What is sleep training? And what is your approach?
Sleep training DOES NOT mean crying-it-out (CIO). Could crying be involved in the process? Yes. But that is because it is your child’s way of communicating to you. I define sleep training as teaching your child how to be an independent sleeper. Learning to be an independent sleeper is a “skill” that babies are not born with, but must be learned. Whether you begin teaching your baby at 6 weeks or 12 months, eventually he or she will need this skill. There are different paths to take to achieve this skill, and I will work with your specific family needs in order to come up with a plan that best suits your family.
What is your philosophy on CIO?
CIO (cry-it-out) is known as putting your child in the crib and not returning until their designated sleep time is over. In my approach, I do not do that. Instead, I work with families to find a balance between encouraging their child to learn new skills while also offering plenty of love and comfort throughout the process. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach I use. Alternatively, I partner with each family to create a plan and cheer them on along the way that will set their child up to a happy, well-rested child who loves to sleep!
How do I know if I need professional help?
If you feel “stuck” with your child’s current sleep situation, I can help assess the issues you are dealing with to see if you my services would benefit you. There’s a good chance I’ll have a solution for you.
I’ve been waiting to see if my child will grow out of this. Is that possible?
Sure, all things are possible, right? So, if you want to take your chances, go for it! It’s your family and your choice–and ultimately, it’s your family that will be affected by it. From my experience though, most children do not “grow out” of their sleep issues. Most sleep issues occur from a lack of what parents are not doing to set their child up to be a good sleeper, or implementing things that interfere with them learning the skill. As a parent, you want to encourage ways your child will succeed in getting the appropriate amount of restful sleep for their age. There are many strategic things you can do in order to make that happen. Learning to sleep well is a SKILL. Babies aren’t born with that skill (which is why do all the crazy things we do as new parents like rock to sleep, nurse to sleep, hold while sleeping, use a pacifier or a swing etc.). I come alongside families with your specific family dynamics and values, and assist you in the knowledge and implementing process needed for your child to learn new skills.
I see one of your packages are specific for newborns. Why would I need that much support?
During the first 4-5 months of a baby’s a life, things are constantly changing. Some examples of things that change from week to week or month to month are: how often they eat, how much they eat, how often they sleep, how much they sleep, when to swaddle and when to stop, how to put your baby down for a nap and what to do if they wake after 45 minutes, how to confidently determine what your baby’s needs are (instead of playing the guessing game and wondering if your baby is crying because she is hungry or tired or something else), and when to use a pacifier or when to not. These are just some examples but there are many many more things. If you recently had your baby, I’m sure you would LOVE someone who could sit and answer all your questions for you (and if you are still pregnant reading this, just ask someone who recently had a baby if this would be beneficial). Fortunately, you can! This package helps you every step of the way-with all the transitions, with all the questions, with all the schedule changes. I will be your personal coach and cheerleader to not only get you through the first 3-5 months, but more importantly, to help get your baby sleeping beautifully so by the time are time is ended, you have a baby who is sleeping 10-12 hours at night. Now who doesn’t want that??!
My baby starting sleeping 6-8 hour stretches right around 2-3 months and then stopped around four months. Now she is waking up every 2-3 hours and it’s been going on for over a month. I assume this is the four month regression I’ve read about online. I’m wondering, will this will pass and I’ll eventually get my good sleeper back?
This is SUPER common and you are not alone. Many times, parents who do not put the proper tools in place the first few months can luck out and have a baby who sleeps 6-8 hours at night. Unfortunately, this tends to not last because eventually having the proper tools in place is essential for maintaining this amount of consolidated sleep AND increasing it. Typically this occurs around four months because of the brain development that takes place, and once that occurs, time is not the solution. So no, you probably will not get your good sleeper back until you are ready to put the proper tools in place to achieve that.
Is there a bad time that you suggest not sleep training?
If your child is sick, teething, or you are traveling in the following two weeks, sleep training should be postponed until it passes.
How long will it take to see improvements in my child’s sleep?
The most important factor in seeing success is consistency in following your plan. For most children, you will see significant improvements after the 3 to 5 nights. Naps generally take a bit longer as the kind of sleep a child gets is different. In general, you should see improvements around 5 days of implementation. However, it can take up to 3 weeks based on the age and specific sleep issues of the child.
What age children do you work with?
I work with families from pregnancy all the way through 4 year olds. If you are interested in my sleep services and have a child who is older than 4 years old, I can likely help as long as your child’s sleep problems are behavioral and not medical.
Is there a package available where you can be with us in our home to support us while our child learns?
Absolutely! The kind of support a family needs varies from family to family. Therefore, I have options that accommodate different needs. If you are not finding a package that you feel suites your needs, please contact me and I will be happy to put together something that’s specifically for your family.
What is the best age to start sleep training?
Between 4-6 months is an optimal time since most babies are easily able, with your guidance, to organize their sleep into regular and longer daytime naps and consolidated nighttime sleep of 10-12 hours. Additionally, it is prior to their development of object permanence, which is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed. Basically, out of sight, out of mind. Thus making the sleep-training process easier on baby and parents. That said, there are many things you can do to help babies organize their sleep, set their internal clocks and circadian rhythms that in turn encourages a regular routine of naps and extending night-time sleep to up to 10-12 hours the first four months (during the first four months we are not doing official sleep-training but another magical method that creates consistency, stability, and predictability that creates emotional safety for your baby as well as a happy, well-rested infant). Regardless of the time you choose, it’s best to do it when you are fully ready and committed to the process.
Can I use your services if I don’t live in Austin?
You certainly can! I offer phone (including skype and facetime) and email consults in addition to in-home sleep training consults.
Helping Babies Cope with Stress and Learn to Sleep (article on letting baby cry)
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