Jessica Petrus Aird is a dual-certified pediatric sleep consultant and postpartum doula. She owns Burgeoning Bud Postpartum where she helps families eat, sleep, and be well in postpartum and beyond. As mother of three children under five, she currently walks the path of raising young children along with her clients and is known for her empathic, insightful, and practical support. With her background in education, she meets families where they are by giving them realistic and action-oriented steps to work on whatever challenges they are facing. Yoga and Mindfulness
Jessica is also a classically-trained soprano and spent years traveling as a soloist and ensemble musician around the country and internationally. Today she draws on her backgrounds in music and education as she finds her voice helping families in creative and lasting ways.Yoga and Mindfulness
Website: Burgeoning Bud
Facebook Group: Sleep Well, Eat Well, Be Well: Burgeoning Bud Postpartum
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On this podcast, I’ll be discussing the business side of sleep consulting. You’ll have an insider’s view on launching, growing, and even scaling a sleep consulting business. This is not a podcast about sleep training. This is a podcast about business building and entrepreneurship.
Jessica is a dual-certified pediatric sleep consultant and postpartum doula. She owns Burgeoning Bud Postpartum where she helps families eat, sleep, and be well in the postpartum and beyond. As a mother of three children under five, she currently walks the path of raising young children along with her clients and is known for her empathic, insightful, and practical support. With her background in education, she meets families where they are by giving them realistic and action-oriented steps to work on whatever challenges they are facing.
Jessica is also a classically-trained soprano and spent years traveling as a soloist and ensemble musician around the country and internationally. Today she draws on her background in music and education as she finds her voice helping families in creative and lasting ways.
Jayne Havens: Jessica, welcome back to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. I can’t wait to have this conversation with you today.
Jessica Petrus Aird: Thank you for having me back. It’s very exciting to be here.
Jayne Havens: As always. On this episode, I think the plan is to talk about how you bring elements of teaching yoga and mindfulness into your work as a sleep consultant, which, by the way, I think is really fascinating. I’m wondering how long have you been a yoga instructor. Are you teaching mindfulness separately, or is that just all integrated into one big thing? What does that look like for you?
Jessica Petrus Aird: Yeah, my work as a Pretzel Kids yoga and mindfulness teacher started during the pandemic. It really was geared for helping school-aged children, because my other work is that I teach music privately to students for both piano and voice. And so I noticed during the pandemic that because those students were — thankfully, we were still able to see each other virtually. But I just saw what was happening to even these kids virtually that I was seeing on a weekly basis that they were feeling just very stifled. There wasn’t a lot of movement happening. There was a lot of anxiety. It was a very nerve-wracking time. They were spending a lot of time on Zoom passively sitting and receiving information.
I had this opportunity come along to become certified with it for Pretzel Kids. And I did it during that pandemic time. Pretty much, the majority of the time that I’ve since had that certification, a lot of it was done virtually. This was like 2020, working on out school and teaching yoga classes for some as young as preschool and some as old as 17. So it’s a nice wide range that the certification gives you. I then did a further course with that program that focused just on the mindfulness. Because I found that a lot of parents were specifically asking for more mindfulness help and meditation. And so I would offer some yoga classes, and then I would also offer just some mindfulness exercises and mindfulness classes.
Jayne Havens: And so what does it look like for you to bring all of this together? How does your practice of teaching yoga and mindset work seep into your work as a sleep consultant?
Jessica Petrus Aird: Even though the age groups that I typically see as a sleep consultant are younger than school-aged children — like I said, preschool is the beginning of where we would be teaching yoga and mindfulness. So when I am working with families for that same age group, two to five, then it’s very easy to transfer.
“Hey, I would literally teach this in my preschool yoga class. You could try this little breath exercise, or you could try this little visualization game with them.” And I literally write that right into the plan. Parents like that because you don’t have to be like a very experienced yogi or a super enlightened person at all. In fact, the games are just kind of fun for anybody. They help parents have a little bit of that mindful moment themselves while they’re getting to play this little game with their preschooler.
