What does a sleep consultant do?

My job is to help parents step back and see what their baby is capable of.  With very few exceptions, babies know how to fall asleep and stay asleep. There are a million ways in which we interfere with this process.  Sleep training is sensitively observing our babies’ and our own behavior and adjusting it to allow babies the space to get back to what comes naturally. Some babies naturally fall asleep when they’re tired. Others need help. Sleep issues arise when we provide too much help too for too long. We can easily miss the window when our little one is capable of settling themselves.

Sleep training does not equal “cry it out”.  Crying may be part of the process, for sure: nobody likes change.  While there may be some crying, there’s a lot more to it than just leaving babies to figure it out on their own.  When we establish a plan for better sleep, we consider and make changes to the schedule, the environment, the routines and most importantly, the mindset.  Parental energy is 99% of the game.

Changing the sleep routine may to be upsetting, confusing or angering. These feelings are ok. It’s possible to be fully present and support a baby’s big feelings with confidence: sending the message that “Yes- I’ve helped you to fall asleep up to now.  Guess what?  You know how to do it on your own! I have confidence in you.”

Hiring a sleep consultant is like hiring a personal trainer.  There are many methods of helping babies learn to sleep independently.  There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.  When choosing a method, we consider the babies’ temperament, the parent’s style, the environment, and scheduling factors. I know a LOT about sleep: I can help you tailor a plan to your needs.  More importantly, I will cheer you on and support you during the process.  I’ll take doubt out of the equation and guide you toward confidence and rest.

Believe it or not, sleep training can be joyful and empowering for both babies and parents.  Having a rested baby who wakes up cooing and smiling and having an evening to be an adult and get well-deserved time to rest is worth some temporary discomfort.

Samantha LaBarbara