We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Olson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Honestly, my only thought whenever I signed up for an online certification to become a sleep consultant was to help parents have a better sleep journey than I did. I was in such a rough, miserable place postpartum after the severe sleep loss we experienced with our first child and I never wanted another family to go through that (or think they had to go through it, like a rite of passage). I wanted parents to feel supported, educated, and confident in their parenting journey. I fully believe in the “village” and want to be part of more parents’ villages.

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Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My story is probably pretty similar to a lot of other sleep consultants– I researched so many things whenever I was pregnant with my first child EXCEPT sleep. Which is really funny looking back because I *love* to sleep. I knew I’d experience some sleep loss (like I would be up to feed a baby a few times a night), but I imagined it being very straight forward and simple: put the baby to sleep, put them in their bassinet, go to sleep myself, wake up to feed every few hours, put baby back down, go back to sleep.

It was very much NOT that. Putting a baby to sleep required more work than I imagined and transferring them without them waking the second they touched the bassinet was straight up impossible. I knew nothing about sleep cues, how long they needed to be awake, or bedtime routines. I honestly just thought they’d go to sleep when they were tired and that would be it.

As you can imagine, we spent months being miserably sleep-deprived. We did the most insane things to try to get that child to sleep and stay asleep, just so we could get a few hours of sleep ourselves. Honestly, we weren’t even being greedy– we didn’t want a whole night. Just something more than 30 minutes without holding a baby. My husband even drove around in a really awful ice storm one night, just so I could have a break.

We were in such a bad place. I knew something had to give. But I didn’t know anything about sleep or sleep training. Everything I read online just said to put your baby down and let them cry it out. Looking back, we probably should have just done that considering the sleep emergency we were in, but my mental health was not going to let me do that. I was hanging on by a thread and listening to baby cry for a potentially long period of time would’ve made us inconsistent and unsuccessful.

My husband ended up buying some sort of e-guide, sending me to bed, and doing the bulk of sleep training himself. It wasn’t perfect, but I was getting decent stretches of sleep finally so I really didn’t care. The bar was SO LOW!

We finally entered a phase where we felt comfortable trying for a second baby but during that pregnancy, I soaked up anything and everything I could about newborn and infant sleep. Let me tell you, that postpartum experience and overall journey with sleep was so different in the best way. A night and day difference to our first.

As a sleep consultant, it can feel like there’s this “us vs them” mentality– the sleep consultants who do strict sleep training and those who claim not to do any sort of sleep training at all. It can be hard for parents to find someone to work with for sleep support for their child that can meet them where they’re at, in a place that isn’t so black and white. In a place that holds space for balance and gives them options they can feel comfortable implementing in order to improve sleep for their child (and themselves).

My whole mission is provide parents with methods that aren’t as straight forward as strict cry it out but also aren’t telling them they just need to live with it, that their child is only this small once, etc. There’s always a middle ground that honors and respects their sleep needs without inducing guilt about their sleep habits or wanting to change those habits for the better.

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Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Eat: Cane Rosso’s, Celebration, HG Sply Co, The Biscuit Bar, Casa Rosa
Drink: Bourbon and Banter, La La Land,
Visit: King Spa or Spa Castle, Klyde Warren Park, The Adolphus Tea Room, NorthPark, Deep Ellum, The Arboretum
Hang out: Game Theory, Dallas Farmer’s Market, Top Golf, Axe Throwing

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The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have two people that stand out as huge supporters– the first is my team member Jenna. I met her when my second child was 6 weeks old and her first child was 5 weeks old. They were born within days of each other. We met online and learned we lived close by and decided to take a chance on meeting up. She was much like me with my first child and didn’t know a whole lot about sleep so she was really struggling. I did everything I could to pass on my knowledge about baby sleep and she would frequently tell me “you should start a business, you need to help more people.” And I brushed her off for about 6 months. She was the first one I told I was applying to a certification course and the first one I told when I was accepted. She’s been there from the very beginning and joined my team in 2021 after having her second child.

The second person is my best friend, Lauren. She was not in the same season of life I was whenever I started my business, having older children, and even though she didn’t need any help with her children’s sleep, she was always the first one to shout my name from the rooftops. She cheered me on, prayed for me, shared all of my posts, and attended events with me for moral support. Everyone needs a Lauren in their life!

Website: https://www.heavensentsleep.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/heavensentsleep

Facebook: https://facebook.com/heavensentsleep

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Image Credits
Amber Tice Photo

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.