ELKO — Nursing a newborn back to sleep several times a night and napping with the baby during the day worked fine for mother of two Siri Barkdull — at first.
“Then, I went back to work, and everything seemed to fall apart,” Barkdull said.
A long pattern of waking up multiple times allowed Barkdull to get only four or so hours of sleep per night, and the tiredness started to affect her family relationships.
“Needless to say, my exhaustion was cumulative,” she said. “I had no memory of ever being so constantly sleep-deprived in my entire life.”
That’s when Barkdull called Brittney Stefanic, a local certified pediatric sleep consultant, for help.
Stefanic launched her business, Brittney Stefanic Sleep Consulting, in late August after attending training in Florida through The Sleep Sense Program, developed by sleep expert Dana Obleman. As a first-time mom, Stefanic discovered the program when she needed sleep solutions for her son, Lincoln, who is now 15 months old.
“I liked that it was gentle,” she said, describing how she would not have felt comfortable letting her son cry himself to sleep. “I also liked that it outlined what to do ‘if’ …. It gave us a concrete roadmap to follow.”
Following the program’s step-by-step process that accounts for “what-if” scenarios, Stefanic said she saw results in her own son’s sleep right away.
“Night two was the night for us,” she said, giving two thumbs up to indicate that Lincoln slept through the night.
When the opportunity arose for Stefanic to get certified as a sleep consultant through the program that worked so well for her and her family, it was the perfect combination of her education and experience to allow her to serve the Elko community and beyond.
Stefanic has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Colorado and master’s degree in science education from the University of Texas. She has lived in Nevada for more than four years after moving here to be with her husband, JJ, who works for Newmont Mining Corp. Stefanic has eight years of classroom experience, most recently teaching alternative adult education through Spring Creek High School.
“This path for sleep consulting has blended my science background and my interest in educating families in a nice way,” she said, emphasizing that she does not offer medical advice but provides support customized to each family.
The program emphasizes educating parents about how to get their children to sleep through a strategic process. Starting with an evaluation call, Stefanic learns about the situation including the child’s age, sleep patterns and the effect of those patterns on the family. A questionnaire helps the sleep consultant learn even more so she can create a customized plan, which varies based on the individual families and goals. Next, during an in-person or virtual meeting, Stefanic outlines the plan that can take as little as a week to accomplish, and she follows up with the family to ensure accountability.
“With Brittney’s help, parents will learn to stop arguing about how to deal with their tired baby or toddler, develop a plan they can implement together, and regain their connection as a couple and a family,” Obleman said.
For Barkdull, The Sleep Sense Program did just that.
“Brittney immediately made me feel at ease, and I instantly felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. She designed a thorough sleep plan for our family, and it worked,” she said. “This process has been empowering for my husband because he is able to help and be part of the night time routine. … It was with Brittney’s support and knowledge that our life changed.”
Brittney Stefanic Sleep Consulting has programs for newborns, toddlers and children up to age 12. Stefanic also offers upgraded services including half or all-night’s stays, group counseling and public speaking.
“The lack of sleep is stressful, so this should be the solution,” Stefanic said. “All babies have the ability to sleep. We just have to teach them that skill.”