So your baby isn’t sleeping…you have read every book, tried every bit of advice given- from the lady at the grocery store to great grandma Betty and you are finding that one day rocking and shhhhhhhh-ing like a vacuum cleaner in your baby’s ear works…the next day it doesn’t….but wait….singing and rocking at the same time work…so you try this for a day until it stops working…one day baby sleeps for 5 hours, the next day for 30 minutes. You throw in the spit up covered towel and are finally ready to explore hiring a sleep consultant (good choice!) because your head is about to pop off.
At this stage of the game, I know it is so hard to think about making one more flippin’ decision when your brain is like mush, you haven’t even thought about what to make for dinner and it is 5 pm and when you have had all of 6 hours sleep in the past 2 days!
But if I can offer some encouragement to take some time and do a bit of homework to find the right sleep consultant for your family, it will offer you the most rewarding and ultimate experience.
When choosing whom you are going to work with, it is so important you connect with this person. You ultimately need to feel a high level of trust, confidence and they need to understand and acknowledge you, your family, and the things that are important to you while achieving your child’s sleep goals. This isn’t about choosing what toppings you want on your pizza or if you want the black and white striped Lululemon hoodie or the solid pink …it is about choosing a professional who will be working closely with you and your little one- your most precious wee little person whom you love to pieces! So, in a nutshell- it’s a BIG, BIG decision and one that should not be taken lightly or chosen by a simple web search done at 4 am when your baby is sucking on your boob for the 5th time that night.
What to look for when choosing a sleep consultant:
1. What training and credentials does this person have?
Did they take a 1-day course? A 2-week online program? Did an industry leader train them? If so, WHO and how reputable are they? Do they receive ongoing mentorship? Did they just have 6 children of their own and read every sleep book and start a business? These are all things you should be aware of. After all, you wouldn’t choose a photographer for your wedding and trust them to capture one of the biggest days and moments in your life if they just bought a fancy camera at Costco and read an online tutorial would you?
2. What method does this consultant use? Ask them what their philosophy is.
Are they a fan of Ferber? What does their practice involve?
3. An informative and professional website that gives you a good vibe.
It is amazing how part of the connection process starts with the look and feel of a website. We as humans are drawn to colour, fonts, styles and we automatically start to judge. It’s just what we do. How do you feel when you click on the consultant’s site? Does it look hokey? Are their spelling errors? Is the information clear?
4. Does this person have recent testimonials to share?
Is he or she willing to provide phone numbers incase you want to chat with previous clients? A good sleep consultant will have references for you to call if you ask.
5. When you call or email, do you get a prompt reply or call back if you leave a message?
You want to be sure this person is going to get back to you if you work with her. When you are a tired mom and coaching a wee one, you need to know someone has your back and is going to be there for you within a reasonable time.
6. When you do connect, do you feel as though this person is listening and is knowledgeable?
This is a highly personal investment and whomever you choose to work with should be gathering as much detail and asking as many questions as possible. Your baby is not like every other baby out there and a good consultant is very thorough and wants every detail in order to provide an effective sleep plan that suits your baby and your family.
7. Does this professional offer any sort of guarantee if the program and service they provide does not work?
Any reputable consultant, just like any good business big or small will stand behind their product or service.
I am going to conclude by reminding you to never underestimate the power of connection with this person. This WILL be the key to success. It should not be about how much it costs (but who’s kidding who…it always is to some degree!)- but it should be about VALUE and what you get for the price you pay.
Will a piece of paper with some bullets on what to do make you feel confident and trustworthy? Will a strict “here’s how it is gonna be!” TV Nanny kind of women going to make you feel good? Are you going to feel confident working with someone who rushes you or doesn’t let you make your own decisions? Or a consultant fires you off a generic plan via email, will it give you what you need to be successful?
Bottom line- trust your gut. Let the connection and overall vibe guide you to choose the best coach for you and your incredibly precious family and lack of sleep will soon be a thing of the past.
Well Rested President & Mommy
Regional Director Of Canada for The Association of Professional Sleep Consultants