When it comes to sleep coaching many parents ask “Are you a cry-it-out (CIO) proponent or family bed advocate? Do I have to stop breastfeeding to sleep coach my child? Do I have to choose between: cosleeping/no crying or crib/cry-it-out?" I don't believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach; it’s about what works for your family.
The Gentle Sleep Coach (GSC) philosophy was developed by Kim West LCSW-C, The Sleep Lady®, because she found so many parents had difficulty following through with a sleep coaching program that they feared would damage their child emotionally or it filled them with so much guilt, they couldn’t follow through.
The GSC approach is a gentler alternative for families who emotionally or philosophically resist letting their babies cry it out. It is for families who tried “Ferber” (controlled crying) and it didn’t work. It is for families who let their baby cry-it-out earlier but now find it doesn’t help. It is also for families who believe in co-sleeping but find that their children aren’t really sleeping all that well, even with their parents. It is for families who co-slept for a few months to a few years and now want everyone in their own beds.
Can you guarantee “no crying” you might ask? No, no one really can. For example, if you as the parent have taught your child that the way to fall asleep is to be held to sleep for naps, bedtime and wakings and you decide that you want to change this, your child will naturally protest or resist this change. After all, they don’t know why you have changed your approach. If your child is preverbal, then they will cry, but you will be there with them while they are learning. My goal is to have as little crying as possible. I encourage parents to be responsive but to also allow the child to learn this vital life skill of putting themselves to sleep.
The parent responds and stays with their child and offers physical and verbal reassurance without putting the child to sleep. This supports the development of a secure attachment between parent and child.
I will work with you to create an individualized, step-by-step sleep plan that will factor in your parenting philosophy, your child’s age, temperament, mother’s well-being and the related family dynamics. And most importantly, I will support and coach you through the process from beginning to end- for night sleep and naps!