I was you a couple of years ago, I remember hiding under the bed to cry, looking for someone or something to help me put my life back together, had lost weight, was constantly fighting with my partner, angry most of the time and feeling I had no options. I remember looking through the window and thinking: are all the parents in the same position as I was – how do they do it? I was in the darkest time of my life and could not go on living like that.
At some point my mom gave me Kim’s book, Good Night, Sleep Tight, her method made sense and for once in a long time, it felt like there was some light at the end of the tunnel. Given my state, I needed someone to literally hold my hand and help me walk through it. I found a coach that was certified by Kim, hiring her was one of the best decisions we have made in our journey as parents, it allowed me to finally be the mother I wanted to be for my son.
To be honest, at the beginning I thought we were only doing it for me. I thought I was the one who needed to sleep but it turned out that my whole family, especially my son benefited from it as much as I did. He also deserved quality of sleep and once he had it we all started to thrive.
After my second child was born, I decided to get certified to be a Gentle Sleep Coach. The program is the first and most extensive professional sleep coach training and certification available.
The program involves over 80 hours of training with a faculty panel. 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 counselling and child development, sleep science and behavioural modification techniques to help parents of children age 0 to 6 years old, secure attachment theory, and support for the breastfeeding mother.
The training consisted of lectures from top specialists:
- Dr. Shoshana Bennett, author and leading specialist on Postpartum Depression
- Medical Conditions and Sleep Apnea in Children led by Dr. Lewis Kass
- GERD and Sleep led by Dr. Anthony Loizides, pediatric gastroenterologist
Additionally an exclusive advanced training specifically focused on how to gently work with babies 0-5 months of age.
- 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
- Specialised 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.