I often get daily emails and messages asking for sleep advice from people who may be hesitant to take the plunge and hire a sleep consultant. I know there are many reasons that factor into making that choice; budget, uncertainty as to what it is a sleep consultant actually does, or fear of committing to the task of sleep training. And while I am always happy to give advice when I can, especially to very straightforward questions, between my clients and being a full-time momma to two, I have realized that I have to resign myself to the fact that sometimes I can’t get to everyone’s questions. And my Instagram DM’s are a testament to that, haha! This can lead to frustration at times. Once on a free call as I struggled to give advice with the limited 3 minutes of background a poor sleep deprived mom had given me, she snapped, “If you won’t tell me your little sleep secrets, we’re done here!” Woahhhh there! A lot of these discussions and messages made me realize that there are several misconceptions about what it is I do as a pediatric sleep consultant. There is also little discussion about what the benefits of taking the plunge and hiring one are (aside from the obvious, SLEEP!) I hope to shed a little light on what I do as well as what I don’t do, to help you decide if hiring a sleep consultant is the right choice for you!
- I have “sleep secrets”: Just like I told the woman I referenced above, I do not have any sleep “secrets”! Does that surprise you? Everything that I know and help my clients implement can be found on the internet and in books. There are no sleep secrets, I have just made it my work to study pediatric sleep, know the latest research, offer tailored solutions based on working with hundreds of families, pinpoint exactly what needs to change in a child’s sleep routines and habits, and help overwhelmed parents confidently choose a path based on what is best for their child and their comfort level.
- I can know everything I need to know after one short message or phone call: If you were to call and ask an electrician or plumber to walk you through how to fix a problem over the phone, they wouldn’t agree to it right? Not because they have any “plumbing secrets”, you could probably figure it out on your own with lots of internet research and YouTube videos. It’s because, aside from it being their livelihood, they need to see the problem with their own eyes to make the correct decisions on how it should be fixed. You hire them for their expertise, and to save yourself the time and hassle of guessing at how to fix it! Anyone that hires me has to fill out a very detailed intake form that gives me everything I need to know about their child’s sleep, as well as their comfort level with sleep-training to help me present them with the methods best-suited to them. I am hesitant to offer methods and plans just based on short messages, because we as consultants need that information to offer accurate courses of action, and to ensure that there isn’t a medical reason why your child might not be sleeping!
- Sleep consultant’s methods are harsh and they will tell me to let my baby “cry it out”: I cannot speak for every sleep consultant, but I personally do not advocate for extinction. My background is in gentle sleep training, and CIO (also known as extinction) is shutting the door and not opening it until morning, regardless of whether or not your baby cries. Will your baby cry during sleep training? It is almost guaranteed. However, they will cry because they are frustrated at the change in habits and expectations, not because they feel abandoned. And you will be able to respond to their cries, soothe, be with them while they learn these new skills, just not in ways that create “sleep props” for your baby. If your baby is accustomed to sleeping in your bed and nursing back to sleep at every waking, of course they will have a hard time adjusting initially to sleeping in their crib and having a limit on night feedings! It is my priority to help parents choose a method that is as responsive and gentle as they desire that ultimately gets them and their children the sleep they all need!
- Hiring a sleep consultant will never be in my budget: Obviously I cannot speak for everyone, but I offer a wide range of sleep packages and even give the option to customize a package based on a price you are comfortable with! I also encourage people to look at the value they would put on their family sleeping well. Would it save you the cost of buying every sleep product on the market in the attempt to get your children to sleep? Would it stop all the Starbucks runs for coffee to keep yourself awake during the daytime? 😉 Are you hiring extra help, eating out more or not taking work opportunities because you are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed? Those are just a few monetary considerations, I would go a step further and consider what your time and quality of life is worth to you. Would it be a worthy investment to have time with just you and your spouse in the evenings? Time you can actually enjoy without wanting to collapse in bed from exhaustion? Would it be worth having the energy to do things you enjoy? Worth having a child who is happy and playful during the day rather than fussy and overtired? When you put it into the perspective of an investment in your indefinite future as a parent, it starts to make a lot more sense! I am also working hard on the capability to offer my clients payment plans, so stay tuned!!
Now that we got some of those misconceptions cleared up, let’s move on to the benefits!
- It saves you the time and confusion of weeding through conflicting information: We’ve all been there as parents. Googling and searching the internet and mom’s groups (oh, the dreaded mom’s groups) for help with our parenting and sleep questions. When you search, you find one piece of advice next to ten other conflicting suggestions. How do you tell what is fact and what is opinion? Or, you find a book that seems to align with your parenting values, yay! Only then you have to find the time and energy to read a whole book that may not even end up giving you the confidence and information to implement a form of sleep training! That is what is so great about hiring a sleep consultant. Our education on pediatric sleep is fact and evidence based, so I give you effective methods and plans that are backed by studies and science, not an opinion on Facebook! I give highly detailed sleep plans completely tailored to you child, so there is no confusion on what needs to be done and when. And further, I take into account your personal comfort level to find a gentle method that is best suited to you and your little one.
- It offers encouragement and emotional support as you go through sleep training: For clients that get packages that include email and text support especially, I do my best to provide encouragement and emotional support to help them get through the often rough first days/nights of sleep training. I remember how hard it was for me when I was finally at my wits end with the lack of sleep I had postpartum with Jackson. Even though I was so ready to get both of us sleeping well, it was still so difficult and emotionally-draining to decide to sleep train him. Despite the fact that I was very responsive and gentle in my approach, it was hard to watch him upset with the changes. And sleep deprivation only exacerbates your emotional response, which is no help! I definitely thought about throwing in the towel a few times, as many clients I work with do initially. When you are in the thick of it, I am there to cheer you on and remind you you’re giving your child a wonderful gift, the gift of sleep!
- Everyone starts getting the sleep they need: Saved the most obvious one for last, but this is of course the biggest benefit! The whole reason to hire a sleep consultant is to improve both you and your child’s sleep. Close your eyes and imagine waking up well-rested, going in and picking up your happy baby, and both of you having the energy to take on the day! Your baby taking long, consolidated naps on a regular schedule, allowing you the time to work from home, make a meal, workout, take care of the house, or a little me-time to relax and watch your current Netflix binge ;). Your baby going down peacefully for the night at a predictable bedtime. You and your partner getting some much-needed time together. Everyone getting a good night’s rest. THAT and more is what hiring a sleep consultant can provide you with!
If that sounds like your ultimate goal, I would be so happy to help you reach it! And if you’re like me and need reviews on products and services to feel comfortable, you can look at testimonials in my “Kind Words” tab on the blog, my Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and the reviews and testimonials I regularly share on my other social media outlets. I would love to help you and your sweet pea get the sleep you all deserve, hit the “Get in Touch” tab in the menu above and let’s get started!