When you hear about a Sleep Coach or Consultant, does your mind automatically go to “sleep training”?
It shouldn’t. Let’s change that.
Sleep training with children, is definitely a large part of our profession, but it is only a component. In fact, I prefer to work with expectant parents and offer newborn support for “sleep shaping” because if families are educated about what to expect there is no need to “sleep train” later! In many cases, when I first meet with a family, we quickly find out there is no need to sleep train.
If I could singlehandedly revolutionize the idea of “Sleep Training”, the very first place I would begin is with prenatal education on maternity & newborn sleep, no question. Interestingly, expectant parents are inundated with information on topics ranging from prenatal yoga and packing a hospital bag, to breastfeeding and circumcision, but not the tiniest speck of proper information about what to expect that first night you are home, with regard to sleep.
We are simply told that there won’t be any, once the baby arrives. We are told to “rest up for when the baby comes” (perhaps by someone who has never tried to sleep at the end of a third trimester). We are told to sleep when the baby sleeps. Right. And I’ll cook when the baby cooks, and do laundry when she does too.
For many families, just lying around napping with your baby for several weeks is not a realistic option. Life goes on: Mom or Dad go back to work, Grandparents fly home, and Sisters return to families of their own. This is a good reason (but certainly not the only one!) that establishing healthy sleep habits from day one is supremely important. Simply put… you need to eat, you need to shower, you need to heal, and you most definitely need to rest.
Implementing a few simple things for your baby’s sleep habits now, can truly eradicate the need for any sort of traditional “sleep training” down the road. I promise you, it is far easier to support your baby in learning healthy sleep habits from the beginning, than it is to change unhealthy ones later on.
There is also a difference between Sleep Consulting and Sleep Coaching. The former, is more of a consultant directed plan that is laid out for the family, often for sleep training, whereas Coaching is a more holistic approach and the Coach works together with the family make a less formal “plan” to reach their goals for improved sleep. A good Consultant will be able to offer either option. I do not sleep train babies younger than 4 months. Prior to that, we shape sleep, supporting infants in learning healthy strategies to sleep well with a very gentle approach.
So, the next time someone refers to Sleep Consultants as being here to simply sleep train children, feel free to correct them! We are here to support you in MANY other ways as well.
Have an amazing weekend everyone!