If it’s for a younger child like a baby or a newborn, then while we’re not going to necessarily play the specific games, I’m still going to draw on the importance of breath. Really, it’s more I think about managing parents’ triggers with the crying. I use a lot of the breath exercises, the different pranayama exercises that we might teach in the classes. I’ll teach them those different ways of using different breath each time.
We’ll talk about, okay, if it’s going to be five minutes or six minutes that you’re going to be waiting within check in, if you’re going to do a check in console or however long it’s going to be, what can you do in that amount of time for yourself so that you’re not just focusing in and feeling that white knuckle torture of hearing your child’s scream? So it just kind of helps parents focus on help manage themselves while they’re going through that really difficult training.
Jayne Havens: Do you find that all parents are open and willing to this? I just wonder if some families are either embarrassed to open themselves up to taking a moment to learning some breathwork? I think for some people, it feels silly. If you’ve never done it before, it feels uncomfortable. Do you find that all of your clients are really open to doing this? And if not, I imagine you just say like, “Okay. No worries.” Do you have strategies to really help them center themselves and calm in a maybe more informal way?
Jessica Petrus Aird: I’d have to say I haven’t yet met somebody who has said, “I feel uncomfortable doing that.” And so I think it’s a lot of the messaging that I’m doing beforehand and the way that I’m kind of packaging who I am. In fact, I get people — I have a Facebook group, and I talk a lot about this aspect, this general philosophy to how I approach sleep training or really a parenting philosophy more or less. People would then come to me saying they want to work with me because they just like the energy that I have. So I guess I’ve already sold them on the idea because they feel like however I’m going to lead them is going to be the way that they want to be led through this process.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, and you actually led me right into my very next point, which was that I was sort of thinking that when I think about all of the sleep consultants that go through the Center for Pediatric Sleep Management — but I think this is across the board, regardless of where you train — I see a lot of sleep consultants struggle with how to present themselves in a unique and interesting way, having a certain angle or perspective that sets them apart from others in the industry. I’m wondering if this is something that you consciously thought about, or it just sort of naturally happened for you.
Jessica Petrus Aird: Both, because I’ve always got multiple threads happening in my life. But it’s very satisfying when I can find a way to tie them together. So I didn’t become a sleep consultant because I was like, “Oh, I can immediately draw on my mindfulness and my music backgrounds.” I really was excited about this field and excited about what was possible and fascinated by the transformation that I experienced with my own son after working with a sleep consultant.
It wasn’t until really passing the course and it’s off the ground that I realized these other elements would really work very nicely in this. And you’re right. I think it’s a big part of how we build a successful and sustainable business. It’s to be our authentic selves. Of course, that feels really overwhelming at times. Because how can my ‘personal me’ be my ‘professional me’? And so over time, you just find the elements that you feel like they are you. And I can pull that in to my professional work so that it speaks to the uniqueness, I guess, of how I’m going to do it.
Jayne Havens: I think in watching you grow your business — and I know that you’re growing your business in a lot of interesting and different directions. You don’t just have one thing that you’re doing. But if there’s one common thread that I see within your work and your messaging, it really is that you have developed this authentic sense of self. You really do seem to know exactly who and what you are putting out into the universe.
That’s something that I think, not everybody has that. Not everybody understands what their strengths are. Not everybody understands how to present themselves in a way that separates them from competitors. I think what you’re doing is you’re not even separating yourself from your competitors. You’re creating this unique thing that you do that maybe nobody else is doing it all.
You’re creating your own language, your own methodology, your own process. That, yes, you are supporting parents through sleep training, but you’re not just a sleep consultant. You’re this person that’s doing all of these interesting things packaged up in a way that yields a certain result along with a certain feeling during the process, which I think is super cool.
