Tips for vetting a sleep consultant that's right for your baby:
As a new parent, getting your little one to sleep is often a REAL challenge. Sleep deprivation can take a toll on the entire family unit, leading to irritability, mood swings, and brain fog. It’s not fun! If you’ve tried everything under the sun and your little one is nowhere near close to sleeping through the night, it may be time to consider hiring a sleep consultant for your baby, toddler or preschooler. A sleep consultant can help parents develop a personalized sleep plan for their little one and guide them through the process so that everyone is finally well-rested!
However, not all sleep consultants are created equally. With so many options out there, how do you decide which consultant is right for you and your family? In this post, I’ll be discussing what to look for when hiring a sleep consultant and provide you with my top tips on how to find the best fit for your family.
Qualifications & Experience
When searching for a sleep consultant, it’s important to look for someone who has proper training and experience. Because there is no regulatory body overseeing the sleep consulting practice, anyone can technically refer to themselves as a sleep expert. Make sure the sleep consultant has certification from a recognized organization, such as the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants.
Most importantly, look at the consultant’s reviews and testimonials on their website, social media accounts, and Google listing as these reviews are the best way to gauge the quality of the sleep consultant. Look for reviews from other families this person helped with your little one’s specific sleep struggles. If you don’t see any reviews, don’t be afraid to ask the consultant for references.
Getting your little one to sleep through the night is not simply a matter of picking a sleep training technique and following it. It’s important for your consultant to be considering ALL the factors contributing your little one’s sleep challenges. Some of these factors include: sleep environment, daytime schedule, routines, nap times, nap durations, wake periods, daytime nutrition, wind-down routines, emotional well-being, as well as how your little one falls asleep. A good sleep consultant should be able to assess all these factors to develop a comprehensive plan to address everything impacting your little one’s sleep.
Sleep Training Methodology
There are many ways to address your little one’s sleep challenges, including cry-it-out, graduated extinction, and gradual withdrawal approaches. Make sure that your consultant’s approach and philosophy aligns with your goals, parenting style and comfort level and that she doesn’t subscribe to a “one-sized-fits-all” approach. She should be able to recommend multiple sleep training options that will help you reach your goals.
Respectful & N on-Judgmental
Your little one’s sleep issues can be challenging and emotional to deal with, and it’s essential to work with someone who is respectful, sensitive and non-judgemental. You’ll want to choose someone who is a good listener, empathetic, and able to communicate clearly and effectively. It’s crucial that you feel comfortable with this person for this working relationship to work.
Support & Accountability
Your little one’s sleep plan is considered your starting point- it’s not a set-in-stone recommendation. We’re dealing with little humans, not robots. Plus, implementing a new sleep strategy for your little one is going to be challenging since change is hard for everyone!
As a result, make sure that your sleep consultant is providing you with ongoing support and accountability to stay on track and that she’s recommending tweaks and modifications along the way, as needed. A good sleep consultant should be able to answer questions, provide feedback and offer guidance and moral support throughout the process. She should be responsive to emails and be willing to adjust the plan as needed.
Some consultants offer ongoing support for a set period, while others provide support until your little one is sleeping through the night. Make sure to be clear on the parameters around your consultant’s follow-up support.
It is also important to consider the consultant’s availability when choosing someone to work with. You’ll want to choose someone who is available for a consultation and follow-up support at times throughout the day that are convenient for you and your little one’s schedule.
Finally, you’ll want to consider the cost of hiring a sleep consultant for your little one. While cost shouldn’t be the only factor you consider, it’s important to choose a consultant who is within your budget. Be sure to ask about the consultant’s fees upfront and make sure that you understand what services are included in the cost.
However, don’t choose a consultant based solely on price. Remember that you’re investing in your baby’s sleep and your family’s well-being. Choosing the right consultant can make ALL the difference- you can’t put a price tag on that.
Hiring a sleep consultant for your baby, toddler or preschooler can be a game-changer for parents struggling to get their little ones to sleep through the night. In fact, it was the best money I spent as a parent to-date when I hired a consultant 9 years-ago for my middle child when she was a baby.
When choosing a consultant, consider their qualifications and experience, holistic approach, sleep training methods, communication skills, support and accountability, availability and cost.
With the right consultant by your side, you and your little one can finally get the restful sleep you both need and deserve.
Eva Klein is a Pediatric Sleep Consultant, owner of My Sleeping Baby, and a mom of 3. She helps exhausted parents across the globe get higher-quality, more restful sleep through her renowned sleep courses, private coaching, and corporate seminars. Watch her FREE sleep masterclass where she will show you how to get your little one consistently sleeping 11-12 hours at night and napping like a champ (even if you feel like you’ve tried everything).