Hey everyone! My name is Elizabeth King, I’m a mom of 3 and the founder and CEO of Sleep Baby Sleep Consulting. I am very excited to be guest posting on the Dreamland Baby Blog today! As parents, I know that getting a good night’s sleep is one of your top priorities and I am excited to talk about how we can help you make that happen! My team of certified sleep consultants and I work with families every day teaching their babies how to sleep well at night and take great naps. We work one on one to create customized solutions for each baby and family since no two are the same!
If you are new to the idea of sleep consulting or have hesitations about sleep training in general, I am so glad you’re here. There are a lot of misconceptions about sleep consulting, sleep training, and baby sleep in general. There is talk of lots of crying and expecting babies to do something they are not ready for. This does not have to be the case!
Benefits of a Sleep Consultant
The benefit of working with a baby sleep consultant, as opposed to relying solely on books or blogs, is that you will get a solution that is customized to you and your baby. Instead of a general 4 month schedule, you can ask your sleep consultant to work around your other children’s school schedules or a regular doctor's appointment you may have. You’ll also have a direct line of communication to your consultant for answering specific questions that you just can’t get from a book. We also have tons of experience with every possible baby sleep problem. Having an expert to guide you, whether it’s your first baby or your fourth, can make this parenting journey so much easier and less stressful!
“But what about crying?” “Are you going to just ask my baby to cry it out? I can do that on my own.” These are questions that I have heard many times and I think they are natural and valid. No parent, including me, likes hearing their baby cry. My best advice for parents is to find a consultant that you connect with and trust and tell them about your concerns. A great sleep consultant will work with you to create a solution and plan that is a good fit for your wants and needs! At Sleep Baby, in addition to minimizing tears as much as we can, we also will work to help you feel confident and comfortable with knowing what your baby needs when they cry in general so you can address the root of their crying rather than feeling like you’re throwing shots in the dark. As much as we don’t want them to, babies do cry, it is the way they communicate and we want to be able to respond to their needs appropriately!
What does a sleep consultant do?
A consultant is someone you hire when you need a little extra help! So, it's not surprising that an entire industry of "baby" sleep consultants was born to help parents get their little ones to sleep. So, what exactly does a baby sleep consultant do? Their job involves giving parents and caregivers the guidance they need to help them develop good sleep habits for their children. They don't teach babies how to sleep; rather, they train parents on how to get their baby set up for sleep success! Trying to get a newborn into a sleep routine can be stressful and overwhelming to new parents. A sleep consultant can provide a roadmap and help implement training techniques. Yes, you can always read a book or ask a friend (or two, or three!), but the role of a certified sleep consultant is to offer expert advice, consistent support, and teach you what you need to know and do to optimize your baby's sleep.
What does it mean to be a certified sleep consultant?
Lack of sleep is something almost all new parents experience at some point, and a sleep consultant is someone who can offer advice, education, and support during these stressful, anxious times. There are no official national or international guidelines for who can or cannot be a provider of these services. But several organizations offer sleep consultant training and curriculums. If a consultant attends one of these accreditation programs, they are considered a "certified" sleep consultant. At Dreamland Baby, we work closely with sleep consultants. Our go-to resource is Chrissy Lawler, from mypeacefulsleeper.com, who, like many in the industry, offers a variety of options such as sleep workshops, online courses, group training, and one-on-one sessions. If you're interested in signing up for Chrissy's Free sleep tip emails, you can do so here.
Is a sleep consultant worth it?
If you're feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and lack of sleep is impacting your mental health and your family, you may want to consider hiring a sleep consultant. While some parents can manage sleepless nights without the additional aid, there is absolutely no shame in reaching out for help if you need it. The number one issue new parents face is lack of sleep. So, for many parents finding a sleep consultant is highly effective and can help minimize the stress of returning to work or giving their other children the care and attention, they need. And while sleep consultants aren't for everyone, you may find that it gives you the peace of mind you and the extra support to navigate your family's sleep challenges.
Once you decide to hire a baby sleep consultant, it's important to keep in mind that they offer a variety of techniques and services. You'll want to communicate your family's specific needs to them and ensure you're on the same page about their methods. Most consultants will outline their techniques on their websites, and many will also arrange to meet with you online or in-person to develop a plan to help your reach your goals. As every baby is different, they'll want to understand your child's unique situation. Often parents find that sleep products such as sound machines, blackout shades, and, yes, weighted sleep sacks are tools used by consultants to supplement their training. The consultants will offer follow-up support and can answer your questions about establishing good sleep routines so that your child can learn to fall asleep without assistance.
