Many parents ask “Are you a cry-it-out proponent or family bed advocate? Do I have to stop breastfeeding to sleep coach my child, do I have to choose between two camps: co-sleeping/no crying or crib/cry-it-out?”

You do not have to pick a camp; this isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about what is working for you and your family.

It is true that the CIO method and the starker extinction methods can work well and a bit faster than gentler methods IF you as the parent can follow through consistently and for long enough.

The Gentle Sleep Coach 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 will damage their child emotionally or 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: for families who tried “Ferber” (controlled crying) and it didn’t work, and 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 nestled snugly with their parents. Or for families who did co-sleep for a few months to a few years and now want the family bed to revert back to the marital one.

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 all 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 pre-verbal then they will cry.

My goal is to have as little crying as possible. I encourage parents to be loving and responsive but to allow the child the room 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, health and 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!

Why should I invest in a Gentle Sleep Coach?

Gentle Sleep Coaching is for you if:

  • you’re overwhelmed by conflicting sleep advice and could use some judgement-free guidance to find a solution that aligns with your values and beliefs.

  • you want to gently teach your child how to fall asleep and stay asleep without leaving them to cry it out alone.

  • you want bedtime to be a bonding time, not a battleground

  • you want to give your child the best start in life, knowing that good sound sleep is imperative for learning, growth and well-being.

  • you are facing common sleep challenges like night wakings, difficulty falling asleep, early morning awakenings, crib-to-bed transitions or co-sleeping to sleeping alone.

  • your current sleep methods are no longer working and your family really needs to get some rest!

Gentle Sleep Shaping is for you if:

  • want to lay a solid foundation for healthy sleep habits right from the start

  • aim to make sleep training in the future much easier or possibly even unnecessary

  • wish to learn some gentle sleep shaping techniques without “crying it out” that slowly, gently get your baby ready for sleep coaching

  • desire to become more attuned to your baby’s unique cues and temperament giving you the confidence you need to soothe your baby and shape a great sleeper.

Know that as your Gentle Sleep Coach I am here to support you in this journey, to hold the vision of what’s possible and the faith you and your child will get there.

Answers to a few other commonly asked questions:

  • Breastfeeding is best, and it is never necessary to end breastfeeding in order to successfully sleep coach your child

  • You can continue to room share while sleep coaching.

  • I work with parents of children ages 6 months to 6 years old to gently sleep train. Babies under 6 months I will consult with parents on how to set up healthy sleep habits from the start and if appropriate how to gently shape their sleep.

The art of putting yourself to sleep is a priceless gift you can give to your child

and your entire family.

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