Becoming a parent is a life-altering experience. The simplicity of your day fades into a distant memory as you navigate life with your new little one. And while you wouldn’t have it any other way, there is no denying that parenting can be challenging, particularly if you struggle with lack of sleep. You may need to consider hiring a sleep consultant.
Many parents accept that sleep deprivation is part of the journey and will likely hear warnings about it before their baby arrives. But “exhausted mommy” does not have to become one of your titles or hashtags. Indeed, babies are biologically wired to wake up throughout the night, and it is normal for them to need you to respond, but there are ways to navigate these sleep challenges, and a sleep consultant could be the answer for you.
There is No Single Sleep Solution
While countless books and resources are available on infant sleep, every child is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But when parents take to the internet or their local moms’ group, they often receive guidance like the following:
- “You just have to let your baby cry it out; that worked for mine.”
- “Crying it out is harmful; just co-sleep, and your baby won’t wake up as much.”
- “Don’t let your baby develop bad habits from day one; they will sleep like a dream.”
Unfortunately, advice like this is often anecdotal and based on what worked for one individual child with a different temperament and family dynamic than your baby. But parents must navigate these early years with an approach to sleep based on their baby’s temperament and unique characteristics.
Like many other parents, I felt lost when figuring out my baby’s nap schedule, nightly wakings, and sleepy cues, and I had no idea where to turn for this information. If you are in a similar situation, you may have considered hiring a professional to help get your baby on track with sleep. If so, consider some things as you weigh your options.
What to Look for with a Sleep Consultant
Inviting a stranger into your life to work with your family can create anxiety. Many people are private and may be reluctant to ask for help. But it’s essential to remember that challenges with sleep are common, and getting professional help can set the foundations of healthy sleep hygiene for years to come. The key is finding the right sleep consultant for you and your family.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing a consultant.
- Certification. Ensure the consultant has undergone a certification program to practice evidence-based methods and is not merely relying on their personal experience.
- Collaboration. Working with a consultant committed to collaborating with you and your family is critical. A successful program is about teamwork.
- Philosophy. If you have strong opinions on sleep training philosophies, you’ll want to ensure you select a consultant aligned with your beliefs.
- Experience. Explore the consultant’s testimonials and reviews to get a feel for how long they have been practicing and their reputation.
Hiring a Sleep Consultant
It’s 3 a.m., your little one is up crying, you are utterly exhausted, and you find yourself scrolling through sleep tips and routines online. Again. But you have read all the baby sleep books and the information, and nothing is working.
Many parents wait until they reach a point of desperation before contacting a sleep consultant, and that’s okay. However, the earlier you get your little one to practice healthy sleep habits, the better. So please don’t feel like you must reach the end of your rope to seek professional advice. You can hire a consultant at any time for support.
Understand the Program and Price
The cost of hiring a sleep consultant can vary greatly. Every family’s situation differs, and a consultant can tailor a program to your unique requirements. Many consultants offer a free initial consultation to discuss your specific needs and potential costs. So be sure to ask questions and get a clear idea of the program and price range.
What Questions to Ask
The relationship you develop with a sleep consultant is crucial to a successful outcome. You must trust your instincts and choose someone who feels right. Use the free consultation that many consultants offer as an opportunity to get a sense of their philosophy and personality to help you decide whether you will feel comfortable working with them. As mentioned, this is also a great chance to explore the type of programs a consultant offers and the potential costs.
Here are five questions you should ask when hiring a consultant.
- What philosophy or methods do you use?
- Is the program virtual or in-home?
- Will you personalize the program to the unique needs of our situation?
- What is the cost of the program?
- How long is the program, and do you offer follow-up support?
These are just suggestions to help you get started. Be sure to create a list of your own questions that are specific to your concerns and circumstances.
How Long Does It Take to Get Your Child to Sleep?
If a consultant promises to have your little one sleeping through the night in a week, that’s a red flag. Every child and family situation is different, and the length of time to achieve your sleep goals will also depend on how consistent you are with the program. Many parents will see significant progress within a week of working with a sleep consultant, and with consistency and support, you may experience complete success within a month.
Ways a Sleep Consultant Can Help
Parenting is a wondrous experience but filled with challenges, including sleep. There is no shortage of books, blogs, and well-meaning advice from family and friends, but a strategy that works for one child may fall flat with another. So it is no wonder parents become confused, lose confidence, and forget that they know their little ones best.
Working with a sleep consultant can provide a personalized program for your little one’s personality, developmental level, and family circumstances. And working together can ensure everyone in the family gets the rest they need.
Hiring a sleep consultant can help you rebuild your confidence as they work with you to create a program for your child’s unique needs. Quality sleep is crucial, so investing in professional support may be worth it and will contribute to your family’s overall health and well-being for years to come. So, if you’ve been considering hiring a consultant, pick up the phone and ask questions. I promise you won’t regret it.