put him down to sleep when still awake.

Sleep Sense Weaning

According to Dana, children are just like adults; they will sometimes eat not because they are hungry, but because food is readily within reach. She says that it’s not because the child is hungry, that they want to be weaned at night; instead, it’s just a habit. And that they will happily accept a feed for as long as you’re going to offer it.

The only solution she offers is going about it cold turkey. She says it is the best and fastest method to stop this habit. Otherwise, trying to wean down by minimizing the amount of feed or the duration will only confuse the child and prolong the whole process. If your child was already a good sleeper, even when nighttime weaning is stopped, it won’t be long before they are back to sleeping through the night.

The other reason for a child needing to be weaned in their sleep is if they have not developed good sleep skills, and she is still relying on bottle-feeding or breastfeeding to sleep. When they wake periodically just like everybody else, they will rely on you to help them get back to sleep. In this case, it is not about food; it is a sleep strategy.

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