All About Kids
Do New Moms Really Need a Sleep Consultant?
Are they really necessary? Here’s what this mom found out
When we see a new baby, we remember the yummy newborn smell, the tiny hands and feet, and how adorable they look when asleep. It almost makes us want to have another baby and then we remember the long nights, the crying spells, and being a sleepless zombie after giving birth…then we say to ourselves, “No, thanks!”
We all know lack of sleep is part and parcel of having a baby, but what if it didn’t have be that way? This is where sleep training, or sleep coaching, comes in. Many moms hesitate when sleep training is brought up.
To shed some light on the role of sleep consultants, I spoke to Certified Infant and Child Sleep Coach Chesca Santiano. She became a certified sleep coach in August 2018, after becoming obsessed with sleep training when she sleep-trained her eldest child at 4 months old. “I was a first time, sleep deprived mom without a yaya,” Chesca shared, “and I felt that there just had to be a way wherein we could all sleep better, as well as have some sort of structure to our day. “
Chesca is trained in and has learned a variety of sleep training methods. She doesn’t strictly follow just one method. “I believe every baby is different and there is no one method for all,” says Chesca, “part of being a sleep coach is being able to adapt your strategy to how the baby responds and seeing how to tweak things from there.”
I put together some thoughts I had about sleep training and sleep coaches and asked Chesca for her professional take on them:
What I thought: “Working with a sleep consultant is exactly the same as sleep training.”
Chesca: “Not necessarily. Not all babies need to be sleep trained. I’ve had clients that just needed a change in schedule or even just a few minutes to learn how to self-settle. I think those who need sleep training are babies who have a really strong dependency on something in order to go to sleep such as feeding or rocking. A sleep training method can help with breaking this dependency.”
What I thought: “I need to wean from breastfeeding if I want to sleep train.”
Chesca: “No! of course not! I actually advocate breastfeeding and do not force a bottle. You can breastfeed and sleep train!”
What I thought: “Sleep training means I have to listen to my baby cry it out for hours until she falls asleep.”
Chesca: “Cry it Out” is just one sleep training method. There are so many sleep training methods to choose from, some gentle methods while other are cry based methods. But even with a gentle method, that doesn’t mean there is no crying. Even if you are rocking your baby to sleep, they still cry sometimes!
The difference between a gentle method and a cry based method is you stay in the room with a gentle method, not leaving your baby to cry alone, but that does not mean your baby won’t cry. Crying is communication! Just because your baby is crying, it does not mean they are angry or upset. It can mean hunger, frustration, or even settling.”
What I thought: “My baby is 8 months old already. It’s too late for sleep training.”
Chesca: “I am certified to work with infants until children who are 5 years old so within that age range, it’s not too late to sleep train! Personally, I find babies between 4-6 months the best age to sleep train. Habits are not so ingrained and babies can adapt easily to new routines with little resistance.”
What I thought: “I’m being selfish if I hire a sleep consultant. I’m willing to give my baby a hard time just so I can have more sleep.”
Chesca: “I think a common misconception about sleep training is that people do it for the parents. That’s not true at all, the benefits parents reap are just extra. I wanted to sleep train my daughter because she wasn’t sleeping, she was overtired and not getting the sleep she needed.
Sleep is so beneficial but even more so for growing babies and children. Sleep will affect your child’s focus, behavior, growth and learning capabilities just to name a few. The benefits your child will gain from good sleep is priceless!”
What I thought: “I can just Google how to sleep train my baby. If I can’t Google it, I’m sure I there’s a video on YouTube. I don’t need to actually hire a sleep consultant. ”
Chesca: “A sleep consultant will be able to guide and support you throughout the sleep training process. You can read a ton of books and groups on sleep training and still have a hard time applying the methods you read or second guess yourself if you are doing things correctly.
A sleep consultant will be able to tell you what to do, come up with a good plan of action on how to respond to your baby when they wake and tell you exactly what to do. A certified sleep consultant will ensure your baby’s sleep environment is safe and will be able to provide options that are suitable for your family as well as make recommendations specific for your baby’s issues.”
Chesca also shares that sleep training takes an average of 2 weeks, more or less, with results seen in the first few days. Nighttime sleep is also not the same as naps. “Nights usually come together faster than naps. The younger the baby, the faster they adapt”, says Chesca.
I’m happy to say that Chesca has cleared up many of the misconceptions I had about sleep training, which are probably shared by many other moms as well. So, do new moms really need a sleep consultant? The answer is, it depends.
Although it’s not a must for everyone, hiring a sleep consultant will definitely be a big help for many sleep-deprived parents who want to have more peaceful and restful nights for their baby and themselves.
You may contact Chesca Santiano via email at [email protected], on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lullababyph/ and on her website lullaby.ph