Today’s we’re sharing the first in a series of guest posts by Certified Sleep Consultant and Developmental Specialist, Jensine Casey of Baby O & I. Over the course of this series, Jensine will introduce us to the many ways a sleep consultant can help tired parents and their children. We’ll also be taking your sleep questions for her to possibly answer in a future post!
Being a mom is everything you ever imagined it would be, and more. The newborn smiles that melt your heart, the wet slobber kisses you both do and don’t want to wipe off, and the sweetest little voice calling you Mama. But of course, there is another side that is not as glamorous. One that includes lots of soiled diapers, nights of crying (for all), and food stuck to the ceiling.
One of the hardest transitions for me personally, was the lack of sleep bringing home a newborn entailed. I have always been a 10-hour-a-night sleeper, and never stopped taking naps! Through high school and college, I can count on one hand the days I missed a nap. So believe me when I say, having a baby rocked my world (especially my sleep!). Newborn sleep is sporadic and can be unpredictable, but I knew getting my little one on something that resembled a schedule would greatly benefit my sanity. And I know I’m not the only mama who feels this way! As children grow, possibly your other mom friends talk about what amazing sleepers they have–that started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, while your 18-month-old still wakes every 3 hours. This can make you feel isolated, alone, and let’s not forget: exhausted!
The world of sleep consultants is pretty new, and many moms are not quite sure what working with a sleep consultant includes. Thinking of it in the following way helps: If your child is having trouble with gross motor skills, you work with a physical therapist. If your child is delayed in their language skills, you take them to a speech pathologist. And if your child is having trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep, you hire a sleep consultant. Having a child that doesn’t sleep well is not a reflection of you as a parent OR them as a child, it could just be an area they need a little assistance with!
Just as each family dynamic, belief system and child is different; each sleep plan that I create is different and unique to your family and your specific sleep goals. I also want to specify that I work with parents of children ages newborn to 4 years old.
These are the basic steps I follow when creating a sleep plan for your child:
- Send a questionnaire that addresses current concerns, current routines, and any medical concerns.
- Create a customized sleep plan that specifies, night by night, exactly what to do for our 14 nights working together.
- We then review that plan in its entirety, to ensure your family is 100% comfortable with the strategies outlined the night before beginning the program.
- You receive 2 weeks of follow-up support while implementing the program to ensure that your sleep goals are being met.
An individualized plan can include things such as awake times and/or ideal schedule for your child’s age, recommendations on creating optimal sleep environments for your child (i.e. – nightlights, blackout curtains, crib soothers) and strategies around what to do if potential issues arise. Each family is unique in what strategies work best for them, but I will say that sleep training IS NOT just cry it out! That is one method of sleep training, and not one that many current families feel comfortable implementing.
Yes, there are lots of blog posts, books, and articles written about sleep training and ways to implement it. However, what sets working with a sleep consultant apart is that we provide support and guidance, as you are implementing the plan, to really make sure that it is working. A book will say “do X, and your child will Y.” But what if your child doesn’t do “Y,” and you are at a loss for how to continue? With a sleep consultant by your side, that won’t happen.
So if you have ANY sleep questions, issues or regressions, know that a sleep consultant is a good option to help get you and your family back on the path to amazing sleep for all! You can learn more about my services at BabyOandI.com or find me on Instagram at @babyoandi or Facebook at @babyoandi.
And as a special treat to North Shore Moms, Jensine will be taking sleep questions from our community for the next week and then choosing some to answer in her next guest post! Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to include your first name and your child’s age in the email.
This post is sponsored by Baby O & I.