You know, the answer to “Do you need a baby sleep consultant” isn’t an always a YES. Some parents really don’t need to use a baby sleep coach.
However, I realize that since I actually am a Certified Gentle Baby Sleep Coach, and consider this my profession, I may need to go the extra mile here to emphasize my honesty.
*placing my hand on a Bible*
Heather, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Okay friends, this is completely unrelated, but as I was writing this post, I couldn’t get this Three Stooges sketch out of my mind. 🙂
What Exactly Is a Baby Sleep Consultant?
Some professions are easy to understand:
- Firefighter = person who fights fires
- Businessman = person who does business
- Salesman = person who volunteers to clean all my carpets, proceeds to show me how gross my floors are, and then leaves having sold me a Kirby vacuum that BY GOLLY will suck up a bowling ball when I need it to. #realmomproblems
Other professions aren’t so obvious.
When I say I’m a “Baby Sleep Consultant” the noise usually ushered forth sounds suspiciously like Tim Allen’s grunt on Home Improvement.
I almost always have to tack on this explanation:
I teach parents how to get their baby to fall, and stay, asleep.
A professional sleep coach does that by…
- analyzing sleep logs and health histories
- talking with parents to identify patterns
- referring parents to doctors when a possible medical condition is spotted
- using our MASSIVE CRANIUMS stuffed with knowledge to cherry-pick behavioral methods that we can present to parents for input.
But do you really need our massive craniums stuffed with knowledge?
You Don’t Need a Baby Sleep Consultant If…
- You don’t have a baby. (Covering all my bases here, people.)
- You have a baby, but he’s a champion sleeper and you really should be writing a book on sleep strategies, not reading this article.
- Your baby isn’t a sleeping champion, but you feel like it’s liveable. You can manage.
- Your baby is a sleeping disaster, but you’ve got a few ideas in your pocket to try.
Sometimes you can use a bandaid at home to patch things up. Sometimes, though, you need more than a bandaid.
Sometimes, you need a professional to make realistic recommendations on how to heal what’s broken.
You Do Need a Baby Sleep Consultant If…
- Your child has a singular sleeping issue, but you just can’t seem to get beyond it no matter what you try (i.e. napping, nighttime feedings, etc.).
- Your child has numerous sleeping struggles you’d like to see fixed: co-sleeping, falling asleep by himself, napping, sleeping through the night, self-soothing, etc., etc.
- You’ve tried to do some coaching before, but didn’t like the method you were using (usually it’s Cry-It-Out), and need something else to try.
- You’ve used LOTS of methods before, and now whenever you try to do anything he screams like he’s in a horror film.
- You’ve not used any coaching methods before, but you’re not sure which methods would be a good fit for your baby and your parenting style.
- Your child is over 5 months, the doctor says he doesn’t need nighttime feedings, and you’re still waking multiple times a night for feedings and cuddles.
If you fit in one of these categories, Amy and I would love to work with you. We are both Certified Gentle Sleep Coaches, with a lot of knowledge and experience tucked into our belts.
If you have a single struggle you just need a little guidance, sign up for some professional help and let a coach spend time with you individually and help you create an effective sleep plan to implement on your own.
How Will You Overcome Your
Saga of No Sleep?
If you decide to go the DIY route, and tackle some of these sleeping issues on your own, let me offer a few suggestions:
- Keep a sleep log. Writing down the times he goes to bed, when he wakes, how long he sleeps, etc. Then look for sleep patterns. Is he overtired at bedtime? Does he need a third nap?
- Be consistent. The more consistent you are, the faster your baby will start to understand what’s going on. The more inconsistent you are, the more tears you’ll get.
- Don’t start too early. Don’t try to sleep coach before 22 weeks (minimum). His internal schedule isn’t fully developed and you’ll get a LOT more tears. If your baby is younger than 22 weeks, a good coach will show you several sleep shaping methods that can make sleep coaching unnecessary later on!
If you decide to gain a partner in this Sleep Saga, make sure that money is invested in the right type of baby sleep consultant:
Make Sure She’s Certified.
The Gentle Sleep Coaching Certification program is by far the best and most comprehensive in the business. Here’s why a certification really matters in terms of your baby’s sleep safety and health.
Make Sure She Knows More Than One Method.
Your baby is unique. If she can’t give you several methods to choose from (since you know your baby best), look elsewhere.
Make Sure She’s Been Trained to Spot Medical Conditions
Does she know enough to refer you back to your doctor about a possible medical condition? Trying to fix a sleeping issue that’s caused by a medical issue (like childhood sleep apnea, reflux, or other issues), is going to lead nowhere but frustration and hopelessness.
Make sure your consultant knows the signs of various conditions and can refer you back to your doctor for a full checkup (with a list of questions to ask!) to make sure there’s nothing else going on.
Make Sure She Has a Back-Up Team
Amy and I never get stuck with our clients, because we can sit down with author and childhood sleep expert Kim West (aka The Sleep Lady) to get her 25+year experience on any challenging cases.
You don’t want your baby sleep consultant to hit a snag and leave you in the lurch! What’s her back-up plan? How will she find a solution if (when?) your unique baby gets her stumped?
Think of us as the Ace up your sleeve. Your secret weapon of sleeping success. We are HERE when you need us!
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