Comparing Sleep Consultants to Sleep Trainers
The difference between a sleep trainer and a sleep consultant is a little muddy. The fact is, these two terms are often used interchangeably. This is largely because the sleep industry is unregulated, so anyone can choose to label themselves as a sleep trainer or a sleep consultant without any specific criteria being met.
On the other hand, there ARE often elements of “sleep trainers” and “sleep consultants” that are interchangeable. Either way, it’s so important to do your due-diligence when seeking out sleep support for your newborn, baby, or toddler, and to find an expert or support that is the right fit for your baby and family.
I’m Chrissy Lawler, a certified pediatric sleep consultant for babies and toddlers, a licensed marriage and family therapist, Mama of four, and founder of The Peaceful Sleeper.
In this blog post, I am going to talk about the difference between a “sleep trainer” and a “sleep consultant” as well as the cost, level of support you will receive, and whether or not it is worth it. Here we go!
What is a sleep consultant?
A sleep consultant is an expert that you consult with around how to get better baby sleep. A sleep consultant will usually provide you with more than one strategy and take a collaborative approach when working with you.
This is what The Peaceful Sleeper is. We are a team of sleep consultants whose goal is to collaboratively work with you to meet your sleep goals. We firmly believe every baby can get better sleep, and that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to baby sleep. This is why we take a holistic approach, honor your parents values, and are committed to tuning in and supporting YOUR baby.
What is a sleep trainer?
A sleep trainer is a sleep expert who often subscribes to “sleep training”, which means the goal is likely to “train” your baby to sleep better.
It’s important to watch out for sleep training “programs” that are meant for all babies. Since every baby and every family is different, you want to work with someone who will create an individualized sleep plan for your little one, and help you make tweaks to the plan as you go.
A sleep trainer may also only have “sleep training” support or advice, and that may mean limited strategies such as “cry it out”. I am not saying there is anything wrong with using “cry it out” as a strategy, but it needs to be just one of the tools in the toolbox to choose from, so to speak.
Some babies do better with some time and space to figure out how to self-soothe to sleep, and others do better with a more gradual approach that involves forming new sleep associations and/or weaning off of undesirable sleep associations/habits.
What do sleep consultants and trainers do?
Ultimately, sleep consultants and sleep trainers aim to help your baby get better sleep. This may mean though informative courses or guides, or by working virtually or in person with you.
I can’t speak for all sleep consultants and sleep trainers, but The Peaceful Sleeper certified and master sleep consultants work with you to help you optimize your baby or toddler’s sleep. This often means playing detective to get to the root of the sleep issue, and then creating an individualized plan to maximize sleep. Sometimes this can mean scheduling tweaks, or trying different strategies, or teaching independent sleep skills. It all depends on what the sleep concerns are and what approach you want to take to getting better sleep.
How much does it cost to have a sleep consultant/trainer?
There is a big range in costs for sleep services. This is mainly to do with the different levels of supports that are offered.
For example, to purchase courses or guides on how to get better sleep, the cost ranges from around $30-$150, depending on how extensive and comprehensive the content is.
To work one-on-one with a consultant or trainer, it’s around $100-$150 an hour.
Higher levels of support that involve long range support usually start around $250 and in-home support usually starts at $200 an hour and is several thousand for a full weekend.
If you are interested in working with us, you can check out all of our courses, guides, and different consultation options here!
What do sleep trainers teach? Is it different from a sleep consultant?
Sleep trainers most often teach about “sleep training”. The thing with sleep training is that it means different things to different people. Traditionally, it involves “cry it out” and a script or program to follow. (Although this can be true, it is not always true, so if you are looking at working with a sleep trainer, I suggest researching their method and approach(es) before purchasing.)
When we are looking at improving baby sleep, there are so many different factors at play. It’s not just about teaching independent sleep skills; it is also about knowing the science behind baby sleep, how to discern your baby’s cues, and to know when and how to make tweaks to your schedule.
You also want to be empowered with knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions around your little one’s sleep, and not just feel like you were given one or two strategies that only pertained to that one situation. This is why working with a sleep consultant whose method is collaborative and holistic is most likely the best choice.
Is it worth getting a sleep consultant or sleep trainer for a baby?
I just want to start by saying, what is “worth it” for one person is going to be different for another. So it depends on the value that you place on getting better sleep, and your budget, of course.
If you are open to more of a “DIY” method, then most sleep consultants and sleep trainers have a course or guide specific to what your sleep issue is, for around $30-$200. I would recommend making sure that the course or guide that you are interested in purchasing is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution or program. We want lots of different strategy options and guidance for how to tailor the plan to best fit YOUR baby.
On the other hand, it is worth it to consider the value of having a sleep consultant work one-on-one with you. Whether it is in person, or virtual, you are more likely to get support that is individualized. Again, it will depend on who you choose to work with, so I recommend seeking out a sleep consultant who will create an individualized sleep plan WITH you and who also offers follow-up support for as long as you would like.
Bottom line is, getting solid sleep is life changing, and as long as you are working with a sleep consultant that honors your values, works collaboratively with you, and provides the level and duration of support that YOU want, then it will most likely be more than worth it!
Whether you choose to work with a sleep trainer or a sleep consultant, I hope that you find an expert who works WITH you and takes a holistic approach. There are so many different ways to get great baby sleep, and your parenting values NEVER need to be compromised.
If you are looking for simple and effective strategies that are completely individualized to your baby, we offer courses and guides, as well as one-on-one support options that are totally customizable to the level of support you need. Check it all out here!
Chrissy Lawler is a baby sleep consultant, a licensed marriage and family therapist, mama of four, and founder of The Peaceful Sleeper. She believes that all babies can get great sleep and that sleep is critical for everyone, in all aspects of life. Visit her website https://thepeacefulsleeper.com/ or find her on Instagram @the.peaceful.sleeper