Saturday, September 18, 2021

Ghislaine Nnaji - AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Ghislaine Nnaji

A Nurturing Approach to Baby Sleep Training


Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

Hi, my name Ghislaine Duhujinema Nnaji. I’m a mom and a wife. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, CA with my husband and our two beautiful young children (a boy and a girl). I grew up in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, and often visited the volcanoes and Gorillas when I was young. In addition to English, I speak French, Kinyarwanda, and Swahili. I pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health at Walden University. I’m a firstborn in a family of five girls. - Yes, only girls! I went to an all-girls school in Rwanda that was known for empowering young girls to be confident, independent, and high achievers. Fun fact about me: When I was in High School I founded an organization called “ Create A Smile” that helped young girls to stay in school, have necessary scholastic and sanitary materials, and be able to graduate from high school. I guess you can now see the pattern here:) I love to lift other women up, to empower them, to make sure that a woman out there is thriving, confident, and able to reach her full potential. For over 10 years, I have been helping new mothers to find effective solutions for their baby’s sleep troubles. I’m a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Founder of The Tantrums No More Program; a two weeks challenge that teaches babies to reach their age-appropriate sleep expectations without - well, throwing tantrums or protesting bedtime:) I have lost count of how many parents I have helped but it all started when I was 12 years old. I would figure out ways to help my much younger sisters to sleep without protesting just so that our mom can get home and rest. It bothered me to see her exhausted with my sisters protesting bedtime that I decided to do something about it. I would try to get them busy, feed them, take them a bath so that when mom gets home, they will be ready to sleep. Of course, in the beginning, I would mess things up and my sisters hated me for that:) They still tease me about it:) The more I tried to make sure that they go to sleep without crying, the better I became at taking care of them especially at bedtime. They eventually were sleeping through the night and would go to bed happy and ready to sleep. I enjoyed it so much that I would volunteer to babysit my cousins and other close family friends. Fast forward, when I moved to the United States, I quickly connected with one of my friend's nephews. They would invite me over and I became like family. One day, when the mom told me about her struggle to get her infant to sleep through the night, I offered to help. Within three days, the baby was sleeping through the night without crying. They were so happy that they told almost every parent they knew. From those parents, I would get recommendations to their friends, sisters, co-workers, neighbors, the list grew so big, here I am.

What inspired you to author your book?

It’s the babies I worked with over the years. We know babies are different. Your first born’s temperament may be completely different from that of your second child. Over the years, I noticed that though babies are different, they all have one thing in common: They all detest change! It’s funny because they are the ones changing every day. You see a baby today crawling, a few weeks after they are standing, few more weeks they are running, talking or have new teeth yet they do not like change. Sleep training is all about change. Changing or adjusting a certain habit to reach a desired sleeping goal. With that said, babies common way to protest that change is unfortunately by crying - which tends to discourage parents. I had to figure out ways to help babies adjust to that “change” (sleep training) without letting them cry for hours to help more moms who are struggling with baby sleep troubles effectively find solutions that work every time.


Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

You know what?  Having worked with many babies, I noticed that babies are fascinated by the moon and stars. And of course, teddy bears are every baby’s best friend. They are cute just as babies, are cuddly, and tend to bring a sense of comfort to babies. I wanted something that babies are familiar with since babies do well with predictability. But it was also a way to empower babies from the very start. My sleep training methods involve various modern ways to raise a confident, empowered, and independent little human. So the stars and the sky tend to be the target when one wishes to achieve higher goals. The cover also incorporates the moon that tends to reflect unconditional love. I hear many parents and their babies say, “I love you to the moon and back.” So it was a combination of those tiny details that babies are familiar with and the meaning behind every character.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

Personally, it is my mom. She taught me the importance of resilience. And this comes in different shapes and forms. The ability to be aware of your weaknesses, learn from them and choose to move past them while focusing on your strengths. We tend to think that being vulnerable is a bad thing. But recognizing a vulnerability can help us figure out a clear plan towards overcoming whatever issue at hand. As a writer, it was all the new mothers. It kept ringing back whenever I was writing. A mom who is strong and capable, then all of sudden hits a wall in a situation that she dearly wants everything to be perfect (the unconditional love). Then the baby keeps crying, can’t sleep, mommy and daddy are exhausted, it can be overwhelming. It is fulfilling when that new mom gets back her rockstar mom attitude, her sanity, confidence, and most of all, she feels fulfilled when her baby is happy, healthy, and well-rested.


