You may have noticed that on a few pages on this site, it tells you how many e-mails I’ve sent to you or parents just like you, with babies struggling with sleep. This number is updated real-time, meaning if it’s 2 a.m., my time, and you keep checking if it will update, don’t bother because it won’t. 🙂 I am not likely writing e-mails at that time in the morning. I have been known to write some as late as 12:30 a.m. or so, though, but I have been trying to get more sleep, lately (oh the irony). 😉
I don’t pay that much attention to this number, actually. I often just go straight to the Sleep Helpdesk and not the homepage. Occasionally, though, I do like to make sure everything looks okay for new readers and about two weeks ago I noticed the number was around 4,935 and I thought “Wow! I’m almost to 5,000!” I started thinking about what I should do about this.
So, I decided to write this post and give the 5,000th e-mail a prize. My plan was to announce this in the newsletter so a few clients might *try* to be the 5,000th e-mail. Well… I passed 5,000 before I even got to this post or a newsletter to announce it! I guess I type many more e-mails than I thought. I thought I’d easily take a couple of weeks or more to get through another 65 e-mails. More parents have been buying “Unlimited E-Mail” packages, so I’m sure that’s part of it. The counter is close to 5,100, now!
I had to take a picture of the 5,000 (see below) and since the 5,000th e-mail has come and gone, I have since given that mom a $25 gift card to Target (her choice). Congratulations to that lucky mom! (Continue reading below)
I thought this was an appropriate time to reflect on The Baby Sleep Site and recognize just how far we, and many of you, have come. 5,000 e-mails represents much more than personalized sleep plans. Of the 5,000, many are personalized plans, but many of them have been support e-mails to help you through a difficult time.
I like to think it isn’t always just the advice in my e-mails that helps you through a difficult time, but it’s my non-judgmental attitude and compassion that sets me apart from other sleep consultants out there. I know that YOU know that you can come back to me even if you didn’t follow one thing I said in my first e-mail and know that I will not say “I told you so” because I know how difficult what you’re going through is.
Why do e-mails work?
I remember one mom saying that family members were very skeptical that a person far away could help via e-mail. It is a “funny” thing. A person across the state, country, and even world, can get to know you in e-mail and offer suggestions to help your baby sleep whom she’s never met (my personal experience helps with that). Truth be told, e-mail doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes a family needs a phone call or a visit to their house (Sorry, I do not do house visits).
In this age of e-mail on cell phones, Blackberries, iPhones, iPads, Facebook, etc., more than ever people are used to communicating electronically. But, one thing that really works with e-mailing someone else about your sleep problems is a) Your family and friends will be sooo happy that you aren’t talking about sleep
anymore as much, because you have someone else to talk to, who never gets tired of talking about baby sleep and b) It holds you accountable. First, it’s not free (anymore — way too much volume, unfortunately!), so if you are willing to pay for something, you are more apt to stick to it. My friend just joined a gym for the same reason: “If I’m paying for it, I better go!” and she’s been going a lot with her husband. Second, there is something to be said about “checking in” with someone and telling them what you’ve tried, what you’ve been doing, and whether you have results. I’m sure that’s why people get personal trainers at the gym. I wouldn’t want to tell Bob the Trainer that I didn’t work out last week, would you? Similar to a gym, if you want to make changes in your life, you need to commit and follow up to look at your results.
When The Baby Sleep Site “opened” (actually first named Pick Nick’s Brain and was changed after a very revealing survey — clever is not always welcomed by tired parents!), I seriously never imagined it would get this “big” (which is all relative because we “only” have 80,000+ visitors per month, so far, not millions…yet). I would not have guessed that in such a short time I’d send over 5,000 e-mails to parents across the globe. Granted, I don’t charge for every e-mail, of course, but to think I’ve touched this many lives is truly inspiring. I receive blessings in e-mail a lot and, for that, I am more thankful than I can express. And, I continue to get e-mails from both clients and readers who never had to buy a thing and tell me how I’ve changed their lives.
Here is an excerpt from one such e-mail:
Hi Nicole, I just wanted to take a few minutes and let you know how valuable your site has been to me. Up until 4 months old, our baby was wonderful when I put her down for bedtime. I would hold her in the rocker, read to her, then sing her to sleep and place her in her crib. But almost overnight, she changed from this easily-lullable baby to one that kept waking up when I put her down—very frustrating. So I searched everywhere on the web and came across your site and your explanation about the 4 month sleep regression. It was much more logical and relate-able than some of the other theories that I came across.
The other thing I found very helpful was the practical advice about managing sleep associations. Before the 4 month sleep regression issue, I kept singing her to sleep because I enjoyed it and it was easy but I would always feel guilty because all the books and websites said that I shouldn’t as it would lead to future problems. Then, when I started to experience problems putting her down, I felt terrible that my lulling and coddling had caused this negative behavior. I liked your rationale better—lulling the baby to sleep is not a problem until it is a problem. I took it as, stop worrying and enjoy it; worry about it when or if it becomes problematic. This was very different from the cautionary message I got from other resources, for example: ‘Don’t do something or it will lead to bad things later’. Those messages always made me feel so guilty. I didn’t want to stop singing her to sleep but was deathly afraid of the consequences and once putting her to sleep became problematic, I blamed myself for being in the predicament that I was in. When I read your explanation about sleep associations, I felt relieved that I wasn’t the world’s worst mother and I hadn’t scarred my baby for life.
Lastly, a lot of the baby resources out there have a very cautionary tone which makes neurotic people like myself worry that if they deviate from the advice, they are doomed and it’s all their fault if their babies go to heck in a handbag. Therefore, I was especially thankful for the non-punitive tone of your articles. As a first time mother, I’m in a constant state of guilt and relieving any guilt is definitely appreciated.
I am very thankful that I’ve been able to succeed in my mission, not just to help babies sleep, but to help parents feel less guilty about doing what your instincts tell you to do. To drive home the fact that your baby won’t become a psychopath or juvenile delinquent if you don’t do things MY way or this book’s way or that doctor’s way. To show you that, together, we will find YOUR way…that way that works for YOU and YOUR baby!
Can I help all babies sleep? Unfortunately, no. I am a realistic person and know my methods aren’t for everyone. I have a great track record, but I’m not a miracle worker, don’t have a crystal ball nor a silver bullet, and there are some limitations to being far away via e-mail. For some, one e-mail just isn’t enough no matter how hard I try, but budgets get in the way. I wish so much that I could help everyone. But, touching lives in a positive way, even if it’s just a percentage of those babies who are struggling is enough for me and more rewarding than I ever imagined.
If you are ready to become one among over 5,000 and help me reach 10,000, please consider my one-on-one personalized sleep consultations today! We really can make a difference.
Stay tuned for much more we are working on here at The Baby Sleep Site! I am thankful you are here for the ride. Reading the parent stories and testimonials page always reminds me of the impact I’ve had on countless families. Thank you for making this site as successful as it is. Without you, there is no The Baby Sleep Site.