Certified Gentle Sleep Coach | Erica Shane Childbirth
The Gentle Sleep Coaching method (for babies 6mo +) is a fading out approach where I guide you to do less and less each day in order to help your child adjust to going to sleep on their own. We start exactly where you are, and we shape your plan together, based on your feeding and sleeping goals. The Gentle Sleep method is adaptable and can be successfully implemented into any family’s life. I have a tried and true method that I modify with each family, based on how baby is responding to the changes you are implementing. The approach is not a one-size-fits-all method but an achievable, step-by-step method that has a high success rate when – integrally - the child is healthy and parents are *consistent. Parents can be loving and responsive and at the same time give their child the room to master this essential skill of putting themself to sleep. The Gentle Sleep Coaching method provides proven, achievable and gentle sleep solutions to parents across the globe.
The Gentle Sleep Shaping program (for babies under 6mo) is for families who are looking for gentle coping skills for very young babies. Why typically wait until 6 months of age to help a baby to self-soothe? Not all babies under 6 months of age have the brain maturity to self soothe. There are a myriad of ways to help your young infant feel more rested during the day, and sleep better in general. Then...when your baby reaches closer to 6 months, they can learn to fall asleep without a crying-it-out method. It takes just a couple of weeks to help them gently let go of certain sleep associations.
Some helpful articles for you to explore:
Attachment Parenting and Baby Sleep Training: Can I have it all?
Helping babies cope with stress and learn to sleep
Consistency in sleep coaching
The Gentle Sleep Training Summary
The Gentle Sleep Coach Program is the first and most extensive professional sleep coach training and certification program available. The program involves over 80 hours of training with a faculty panel that includes 2 medical doctors, a psychologist, an attorney, lactation counselor, postpartum doulas and a family therapist.
Each coach must pass an exam and participate in case supervision with Kim West, LCSW-C (a.k.a. “the Sleep Lady”) who has been helping tired parents for 25+ years. Clinical supervision and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach.
Some of my training topics included:
- Basic counseling and child development
- Sleep science and behavioral modification techniques to help parents of children age 0 to 6 years old.
- Secure attachment theory
- Support for the breastfeeding mother
The training also consisted of lectures from top specialists, including:
- Postpartum Depression from Dr. Shoshana Bennett, author and leading specialist on Postpartum Depression
- Medical Conditions and Sleep Apnea in Children led by Dr. Lewis Kass, Director of Children’s Sleep Center
- GERD and Sleep led by Dr. Anthony Loizides, pediatric gastroenterologist
The Newborn to 5mo Training Summary
The GSC Program also includes an exclusive advanced training series specifically focused on how to gently work with babies 0-6 months of age. This program, which I have also completed, consists of over 40 hours of instruction and mentorship.
Some of the curriculum training topics include:
- In depth knowledge of the delicate nature of infants under 6 months of age and how to consider all elements of their well-being.
- Current evidence-based guidelines and instruction on how to evaluate the 0-6-month-old child and family and determine if the child is ready for sleep coaching (closer to 6mo).
- Gentle sleep solutions and strategies that are effective and developmentally appropriate for the younger baby.
This specialty training is designed to give coaches the knowledge, education and all the tools and resources they need to successfully work with families of babies 0-5 months of age in a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate manner.
FAQ’s around my practice
My baby has diagnosed reflux, can I start the coaching process?
Yes, as long as you have the Okay from your pediatrician and your baby's medication is at the right dosage and working well, we can help them get a better night's (and day's) sleep! We can briefly speak about this first, if you are apprehensive about their medical issues and temperament combined.
Is it possible to teach my child new sleep skills without any crying at all?
Some families experience very little crying, and some families experience more crying. Whenever you introduce a behavioral modification, you most likely will experience some crying, but you will *always be present and attending to the needs of your child. Your child may not "like" the changes and will most likely protest, and typically babies express their opinion by crying. Babies express this protest in a myriad of ways. Don't worry! For most babies, frequent pick ups in the beginning of coaching are common and very useful. For other babies, being picked up, talked to, held, or being close to them during the process can bring on more crying. When we work together, I look at all the factors (separation anxiety, milestones, temperament, and your parenting style) and we’ll go into coaching extremely mindful of all the factors. Every child's sleep issues factor in a lot of variables, and while looking at the entire picture, we can create a stress free coaching process. Sometimes the most crying and hardship stems from a baby not understanding and knowing what to expect from the parent (example: they will cry and cry very hard because they know they will eventually be held, fed, and even brought to the parent's bed). So when we begin our work, we will hit the reset on this inconsistent/crying cycle and move forward with more ease. Our work is to bring consistency and a gentle method that works. Older children may be more resistant to change because their problematic sleep patterns are more ingrained. More alert babies may be more upset because because they have a harder time shutting out the world so they can rest. We’ll cover all of this and cater the action steps to your unique baby.
Can I still nurse on demand and start the sleep coaching process?
I will work 100% with you and your breastfeeding goals in and around sleep. You can definitely feed your baby on demand during the day, and follow the recommended daytime sleep guidelines. I will make sure you are always positively supporting your supply. This is about you and your needs! My main goal is to help you and your baby get the rest you both need so that you can enjoy your time together, and your breast feeding relationship. At night, most clients decide to have set time feeds when trying to reduce the amount of feeds at night. Others feed when baby asks because they are only waking 1-2x anyway! It really depends on the child and my job is to help you navigate these decisions!
What if the sleep coaching doesn't work the way I hoped?
With hard work from you, and my hand-held guidance, you will see results! Every success will be celebrated and I will encourage you to keep up with the coaching. I ask each client to commit to this:
- Make sure each parent and/or caretaker is on board and in support of helping your baby get the sleep they need.
- Check in to see that there are no unresolved or undiagnosed medical issues.
- Seek support from an IBCLC or Pediatrician to be sure there are no lactation or feeding issues.
- Be consistent and follow the method and my daily advice
What if my child is teething?
During sleep coaching, children may be teething or have tummy disturbances. We can take this all into account as we decide on how to soothe your baby and when. A baby who is teething can be soothed by other soothing techniques other than breastfeeding. Even with teething (discomfort) disturbances, we can still teach your baby new sleep skills. Remember, there are so many goals when we start and even when we complete our time together, you go away with tools to conquer all the things that come up down the road.