Many parents are curious about my perspective on sleep training. Is it possible to do when breastfeeding or co-sleeping? There are questions about how I feel about letting a baby “cry it out” and if there is a right and wrong way to go about introducing a new approach to the sleeping routine
As a nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit I have probably worked with thousands of families over the years and I can say that every family is completely unique as is every baby. It is my role as a sleep coach to create a custom fit plan with you based in current sleep research that is developmentally appropriate and takes into account your child and family’s uniqueness. If you want to continue to breastfeed or want to wean during sleep training (after consulting a local lactation consultant and pediatrician for approval) my job is to help you be successful. I want to help you find the safest ways to co-sleep if that is your desire. Sometimes families who believe in co-sleeping find that their children (or they themselves) aren’t really sleeping all that well, even nestled snugly together or families who did co-sleep for a few months to a few years and now want the family bed to revert back to the marital one. In those cases, I will help guide you through the transition of moving your child to a separate sleeping space. The goal is to minimize crying for a less stressful experience for everyone. Cry it out is possibly a faster way to sleep train, but many families cannot handle listening to the cries of their child and not respond, making it extremely hard to follow through with that method and even with follow through it doesn’t work for every child. My job is to support and guide you through probably one of the hardest parenting tasks - teaching your child to fall asleep independently at the start of sleep and how to put themselves back to sleep when they awaken with partial arousals (which, by the way, are completely normal)
The Gentle Sleep Coach® philosophy was developed by Kim West LCSW-C, The Sleep Lady® because she found so many parents had difficulty following through with a sleep coaching program that they feared will damage their child emotionally or filled them with so much guilt they couldn’t follow through.
I can't promise no tears. A child who is being put into a new routine that they are not used to will cry. This is their way of telling parents “why are you not picking me up like you normally do” or “Wait where is my bottle and my rocking”. A young child will protest with words as a nonverbal child will protest by crying. Our goal is to have as little crying as possible. I encourage parents to be loving and responsive but also to help their child learn the vital skill of putting themselves to sleep. I want my parents to respond and stay with their child offering physical and verbal reassurance without actually putting their child to sleep (remember the goal is for them to learn how). This will support the development of a secure attachment between parent and child.
The art of putting yourself to sleep is a priceless gift you can give your child and your entire family.