Introduction/Issues We Were Struggling With: I’ve written a little about my experience with hiring a certified sleep consultant to help my 6 month old (now 9 month old) to sleep better. To recap and fill in some background, I was basically having trouble with a nursing to sleep association, naps were all over the place – both length and timing, she wouldn’t sleep without being held – day or night. Now let me clarify, I was not expecting to dump my baby into her crib when I thought it was time for her to sleep and her sleep 12 hours straight without needing something to eat or drink. That seem(ed)/(s) to be unrealistic to me. What I desired was to parent my child to sleep, that is to say help her wind down and get sleepy, so that she could fall asleep easily on her own when laid down after her bedtime routine and feel secure enough in her own bed to get comfortable and resettle when she woke in the night. At 6 months of age, I expected to still need to feed her 1-2 times a night – around midnight and 5 am, I still believe those are realistic expectations of a 6 month old. After reading countless articles and methods online, two different No-Cry type of sleep training books and 2 months of no results, I desperately and reluctantly hired a sleep consultant that had been recommended to me by a friend. Let me say on the front end that I’m extremely thankful for the help this lady gave me. She was a great lady and there’s no telling where we’d be with sleep if we hadn’t sought some outside help. But here’s my “issue” with hiring a sleep consultant: I don’t feel that I was truthfully offered much more information than what I had already read. What I really received was someone to reassure me that the method I had chosen would indeed work and that I wasn’t waisting 2 weeks of my life trying to get sleep that would never come if I was implementing a sleep training method improperly. And I tried exactly what my consultant had me do before I contactted her, BUT I only tried it one night. And the first night is by far the hardest, but even though I knew it would take 7-10 days for significant improvement I was so tired that I gave up on it right away. I didn’t KNOW I was implementing the method properly and felt that I didn’t have even one night to waste. It angers me that I was forced to pay so much, when all I needed was someone I could ask questions to clarify what I had already learned. I could’ve achieved my goal with a lot less interaction, honestly. It’s like I had the pieces of the puzzle, but needed a little help putting them together. In hindsight, perhaps I should’ve contacted the authors of the books I had read to see if they would’ve offered me any free advice – I had, after all, purchased their book.
Sleep Consulting Details: I paid $350 for a 45 minute initial phone call, one 15 minute phone call every week for 3 weeks after the initial call, and moderate email support (she was readjusting policies when I was doing my consultation with her) for 4 weeks. $350. That’s a lot of money to me. I dare say that’s a lot of money to most people, especially new parents who’ve spent God knows how much money on their baby recently. What I couldn’t find the answers to that prompted me to hire someone were these: “How long should my baby be napping?” “How long should she be going between naps?” “What do I do if she wakes from a nap early?” “How long do I try to get her to go to sleep and what do I do when that time is up?” “What sleep training method is best?” I could find some answers to these questions, but they always seemed directed to younger babies and I wasn’t confident that it would suit my baby because she was a little older (it seems “the rules” change every 3 months with a baby, until they’re one). I already knew that babies like routine, that nap and bedtime routines were (are) important. I knew that I could create new sleep associations that I may not intend to and was very aware of the steps I was taking. I already knew a lot of things. In the end, I still did things a little differently than advised and imagine this – my baby is sleeping quite well these days. What is the point of this post? I’m going to be reading and reviewing some more sleep books and methods and I would like to offer some free help to as many people as I can with the knowledge I gain from my research and firsthand experience. You could read these books yourself, yes. But if you’re a tired parent, it would nice to have one place to go that would consolidate all of the different methods and the like to help you get your sweet pea to sleep better! That’s what I’m setting out to do. It’ll require some lengthy posts no doubt and research, that’s ok though, because I like to write and I like doing research.
What I Need From You: I need any tired, frustrated parents of babies 3-12months to contact me. If you have a younger baby and would like to know some things you can do to create healthy sleep habits from birth I would be happy to hear from you as well. I do not really advocate sleep training before 3 months old. However, I do feel that you can begin to create healthy sleep habits early on. I want you to contact me like you would a sleep consultant. There is a contact form with this post. I’ll try to give you an outside look at what’s going on and help you “piece the puzzle together.” Why should you trust me? I’m not making this stuff up myself. I will always be referencing other sources with any advice I give and will do my best to provide those references in my posts or with any correspondence with you. If I had not been so tired myself, I probably would’ve been able to do the research to figure out my own baby’s sleep problems as my unanswered questions weren’t really all that difficult, but the answers were important details. And frankly, sometimes you just need some support.
If you would like some help, fill out the contact form below and I will send you a detailed questionnaire. Before contacting me, I would suggest you read this post. It explains that good naps = good night sleep and has some links that you may find helpful. I find that there are a lot of babies not getting adequate naps, which is resulting in horrendous nighttime sleep! Of course, there may always be multiple issues you are dealing with, but I felt the need to have a post about the importance of how sleep begets sleep. I’m continuously working on the baby sleep inspired posts for this site, so follow me and let me help you out!