Sleep Consultants – Why Are They Highly Sought After?
What makes sleep consultants a valued resource for parents?
A great sleep consultant can change a family’s entire life. Sleep deprivation is real, it’s debilitating and it has a significiant impact on the physical and mental health of exhausted parents.
And a sleep consultant can change all that by identifying the problems with your child’s sleep patterns, what needs to be changed and implement right sleep training method if needed.
Ultimately, leading to a better night’s sleep for the whole family.
And that’s what a baby sleep consultant can do for you.
How does the process work with a child sleep consultant?
Most infant sleep consultants now work remotely, rather than in home. However, some will still offer in home support for families who request it. At The Mummy & Daddy Sleep Consultant, we will mainly work remotely, but take it on a case by case basis.
They will assess the current sleep routines and sleep problems by requesting a sleep diary or questionnaire ahead of starting with you.
They will then have a consultation with you – by video or in person depending on their services – and in that consultation, they will ask more questions about the sleep diary, the current sleep problems and come up with the right sleep plan for your family.
What do sleep consultant charge?
This will vary depending on the sleep consultant, where they are based, their experience and their support model. Our prices are higher than the average but that reflects our experience in the number of clients we’ve worked with and also that we train new sleep consultants through our Training Academy.
We do also offer budget-friendly online sleep training courses which also include our high proven sleep training method Comforting Through Change™.
What is typically a sleep consultant’s background?
Typically sleep consultant come from any walk of life. Some have been a registered nurse, others have been midwives or worked as a health visitor.
However, they are highly qualified professionals in the areas of sleep and will be able to identify your sleep issues, provid expert advice in children’s sleep and work with you to get better sleep for the the whole family.
Which Sleep Training Methods will a sleep consultant use?
Every sleep consultant has a different way of working, and a level of flexibility is important so that they are always meeting the needs and sleep goals of their family.
For some families that may be a gentle approach only for their baby. For others, it may be about something much quicker.
Below are a list of the main sleep training techniques you would expect them to be using:
After completing the bedtime routine, parents leave their baby or toddler to settle themselves to sleep.
The parents don’t respond to their child’s cries whenever they are awake – even in the middle of the night – leaving them to settle to sleep and back to sleep on their own, irrespective of how long it takes or how upset they are.
This is an extinction sleep training method. We wouldn’t recommend you use a sleep consultant who uses this method. You wouldn’t be getting much value for your money!
The Ferber Method is like Cry It Out except that parents respond at set time intervals when their baby cries, which gradually increase after each interval until they fall asleep on their own.
These time intervals also increase night on night with the goal for the baby to learn to self-soothe with less and less support over the course of around 5-7 nights.
This is also extinction method and is often referred to as “controlled crying”.
PICK UP PUT DOWN METHOD
The Pick Up Put Down Method is an attempt at a ‘no-cry’ method as the parent will pick up their baby from the crib as soon as the baby’s crying. Once the baby is settled, they will put them back into the crib. If they cry again, the baby should be picked up and soothed again.
This is then repeated until the baby falls asleep on their own and is able to stay asleep.
THE FADING METHOD
A gentle sleep training method, parents rely on soothing techniques to help their child fall asleep.
These include cuddling, feeding, rocking, patting or singing with the aim that the child will start to reduce their need for the parent over time, becoming more independent around sleep and you can start ‘fading out’ those soothing techniques.
This is one of the graduated extinction sleep training methods. And many parents use this approach to try and avoid having to sleep train.
SLEEP TRAINING CHAIR METHOD
With this gentle method, the parent or caregiver will sit on a chair near the child’s cot or bed until they fall asleep.
No comfort is provided other than the reassurance that their loved one is close to them.
Each night, the parent or caregiver would move the chair further and further away until they eventually leave the room letting the child settle to sleep on their own.
This is another of the graduated extinction sleep training methods.
When you speak to any sleep consultancy to assess if you want to work with them, always ask them what approach they use.
Key Signs Your Baby is Ready for Sleep Training
Before you begin sleep training, it’s essential to recognise the signs that your baby is ready for it. Newborns don’t have a sense of day or night yet, so they aren’t able to keep to a sleep schedule or learn the skill of falling asleep independently. Whilst some sleep consultants start at 4 months, we don’t recommend until at least 5 months once the 4 month sleep regression has passed.
If your baby is showing signs of frequent night wakings, short naps and unable to self-soothe, it might be time to start thinking about working with a sleep consultant to help you get a well-deserved good night’s sleep.
Can I work with a sleep consultant if I am co sleeping?
This will depend on the sleep consultant. At The Mummy & Daddy Sleep Consultant we do, but that’s because we have a method – Comforting Through Change™ – that can support co sleeping.
We also have a support model that lasts long enough to support the more gradual change required for a co sleeping family. Some sleep consultants only offer 5-7 days of support.
Whichever sleep consultant you choose to work with, just make sure they are in line with your goals and values as a co sleeping family.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the success rate of sleep consultants?
Each sleep consultant will have their success rate. But generally that success rate will be high as long as the family commit to their plan and do it consistently.
If we could say one thing was more important than anything else when sleep training, it’s consistency. If you are consistent, your baby has a better understanding of what is expected of them.
What other things do I need to think about when choosing a sleep consultant?
You should look at their reviews and their experience. Social authority – their social media accounts, their Google reviews are a great indication of whether the sleep consultant has the experience you are looking for, and if they are capable of helping you.
We would also recommend that you speak to them first to ensure they provide you with the necessary confidence, that you connect with them, that they are calm and caring and that they have the extensive experience you need.
It can also help if they’ve been on the same journey as you so that you know they can relate and empathise.
Do they only work on nights or do they work on daytime sleep too?
They should absolutely work on naps as well as night time. If they are experienced, they will be able to assess if you start with days and nights at the same time, or whether to hold back on days to begin with to make sure sleep doesn’t get worse.
But they should always have daytime routine in their sleep plan given the importance of daytime sleep to overall night sleep.
Should I expect my baby to sleep through the night after working with a sleep consultant?
All babies are different and the vast majority should go longer stretches of sleep after working with a sleep consultant. Some will definitely sleep through the night, but obviously other factors influencing this need to be considered such as the child’s age and nutritional needs in the night.
How long will it take for it to work?
This will depend on the sleep training method used, but generally improvements can be made in a few days with overall change in about 2 weeks, give or take a few days.
Do sleep consultants work with toddlers?
Some do. We work with toddlers up to 5 years old but some sleep consultant prefer to work with babies. Others will work with toddlers, but only if they are in a cot.
How will sleep regressions mess impact progress?
Whilst sleep regressions can be impactful, having a baby who can self-soothe and knows how to sleep will make that sleep regression much more easy to navigate.
A good sleep consultant should also educate parents to be able to handle sleep regressions when they come, even if the support has ended.
Babies go through sleep regressions all of the time, so don’t let them put you off making change to your child’s sleep.
How can your sleep consultancy help?
As the UK’s leading sleep consultancy, we can help you in a few ways. We have our one-to-one coaching plans and also our online sleep courses. Have a look at our sleep plans here and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us and we will happily answer.