Jessica Petrus Aird: Yeah, thanks. I think it also stems from the fact that I’m not motivated by competition. Some might be, and that’s fine. It’s never been something that I think that if I was trying to make myself fit into this box, that this is what a sleep consultant is and what they do, I probably wouldn’t be able to stick around with it. I’d probably get frustrated. I don’t know what that says about me but—
Jayne Havens: No, I actually think that’s a really healthy mindset if you’re not motivated by competition. I think that so many people struggle with that, not just as sleep consultants but in all fields, in all professions. And maybe women even do this more than men. I’m not sure. But we’re all, I think, a little bit programmed to look around and see what everybody else is doing. And if you’re not hung up on that, which is a really beautiful thing, by the way, then what is driving you? What is motivating you if it’s not the competitive nature of growing a business?
Jessica Petrus Aird: Yeah, I think we all have our different why’s. And maybe the why is to be financially independent. I’m not going to argue with the entrepreneurial side of me. I love growing a business. I love imagining what’s possible there, but I’m not just in a business to make money. That isn’t satisfying enough of an end goal for me.
Jayne Havens: What is it for you that pushes you every single day to get out there and work on this if it’s not the competition, which I love that it shouldn’t be the competition? But what is it that makes you get excited to work on this every single day?
Jessica Petrus Aird: I think it’s being able to see that every family is a unique family. I have a lot of random, different threads of knowledge and I’m not going to give everybody all of those threads of knowledge. I’m going to find the ones in each different field that I’ve been in and really, truly cater them to that person, because I think they will be receptive to that. I think it’s that creative approach that is really satisfying to me, especially if it makes a difference. If we see great improvement, I see them happy, I see them empowered, then it’s like, well, this was a big win.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I really love that. As I’m listening to you talk, I’m thinking like I really hope so many sleep consultants are listening to this. I hope that our CPSM community is listening to this. I hope that sleep consultants, wherever they were trained, are listening to this. Because it’s really such a lightbulb moment, I think, in your career to have the realization that you can do things in a way that works for you, both financially but also just for the happiness factor.
You have to show up in your business and in your work in a way that makes you want to come back tomorrow. And if you’re not doing it in a way that makes you want to come back tomorrow, it’s going to be really hard to be successful long term. You have to figure out a way to show up in a way that makes you feel good, I think.
Jessica Petrus Aird: Absolutely. Everybody has unique talents to offer. I might have chosen a unique combination of things to put together, but I think everybody has the capacity to choose unique, interesting things to fuse in with their work. So don’t be afraid to try that out. The worst that could happen is that, yeah, like you said, somebody might say, “This feels silly. This isn’t for me, and I wouldn’t want to do that.”
In which case, I’d say okay, fine. Let’s not do that. Maybe I would draw on my music background then and say like, what do you think about putting more music into the field? Or, what is your interest? Maybe there’s a way we can bring your work or your interests into this so that you feel really empowered and connected to this. So it’s not just this dry plan that you feel like everybody has to do. You can personalize it too.
Jayne Havens: I want to say, for those who are listening, I don’t think you need to necessarily be multi-talented to have this type of successful outcome in your sleep consulting business where you’re integrating yoga and music and mindfulness.
If I think about my strengths as a sleep consultant and how I’m separating myself from others who are doing something similar, I always talk about a lot of sleep consultants are really afraid of the crying. A lot of sleep consultants will sort of market themselves as like a “no cry” sleep solution or, like, I will coach you through sleep training without cry it out.
I sort of lean into the crying, not that I want babies crying on my watch. But part of what I do is coach parents to understand why crying is okay. That has been my angle. There are all these people out there telling you that they’re going to get your baby to sleep without any crying. And honestly, I kind of think they’re not being truthful. I think that that’s a bunch of smoke and mirrors.
And so here I am being straight with you. You get on a call with me, and you say, “Are we going to have to cry it out?” Then that’s when I get onto my soapbox. I educate them on why they’re feeling the way that they’re feeling about the crying, and how I’m going to help them to understand that their child crying is not problematic in the way that they’re feeling that it’s problematic, and that we’re going to work on helping them to listen to their child and understand their communication and hold space for those big feelings, and still support your child as they’re having a hard time learning something new. These are all the things that I talk about all the time.
