There aren’t a lot of certainties in life, however, sleepless nights and feeling tired once you have a baby is somewhat a given. Babies are a lot of work and they don’t usually sleep very well, so, we don’t either. Your sleep schedule becomes napping whenever the baby’s napping and you can’t remember when was the last time you slept for eight hours straight.
What if we told you that it doesn’t have to be that way? If you’re not certain what are we on about, perhaps you haven’t heard about sleep consultants. Yes, there are good people out there in the world who are willing and able to help you and your newborn sleep better.
Many are quick to dismiss the idea of hiring a sleep consultant and are just prepared not to sleep for a few months or years, but if you’re not in the mood to look like a zombie for a long time, maybe you should stick around with us and learn a thing or two about sleep consultants.
How Do I Know I Need A Toddler Sleep Consultant?
The answer to this question differs depending on the parent and their sleep deprivation threshold. Many simply believe that babies don’t sleep well and long and won’t consider hiring a specialist unless they feel overwhelmed or constantly tired. In general, for the first 6 months of a baby’s life there’s not much you can do other than lull them back to sleep. However, if the baby is still waking up every couple of hours, not napping, won’t fall asleep, etc. – it might be the time to call for help. Both you and your child will benefit from this decision.
How Early Can I Start?
Like we’ve said – by the time baby is 6 months old, you should have a general idea of whether you can count on your baby to sleep through the night. However, that’s not to say that you can’t start earlier than that. There are virtually no limitations as to how early can you start working with a sleep consultant, so if feel that you should start after only a month – you’re free to do so.
In general, you can start working on your child’s sleep routines after only two weeks, though it is important to note that any ‘let them cry it out’ methods shouldn’t really be applied unless the baby is at least three months old. Also, some parents even consult with sleep consultants prior to the baby being born so they can come in the whole parenthood game well-prepared.
What Do They Do?
Many people wonder what do toddler sleep consultants actually do because it’s not like they can advise a one-year-old on how to fall back asleep once it wakes up. Well, there is more than one method and more than one approach that is practiced. Some would practice the self-soothing or crying-it-out method, while the others are focused on developing a more personalized approach based on your child’s personality and character.
Now, the whole process usually starts with the phone call where the specialist would try and get the know the parents and the child and get familiar with the sleep troubles. In some cases, that’s all that needs to be done and in some cases, the consultants will do the in-person meetings and get a better feel of the baby and get a better assessment of the situation.
Upon that, you’ll be informed on how to proceed and how to get the sleep schedule back in order. If you’re interested in a more detailed explanation of the process you can read more here. Just don’t expect anyone to come in and put your baby to sleep instead of you, that’s not what consultants do.
How Do You Choose The Right One?
Deciding on the right one for you and your family is by no means an easy task. There are a lot of things to consider. Do you want a session over the phone or are you interested in a hands-on, in-person approach tailored to your kid? Does the method used by the sleep consultant match your parenting style? How much does it cost and how long will it last?
All of these are different from one place to another. Some are quick, some last for 3 months. Some offer check-ups for a few months, others end with the first call.
The good thing about it is, most of them offer a 15-minute phone call to inform yourself on the whole process, ask the questions you want to ask, and have a conversation about whether you actually need a whole program or are there just a few minor tweaks you need to do in order to make things perfect.
Also, we’ve mentioned the approach not sitting right with your parenting style. As we’ve said, some of them rely strongly on cry-it-out, or affectionately known self-soothing method and that might just be too much for you. There are a lot of things to consider, but we’re confident you can find the right one with a little bit of research.
Are They Medical Professionals?
Once again, the answer to this question varies. In some instances, sleep consultants must be nurses, but it’s not always a requirement. Having a nurse as a sleep consultant is a good thing because a trained medical professional certified in PALS can spot some potential problems that are causing sleep troubles. Luckily, there are places online such as NHCPS where you can get certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support and be more qualified as a nurse practitioner.
How Much Does A Sleep Consultant Cost?
Once again, there is no one answer to this question – the prices will vary on a number of factors. They will vary based on where you live, what kind of service are you searching for, what kind of approach are you in for, and so on. If you want to talk about range, it goes anywhere from $70-80 for an online or telephone course or session to about $800-1000 for a three-month, hands-on program.
Finally, we have to say that no matter if your child is 6 months, 2 years or 5 years old – sleep troubles shouldn’t be disregarded. Everyone benefits from a night of quality sleep and if you start early and you build a good foundation from an early age – you’re golden.