When babies can’t fall asleep and wake up constantly in the night, it makes new parents crazy with exhaustion and frustration.

To save their sanity — and their marriages — some call in sleep doula Tracey Ruiz.

Ruiz, 39, is also a regular doula who attends births and helps parents postpartum. Eleven years ago, however, she’d only been to one birth — her own Cesarian section with her son.

Then, while pregnant with her daughter, a friend needed a lift to the hospital. Ruiz stayed for the entire labour, holding her hand and talking to her. After the birth, which Ruiz thought was “amazing” the nurse said, “You should be a doula.”

“What? You can get paid to do this?” Ruiz thought. But after her second maternity leave, Ruiz went back to her job at FedEx. A few years later, when the company started a program where it offered sabbaticals, she took one and began training through Doulas of North American.

She never went back, but instead began attending births and helping parents with newborns. “It’s been a great business to grow as my children have grown,” she says.

Ruiz got known for her nighttime post-partum support. Then more and more clients wanted assistance with sleep. So she trademarked the name “The Sleep Doula” four years ago and created a new service.

Today, Ruiz’s Birth Solutions employs ten doulas, four of whom also do sleep (it makes up about 60 per cent of the business).

Some customers sign up for Ruiz’s so-called epidural to sleep training: In-home support. For this, Ruiz shows up at the child’s bedtime. The parents put the baby down awake and Ruiz stays in the room shushing the baby to sleep.

Whenever the little one wakes up, Ruiz is there — lying in front of the crib wrapped in a comforter — to shush and chat the baby back to sleep. On night two, she just shushes. By night three, the parents can do the job.

By the end of the week, parents usually have an excellent sleeper.

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