What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

It was about figuring out how much or how little I should include. I am a very detail-oriented person. I wanted to be as thorough as possible so that a mom who feels lost can easily follow through with the guide on her own. But I was also aware that that mom is likely very busy, exhausted and the last thing she needs is a long book on the history of sleep, etc. So I had to cut off all the bluffs and go straight to business. To make sure I explain the step-by-step guides, the whys, and strategies to follow at every step and to get the baby to sleep without the mom losing her mind but also, without overwhelming the baby. It was a balance of the above two points.


Tell your readers about your book.

A nurturing Approach to Baby Sleep Training is an honest and realistic guide for new mothers who have tried everything and anything to get their baby to sleep but in vain. It is for parents of babies who are 0 to 3 years old, who need help getting their baby to sleep but don’t know where to start from. It includes real-life experiences and examples, step-by-step guides, obstacles that often make it hard to see results and how to conquer them. It includes scenarios and easy-to-follow ways to troubleshoot every baby sleep trouble situation in a simple yet effective manner. The book has tricks, tweaks, and quick tips to adjusting a baby’s sleeping habit without using the harsh cry-it-out methods that usually leave parents naturally unable to continue since no parent (including me) likes to hear a baby crying for hours. It has worked for first-time moms as well as for second and third-time moms who want a guide that holds their hands throughout the process. The book works on various baby sleep issues, such as eliminating night wakings so that the baby can sleep through the night and yes -without crying. It includes troubleshooting naps, sleep length, night weaning, adjusting schedules according to baby’s age, early morning waking, pacifier dependency, and many more.

Who is your target audience, and why?

The book is for a mom of a 0 to 3 years old baby who feels stuck, tired and desperate for the baby’s restful sleep either during naps, at bedtime, or at night. It is for a mom who is tired of try- ing methods that don’t work, who is ready for an immediate change that the whole family can feel and enjoy.


If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

If you want a guide that holds your hand throughout the way, takes out the overwhelming process of the traditional sleep training methods that often leave parents even more exhausted and confused, a non-judgmental guide that guarantees results, then you need this book. You will be surprised by how much I know your hesitation, your struggles, and ways to fix every baby sleep situation along the way without losing your mind.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

To hear all the stories from parents that I helped get back their sanity, work, career, freedom, marriage, etc. It is rewarding to see babies who were falling behind milestones and now are back on track. Knowing my work makes a positive impact on babies and their mothers from different parts of the world.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

The details! It will be hard to miss a step in this guide. Having experienced it with my young sisters at a young age, conquered it as a mother of two young children, and helped countless exhausted new moms with different baby sleep issues for over ten years, I know the ins and outs of baby sleep training. I understand the frustration and exhaustion that comes with a sleepless night. My tried-and-tested strategy uses gentle approaches that make it easier to see results. It has worked a hundred percent of the time with my clients, and one thing they all say is that it leaves out all the confusion and makes it easy to implement.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I set a reward for myself. - Yes, I do:) There comes the time when you feel stuck or have too many ideas at once. I would go running or do something else, then set a reward for example; of getting a manicure tomorrow if I figure it out today. I noticed that this creates the urgency and motivation to figure it out sooner than later.

What one piece of advice do you have for new authors?

Everyone has a story to tell. That story, idea, or knowledge can help so many people out there. Go for it! Be honest, be real, be you!!! It feels good to realize that my knowledge helps babies thrive in so many ways. Tell your readers anything else you want to share. For every mom who has tried everything but nothing seems to work, this book is for you. If your baby is constantly crying, refusing to take naps, throwing tantrums at bedtime, waking up earlier than usual in the morning, or if your baby frequently wakes up in the middle of the night, this book will help you. I can’t wait to hear your stories. Sweet dreams!