Gentle Sleep Coaching

GSC Disclaimer.

What is Gentle Sleep Coaching?

It is a gentle and effective approach in helping your child learn the skills of sleeping independently.   

It is parental support and involvement so your child feels confident, loved, and secure in their safe sleeps space.

A child cannot learn a new skill when they are stressed and scared. However, if they know that their parent is nearby supporting and encouraging them, they are far more likely to succeed.

As a Gentle Sleep Coach, I take into consideration the child’s circadian rhythms, temperament, developmental needs, and parental attachment.

Kim West, The Sleep Lady and author of Good Night Sleep Tight, created this comprehensive and gentle sleep training program, and is recognized and well respected by pediatricians worldwide. She has made appearances on CNN, ABC, and NBC. She has been written about in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and many other news and informational sources.   

Our Gentle Sleep Coach strategies are based on current evidence and research. They are developmentally and age appropriate, and they are respectful of the overall health and well-being of the baby (including infant mental health, development, feeding, physical, and attachment).

For most parents, what they may know about sleep consulting and sleep training is the Cry it out (CIO) method when a baby is left to cry (extinction) or controlled crying (Ferber) themselves to sleep. Helping your child learn healthy sleep skills does not have to be that way.

The Gentle Sleep approach is based on the needs of the whole child, and it involves gentle parent responsiveness and support. Your child knows that their parent is close by ready to reassure and support when needed.  

The sleep plan I create with you, as part of my Sleepytime Support, will be in alignment with the optimal well-being of the child and will respect their health, bonding, development, attachment, and infant mental health. These aspects of the child’s health will be our main focus with specific consideration given to the younger babies

My goal is to work with your family to help optimize sleep in a safe, healthy, and developmentally appropriate way.

Gentle sleep coaching is the process of supporting your child as they learn this new skill set.  During the first few years of life, out children develop at such rapid rates physically, mentally, socially and emotionally.  All of this has a huge impact on their sleep. Helping families set up a healthy sleep foundation for their child will make it easier to handle what happens when things get a little off course!  

“People who say they ‘sleep like a baby’ usually don’t have one.”

— Leo J. Burke

What a Gentle Sleep Coach WILL Do:

I will educate you regarding optimizing sleep and creating good practices.

I will assess based on my GSC training and offer support, resources, and referrals to appropriate professionals.

I will work with you to help set realistic expectations based on your unique family dynamics while respecting the individuality and specific needs of your baby / child.

I will respect and support a parent’s informed choices and will work with them to create a plan that is suitable for their family as a whole.

What a Gentle Sleep Coach Will NEVER Do:

I will not advocate any sleep training babies under five months of age

I will not attempt to diagnose, advise, or treat medical or feeding issues. (That’s the purview of your pediatrician.)

I will not make “Sleep Promises” that offer unreasonable or unfair expectations on the family or baby / child which may not be able to be accomplished.

I will not advocate using aggressive or straight “cry it out” strategies.  

From the Gentle Sleep Coach website:

GSC Program Summary

The Gentle Sleep Coach Program is the first and most extensive professional sleep coach training and certification program available. The program involves over 80 hours of training with a faculty panel that includes 2 medical doctors, a psychologist, an attorney, lactation counselor, postpartum doulas and a family therapist. Each coach must pass an exam and participate in case mentorship with Kim West, LCSW-C (a.k.a. “the Sleep Lady”) who has been helping tired parents for over 20 years. Clinical mentorship and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach. Some of my training topics included:

–  Basic counseling and child development

–  Sleep science and behavioral modification techniques to help parents of children age 0 to 6 years old.

–  Secure attachment theory

–  Support for the breastfeeding mother

The training also consisted of lectures from top specialists, including:

–  Postpartum Depression from Dr. Shoshana Bennett, author and leading specialist on Postpartum Depression

–  Medical Conditions and Sleep Apnea in Children led by Dr. Lewis Kass, Director of Children’s Sleep Center

–  GERD and Sleep led by Dr. Anthony Loizides, pediatric gastroenterologist

0-5-Month-Old Training Summary (only to be used if 0-5 Month certified)

The GSC Program also includes an exclusive advanced training specifically focused on how to gently work with babies 0-5 months of age.

Some of the curriculum training topics include:

  • In-depth knowledge of the importance of attachment and infant mental health
  • The sleep science behind the first six months of life
  • What special considerations need to be taken when working with and supporting families during this delicate period.
  • Specialized instruction on how to evaluate families in the first six months
  • Guidance on how to assess when the baby is ready for sleep coaching based on current research and evidence-based strategies
  • Review of gentle sleep solutions and strategies that are developmentally appropriate, breastfeeding and attachment friendly and promote a solid foundation for sleep learning and long-term healthy sleep patterns.

This specialty training is designed to give Gentle Sleep Coaches the knowledge, education and all the tools and resources they need to successfully work with families of newborns through 5 months of age in a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate manner.