I don’t do yoga. I don’t have mindfulness. I don’t have that in my back pocket, but I can coach somebody to understand that it’s really important for them to learn how to listen to their baby’s communication, in a way that I think a lot of people are afraid to do in this business. That, I think, is my angle. Maybe I have a few, but that’s one of them right off the top of my head.
So for those who are listening to this, I don’t think that you have to be multi-talented, or multi-faceted, or have all of these other skills and trainings that you need to morph together. I think you just need to show up authentically in a way where you can speak confidently about what you’re going to do, how you’re going to support parents at the highest level, and how you’re going to get them results in a way that works for them.
Jessica Petrus Aird: Absolutely. Yeah, totally. I love that about you and your approach. That’s always been very clear to me that it was a straight shooter approach and an honest approach, but a very supportive and honest approach.
Jayne Havens: And it’s not for everybody, right? When I was listening to you talk about the breath work, I actually really enjoy breath work so I’m not here to knock it. But I definitely have been in a room, I’ve been in a yoga studio with people who chuckled through it and think that it’s awkward or funny or uncomfortable. I’m sure that that must happen from time to time.
And if I were hiring a sleep consultant, I don’t know that I would be the one that would want to be breathing through my sleep training in that way. It wouldn’t necessarily be for me. But that’s the beautiful thing about this: that I’m going to attract a certain clientele, and you’re going to attract an entirely different clientele. And we both can have really successful businesses doing what feels right and what feels like ourselves, like truly authentic to us.
Jessica Petrus Aird: Yeah, well, I don’t know what it’s like where you are. But I do think we have here in the Boston area a lot of very educated families, a lot of very gentle parenting, attachment parenting kind of styles. I think there’s sometimes some confusion about what that really means, which I also talk about in my messaging and my group.
But maybe the mindfulness is kind of a nice way for parents to feel like this is still going to feel gentle, or this is still going to feel very — we’re not just going to superimpose this whole plan on my kid. But I don’t promise no crying. I’m the same way with you in that way. I’m just going to help you find some tangible ways to manage that. We can talk through it, but it’s still going to be hard.
I think it’s also valid to think about your market and think about, okay, if there’s such anti-sleep training attitude based on the big majority of parenting styles that you have in your market, how can you talk to them in a way that still feels like you’re honoring what you believe and helps them in a way that you’re comfortable with?
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think that’s so good. We’re all figuring it out in our own way, and it looks entirely different for so many of us. That’s what’s so amazing. As my grandfather, who’s no longer living, he always used to say there’s an ask for every seat. So if you’re not a good fit for me, maybe that person is a good fit for you and vice versa. There are so many different personalities and so many different dynamics going on in households, and friend groups, and Facebook communities that, really, there’s room I think for all of us to thrive, as long as we can figure out how to communicate our value in a way that is somewhat authentic to ourselves.
Jessica Petrus Aird: Yeah, absolutely.
Jayne Havens: Love it. Let’s leave it at that. That was awesome. Where can everybody learn more from you if they’d like to connect with you, whether that be on the internet or elsewhere?
Jessica Petrus Aird: My business is Burgeoning Bud, www.burgeoningbud.com. But you’ll probably most frequently find me showing up on my Facebook group, which is Sleep Well, Eat Well, Be Well: Burgeoning Bud Postpartum. Yep, that’s a group I try to post in pretty regularly. And I would love to have anybody there interested.
Jayne Havens: Perfect. I am going to include all of that information in the show notes. I encourage you all to connect with Jessica. She’s brilliant and thoughtful and kind and just a great person to have in your corner. So thank you for being willing to chat with me today. We’ll do it again soon.
Jessica Petrus Aird: Thank you, Jayne.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, it would mean so much to me if you would rate, review, and subscribe. When you rate, review, and subscribe, this helps the podcast reach a greater audience. I am so grateful for your support.
If you would like to learn more about how you can become a certified sleep consultant, head over to my Facebook Group, Becoming a Sleep Consultant or to my website thecpsm.com. Thanks so much, and I hope you will tune in for the next episode. Yoga and Mindfulness