Does AAP recommend sleep consulting?
While the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not offer specific recommendations about sleep consultants, they do provide safe sleep guidance. You'll want to be sure that the consultant you hire is familiar with these regulations, such as the Safe to Sleep Campaign and SIDS -related guidelines. This includes placing your infant on their back for sleep, using a firm sleep surface, and always keeping in mind the "bare is best" rule – no pillows, blankets, toys, or bumpers in the crib. While the AAP does not recommend co-sleeping, it does recommend room sharing for at least six months. A sleep consultant would be able to work with you to ensure these guidelines are followed and to help you create a safe sleep environment for your little one.
What should I ask a sleep consultant?
The old adage, there are no stupid questions, definitely rings true with babies and sleep. When working with a consultant, you will not want to hold back! Ask your questions, as their job is to provide a comforting, non-judgmental space for you to confide your concerns. Some common questions that you should feel comfortable addressing with your sleep consultant include:
- Can my newborn sleep too much?
- Can I put my newborn on a schedule?
- What is a good sleep routine?
- How long and how many naps should my baby be taking?
- How can I prevent my baby from getting overtired?
- What's the optimal sleep environment?
Sleep consulting is not one-size-fits-all, and a professional consultant will meet you where you're at and provide practical tips and coaching.
How much does a sleep consultant cost?
Sleep deprivation can cause new parents to feel frustrated and hopeless, which is where having someone to guide them and provide the "you're not alone" comfort is very valuable. Of course, these services come with a fee attached. Sleep consultants' costs range depending on where you live or whether you have in-person or remote consultations. But the bottom line is a sleep consultant is worth the price if you want personalized care and if your lack of sleep is causing you distress. Remember, there is nothing more important than investing in your own self-care.
Keep in mind learning to sleep, just like any new skill, takes time. Your consultant is there to guide you and encourage you – you should never feel the weight of unrealistic expectations or unnecessary pressure. So, if you're feeling you need some extra TLC, then hiring a certified sleep consultant might just be the answer. Because let's face it, if it puts your mind at ease, it may also help your baby get their Zzzz!
Elizabeth King is a mom of 3 boys and the founder and CEO of Sleep Baby Sleep Consulting. Based in Charlotte, NC Elizabeth can often be found outside or making frequent trips to her hometown of Charleston, SC. She founded Sleep Baby after realizing that having someone to talk to and ask questions of is an invaluable resource as you are finding your footing with a new person in your family and feels that every parent should have that kind of support. Elizabeth is passionate about babies and their parents and loves the joy on their faces when she hears that their baby finally slept all night. She’s been a professional sleep consultant for over 5 years, worked with thousands of families around the globe, and is a member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants.
At Sleep Baby, we focus on the whole child, not just their bedtime sleep. While we are working with families on teaching their babies to self soothe (put themselves completely to sleep independently), we will also work on shaping their day so they are set up for sleep success! We feel strongly that we cannot ask our babies and toddlers to sleep soundly at night when there are roadblocks like overtiredness or hunger that are stopping them. First we remove all of the obstacles to sleep, then we work with parents to teach them sustainable, independent sleep strategies.
Our team of amazing baby sleep experts work with each family to design a plan that is a fit for you. After our initial consultation is, we support you as you implement the plan with your little one! I know I’m biased but I think our team is the best out there. Each one of our consultants is also a mom and gives the most incredible support. We absolutely love cheering on parents as their whole family starts sleeping well.
Sleep Baby was born out of a deep love for parents. As a first time mom, I felt the isolation and anxiety of not knowing what I was doing. I wanted to be able to provide that support to other parents and give them the tools they need to get great sleep. On top of self soothing skills, routines, and schedules, the Sleep Baby team truly works to build confidence in each one of the parents we work with. We hope you think of us as your friend who just happens to know a lot about sleep!
If your baby or toddler is struggling with sleeping soundly, falling asleep at night, sleeping all night, or taking naps we would love to help! We have many different consulting packages and work with families all over the world. Your baby sleep consultant will come alongside you to learn about your family and your child’s needs then design a customized sleep solution for you. If you have questions or want to learn more, we’d love to talk! You can visit our website or reach out to us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your free 15 minute phone call with one of our incredible baby sleep consultants!