How My Sleepless Toddler Led Me to Co-Found Nessle

How My Sleepless Toddler Led Me to Co-Found Nessle

On a trip to Southern California in the summer of 2021, I put my 21-month old son, Jed, down for a nap in the AirBnb. A few minutes later, as I took a shower, I heard a thud and the pitter-patter of quick footsteps coming toward me. I watched as Jed, fully-enclosed in a sleepsack, shuffled past the bathroom doorway toward the hall. Some choice words ran through my head as I realized this boy could no longer be contained. He had climbed out of the crib. How on earth would we get him to sleep now?

Jed was never a good sleeper. It was challenging to get him to nap as a baby and as he started to vocalize his feelings, it became clear that he never wanted to sleep. However, up until the moment when he realized he could escape his crib, it had been fine. We had sleep-trained him at six months and, although he still fussed for a few minutes when being put down, he knew there was no other option than to go to sleep, so he did. 

Once he escaped the crib, that all changed. We started having to stay with him until he fell asleep or he would relentlessly get out of bed to come get us. In the middle of the night, he would creep into our room impressively silently. I would wake up to the face of an adorable, sleepless child staring at me from a foot away. Simultaneously, his bedtime routine became longer and longer as stalling and tantrums started to creep in. 

This went on for months. My husband and I would take turns getting Jed back to sleep multiple times a night. Then, our daughter was born. Now, I was on nighttime baby feedings, while my husband was on Jed duty. We were all exhausted, irritable and in need of a solution.

I read books and guides and endless forum threads trying to figure out how to get Jed to go to sleep and stay asleep until the morning. We would try different approaches, but oftentimes they just didn’t work with Jed or we wouldn’t do them consistently because we kept second-guessing whether we were doing the right thing. What I really wanted was for someone, who was more knowledgeable than us, to understand our unique boy and tell us what to do. For someone to take away the burden of figuring out what was right and give us the confidence and encouragement to follow through.

We found that in our fabulous sleep consultant, Annastasia. Anna listened to us and learned all about Jed, our routines and our challenges. She gave us an initial set of changes to make and then helped us modify them as we saw how Jed reacted. We no longer had to go at it alone and after a few calls with Anna, Jed went to bed, slept through the night and was an all-around happier boy. 

I truly felt like Anna saved our family from an ongoing mental state that was unsustainable and spiraling downward. So, when I first heard about the idea for Nessle from Co-Founder, Carly Buxton, I felt a deep calling to put my engineering background to work helping other parents find personalized solutions for their parenting challenges like I had. In July, I joined Carly as her Co-Founder and CTO and am so excited to be building the Nessle platform. Parenting my two little-ones has been both the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life. With Nessle, I hope to help other parents find support in taking on the challenges so they can enjoy the rewards that much more.

Michelle C

Michelle is the Co-Founder and CTO of Nessle. As a software engineer and leader at several early-stage startups, she enjoys building new solutions that will make the world a better place.