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About Dr. Evans

Family Stairs - CopyI’ve worked in the field of sleep medicine for 10 years now. I have my PhD, ALM (master’s degree) and am also a registered polysomnographic technician, which is the technical certification for being able to score sleep studies with electrodes. My “day job” is as a research fellow in the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where I study everything from astronauts to insomnia. I love my day job, but I also love doing sleep consultations. I love teaching families about the biology behind sleep problems, so that parents can feel confident about what they are doing to fix those problems. Whether it takes a week or a few months, it’s so fulfilling to be a part of teaching a baby to sleep through the night or take a nice, restful nap. I also love learning about each family’s situation – we don’t know why we sleep, isn’t that crazy? I think babies are the key to learning why we sleep and every baby I work with teaches me a little more about the development of sleep. It’s really amazing.

I have two boys, Graham is 3.5 and Teague is the baby who was born in September 2010. Graham was six weeks early, which was shocking for me. When Graham was born we quite literally had nothing ready for a baby; no crib, no gear, nothing! We stopped at Babies R Us on the way to the hospital with him to buy a car seat and he wore a hospital kimono home. I had a lot of catching up to do and just never got myself off the ground making a sleep plot for him. It was something that I wanted to do, but I was so overwhelmed being a new mom that I just didn’t do it. My goal with Teague is to plot his sleep for at least the first year, both as an exercise for me and as a way of sharing his sleep story with other parents who might be wondering what is normal and how to navigate some of the challenges that we all experience.

My parenting style isn’t very well defined. I like to think of us as a ‘go with the flow’ kind of family. I take whatever elements of different parenting styles feel right at a given time. I don’t fully practice attachment parenting, yet I wear my kids, have been co-sleeping by choice and am planning to nurse Teague for a year (as I did with Graham). On the other hand, I’m obviously very sleep focused and when I feel that the time is right to make changes in Teague’s pattern and habits I’ll do it, even if that means that he cries. If it doesn’t feel right I’ll use a different method. Right now, I really don’t know what will happen, but I’ll let Teague guide me.

Writing this blog doesn’t mean that what our family is doing is right for everyone; actually, please don’t try to model your child’s sleep after mine. Every baby and family situation is so different and it’s really important to do what is right for your baby and your family. Think of our story as an interesting case study. I’ll do my best to compare Teague’s sleep to the “average” for his age, so that you will know when he is way off. I’ll also do my best to address common problems by age as we go along even if he isn’t experiencing a given problem.

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Comments»

1. Christian Lima - September 4, 2011

I’ve enjoyed your first few posts that I’ve read, and I’ll enjoy following with your family over time. As both a Family Physician who works with adulst and children with sleep issues every week and as a new parent, I’m finding your experiences and insights very helpful. Keep up the good work!

2. Gary Evans - September 5, 2011

Thus far, this has been a fascinating tale of Teague’s development. I hope you are able to keep it going and look forward to your analyses if his growth. Thanks, Erin, for sharing this.

3. Connie - September 8, 2011

This is going to be such a huge help for parents. To have a sleep specialist posting methods will be such a valuable tool. As one who has been privileged to teach some parenting classes our our church and believes good, patterned rest for children is a huge benefit to them in terms of having an easier time learning, growing, and obeying their parents, I’m happy you’re doing this. Well fed, well rested babies are generally happy babies. God bless you, Erin.

4. Top Harvard Sleep Doctor Weighs In On the Best Products To Get Your Baby To Sleep | mamajamas mom - March 18, 2014

[…] we called Erin Evans, desperate, yet a little skeptical. But she was incredibly warm, empathetic (she’s a mom […]


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