What is a Baby Sleep Consultant or Child Sleep Consultant?
The most basic answer is a sleep consultant is someone with knowledge of baby and child sleep who shares their knowledge with other people. Some consultants may be self taught and rely on their reading and parenting experience while others have been through a training and certification program.
Some certification programs teach their graduates one proprietary method of sleep training and others teach their graduates a variety of methods. The most important criteria your consultant needs to meet is understanding the “why” behind their recommendations. They should understand how sleep works and why they recommend what they recommend. An equally important criteria is that your consultant is a good fit for your family. If your sleep consultant is versed in a variety of techniques, they should be able to work with you to find the best fit for you and your child.
I love working with families to improve their child’s sleep, and was trained by the Family Sleep Institute.
Why Use a Child Sleep Consultant?
Great question! As a certified infant and child sleep consultant, it is my job to provide education, encouragement, and support on your journey to improve your child’s sleep. We will work together to ensure you have the tools you need to succeed.
Is sleep training possible without the assistance of a sleep consultant? Absolutely! Many parents sleep train on their own and their children become fabulous sleepers. If this is you, I hope you take advantage of my resource page to find tips and tricks to support you in your efforts.
Other parents desire the education, support, and encouragement that comes from working with a sleep consultant. If this is you, check out my support offerings and see what is the best fit for your family!
Isn’t Sleep Training Just Crying It Out?
This is one of the most common myths I hear regarding sleep training. Many people think sleep training = cry it out. In reality, there is so much more involved. Sleep training is simply setting a child up for sleep success. The cry it out method (extinction), popularized by pediatrician Dr. Marc Weissbluth in his book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is indeed one way to sleep train (and works well for many children and families), but is most definitely not your only option.
Other common methods include a modified version of cry it out known as graduated extinction, timed checks, or Feberizing. This method was popularized by pediatrician Dr. Richard Ferber in his book Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems and also has worked well for many children and families. There are also other popular methods, including the chair method, pick up/put down, and fading.
Choosing the best method for you and your child depends on your parenting style, your child’s personality, and your timeline. The more gradual the method, the longer it takes to reach your goals.
Perhaps even more important than the method you chose to use is making sure that your child’s bedroom has an optimal sleep environment and that their schedule is age-appropriate and aligned with their natural body clock. We will cover all of this in your consultation!
Will My Child Cry?
Great question! No parent likes to hear their child cry. However, crying is not always a bad thing. For pre-verbal children, crying is their method of communicating displeasure. When you decide to sleep train, you have decided to change something about your child’s sleep situation. Because people are by nature creatures of habit (babies too!), most likely your baby won’t love the change, no matter how small. He or she will communicate this displeasure to you by crying. The important thing to remember is that you will be encouraging and supporting your child as you navigate this change together. Your child will most likely need to learn a different way of falling asleep and there will be ups and downs along the way. Consider it like any other skill your child will learn – you wouldn’t carry them the rest of their lives because they stumbled once while learning to walk. Instead you would wipe their tears and encourage them as they stand back up and try again. Sleep works the same way! You’ll be right there as your child’s biggest cheerleader, knowing that the hard parts of learning a new way of sleeping will pay off in the end.
What Ages Do You Work With?
I work with children from newborn through 5 years of age, and also work with expectant parents preparing for their new baby.
Newborn through 3 months: I will work with you to create a healthy sleep foundation and set the stage for independent sleep. I do not recommend formal sleep training at this age, but there are several things we can do to set you up for future success.
4 months through 5 months of age: I will work with you to start developing independent sleep habits and the basis of a sleep-friendly schedule. Babies at this age are still developing adult-like sleep cycles and while many will quickly learn to sleep independently, others are not yet ready for sleep training and would benefit from waiting until closer to 6 months of age. A good nap schedule will likely take several weeks to fall into place.
Six months through 5 years of age: We will work together to solve all of your child’s sleep struggles!
How Long Does Sleep Training Take?
I wish I could give you an exact answer! Each child is unique. Some children adapt quickly to change while others are slower to adjust. Furthermore, some sleep problems are quicker fixes than others.
Also, some methods of sleep training tend to produce quicker results than others. Perhaps most importantly, I cannot overstate how important parental consistency is to sleep training success.
Most of the time there will be noticeable improvement within 1-2 weeks for nighttime struggles and 2-4 weeks for naps.
Do You Guarantee Success?
I wish I could! I guarantee that I will provide you the best education, support, and encouragement that I can. But ultimately you are the one in your home with your child and the one managing their sleep. How you chose to use the education and support provided is up to you! I will be your biggest cheerleader, but you are the player on the field. Go team!