Making the decision to make changes in your families sleep habits can be exciting, scary, and overwhelming. Here are some frequently asked questions about sleep coaching and working with a Certified Sleep Consultant.
Every family is ready to begin sleep coaching at different times. I often get asked "How do I know my baby is ready for sleep training" and my answer is whenever sleep is causing stress to you. If sleep is stressful in the form of frequent night wakings or if it is really difficult to get your baby to sleep then it might be time for you. All experts have a different idea of when it is safe to sleep train but most agree that once a baby is 4 months of age and at least 16 lbs they are developmentally ready to go through sleep training. I recommend waiting until 5+ months as this allows your baby to go through the 4 month sleep regression and be more ready. At this age they have developed the hormones needed to regulate a healthy sleep cycles and they are able to achieve longer stretches of sleep to benefit their overall sleep health. It is always best to speak with your child's physician or pediatrician to ensure that they are developmentally ready to begin a sleep plan if you have any doubts.
This is a very debated question for many caregivers as even 'experts' don't agree on this topic. I personally do not like to place any baby into a mold of being able to do anything at a specific time. Every baby is unique and meet developmental milestones such as sleeping through the night when it is best for their body. I do feel that there are healthy ranges for how many night wakings are appropriate at each age and follow these suggestions when composing a sleep plan. There are many factors that contribute to a baby waking in the night and it is important to find the balance between meeting your baby's needs and reaching healthy sleep goals.
I work with newborns and toddlers up until age 5. Typically I am open to children who are older if this is requested. Although sleep coaching is not recommended for infants younger than 4 months of age there are a number of sleep foundations that I can work on with young infants to pave the road for healthy sleep. These include establishing healthy routines, discussing changes in sleep patterns, work with appropriate bedtimes, develop healthy environments that are conductive to sleep, and much more. I believe that establishing a healthy framework early on can increase chances of sleep success in the future. My blog "A Guide To Newborn Sleep" is a great resource to start with if you have a new baby!
* After receiving an inquiry from you I will respond with some questions to learn more about your situation. This information allows me to guide you in the right direction for what service might be best. In many cases I am able to offer some suggestions to try first before jumping into a full package. We want to choose a service that works best for your family.
* Once a package is decided on and payment is received I will send you Nurturing Sleep Solutions Family Intake Form. This form allows you to go into detail about sleep disruptions so that we can make all of the necessary changes that will improve sleep. From here we will also schedule our first consultation whether in home, phone/skype, or email where we will go through this form in great detail and work on a plan.
* You will then receive ongoing support for the length of time that you have chosen for your family.
I use a wide variety of sleep coaching techniques as every child is an individual and so needs individual care. I have worked with many gentle methods and many techniques that include controlled comforting methods. The method that we use is based on YOU! I only want to implement what you feel comfortable with. We will look at family dynamics and parenting philosophies to develop a plan that will work best for your family.