Sleepless in Ottawa is the brainchild of Erin Shaheen, Julia Nichol, and Sarah McIlwham.  After completing their Infant Sleep Education training with Bebo Mia in 2016 the trio wanted to offer easy to find information on normal newborn (and toddler) sleep patterns for expectant and new parents.

Our mission is to support new and expecting parents in feeling empowered and confident in their ability to parent their young children to sleep while respecting both themselves and their children.

Erin, Julia, and Sarah collectively believe that:


  • Babies wake for different reasons
  • Babies are not capable of manipulation
  • There are no ‘bad habits’ for helping a baby to transition to sleep
  • Waking is good; we want babies to wake
  • Being responsive to their sleep needs now sets babies up for a lifetime of healthy sleep
  • You can follow your intuition on what you think your baby needs; your gut is the way to go
  • Your needs during this early parenting time are important too

Our goal is to connect you to your inner parenting instincts, boost your confidence, support you, help you find self-care, normalize sleep, provide research based suggestions, and respect you and your baby in the process! 

We also feel strongly that/in:


  • Sleep should not be looked at in a vacuum, but rather we should try to understand and respect the myriad of impacts/influences on these little lives
  • Truly responsive care when it comes to sleep  
  • Sleep is not linear, and may improve and become more difficult over time
  • Each baby may have different physical, developmental and cognitive factors that cause them to wake and that parenting strategies need to take all of these factors into account
  • We don’t have all the information on our babies yet, they are evolving,  and they do not have the ability to communicate in a clear way to the adults around them therefore empathy and trust is important
  • It is completely normal for babies to eat in the middle of the night until at least age one and often beyond
  • Touch is a basic human need for survival and babies may continue to wake even after they have eaten and have been diapered 

We are here to help normalize the potential difficult phase of nighttime parenting for the first years of your child’s life. We are also here to work with you to come up with strategies that meet your family’s value system to gently nudge sleep in a direction that helps everyone’s needs be met.

Erin, Julia & Sarah hope you find the information that you are looking for here and welcome any questions you might have.