Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions page! I’ve taken some of my most asked questions and provided you with answers that will hopefully help you on your journey to finding better sleep either for yourself or your child. Just click on each tab to see the answers. And of course you’re always welcome to email me with your specific questions!
What exactly is a sleep consultant and how does the process work?
A sleep consultant or coach is someone who helps you identify the sleep issues, create a custom plan, and provide support throughout the program length.
Children: When it comes to children, I have child sleep packages for prenatal/breastfeeding, newborns, babies, toddlers/preschoolers, school aged (ages 5 through 12yrs), and teens. With all of these packages, I gather lots of information in the form of a questionnaire, then I use that information to write a custom sleep plan for that child/family. We then set up a day/time to have our 1.5-2 hour consultation (via phone, video, or in-home), where I will fully go over the plan and answer all of your questions. After that you will start the two or three week program (depending on your child’s age/package) with my help, guidance, and support.
We will have a predetermined set of phone calls and an unlimited email/text support so that you can get to your end result as quickly as possible. This support is THE most important piece of the puzzle. Don’t get me wrong, getting a customized sleep plan is awesome! But unfortunately, there’s no way to prepare for all the “what if” questions, which is where I come in. My goal is to not only help you get your child sleeping independently, but it’s also to educate you so that you can handle any future sleep issues.
Adults: When I work with adult clients it works similarly, in that there’s a questionnaire, custom sleep plan, and a 1-1.5 hour phone or video consultation. With the adult sleep packages, I have either a 4, 6, or 8 week program. After the initial consultation, we would speak via phone each week afterwards to review your past week and introduce new action steps for you to work on the next week. As a sleep coach, I look at all facets of your life to see why you’re not sleeping well, because poor sleep is often a symptom of other things going on in your life. So I take a holistic approach so you can understand the WHY and together we can work on correcting it. It’s often a combination of things affecting your sleep, which is why the program can last up to 8 weeks long.
Do your children’s packages/program involve cry-it-out (CIO)?
This is hands-down the #1 question asked by potential clients/parents, and I completely understand why! When parents ask their pediatrician, research online, post a question on social media, or ask their friends or family about sleeping, they often find or hear info that is pretty scary! You’re usually told to “just let your baby cry until they fall asleep” or “you should bed-share with your child until they want to stop”. Sleep train or co-sleep? What’s a parent to do?! Before I dive into the topic of crying, let me first say that I am not against co-sleeping (either room- or bed-sharing) at all. My stance is this… if it works for the WHOLE family then that’s awesome! But if someone in the family is unhappy with the situation for whatever the reason then it’s best to look at other options. And this could mean that dad is sleeping on the couch or in another room and mom and baby are sharing the bed. Might be ok for mom and baby but not ok for dad. Or maybe it’s that your child has recently become super restless while sleeping with you and now it’s not working well for anyone. Again, if it’s working well for your family, then go ahead and co-sleep (safely of course)! If it’s not working well for you, then keep reading as we talk about crying…
There’s a very good chance that there will be tears. Why? Well, because you’re asking your child to do something completely new and foreign to them and that’s confusing. For young children, they don’t have a vocabulary to talk to you about things, so they will cry. For toddlers, preschoolers, and some young school-aged kids, they may have the vocabulary but that doesn’t mean that they like and approve of your new sleep choices so they will cry. The important thing to note though is that there are different types of crying and that not all crying is created equally. As a parent, you’re well aware that a tantrum cry looks and sounds different than an “I have a boo-boo”, “I miss you”, “I’m hungry” or “I have a soiled diaper” cry. With sleep training, your child is not sure what you’re wanting them to do and why. I work with parents to help their child understand what’s happening and why. Sleep training should really be thought of as sleep teaching, because your job as a parent should be to teach your child how to do what you’re asking him to do. Remember, “going to sleep” means something different for you than it does your child right now, so you have to actually teach them your version.
Let’s talk about CIO. Firstly, I’d like to say that the term “cry-it-out” has become a catch phrase lately for sleep training in general and that’s not a very accurate depiction. Sleep training is not once-size-fits-all. As you likely know, there are many different types of programs and books on the market today to help you sleep train your child. There are extremely gentle plans, more harsh ones, and a bunch in between. Trying to understand all of these programs can make any person’s head spin, let alone a sleep-deprived parent’s! This is where I come in. I have read all the books, I know the pros and cons, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients, and I’ve used a few methods personally, so I can develop a custom sleep plan for your child based on this knowledge, as well as your child’s temperament and your parenting style. The best part is that if for some reason the plan I create isn’t working for your child, I’ll see that (thanks to your logging your child’s sleep daily) and be able to come up with Plan B on the spot. This is the part that often has parents failing when they try sleep training on their own. They try something for a day or two, feel like it might not be working, and then they quit because they don’t have a back up plan. I’ll be able to tell you if it’s truly working or not, and then I’ll give you your Plan B and support you through that.
While there may be tears, I want your child to have as few as possible while getting you to your end result in the shortest amount of time as possible. Sleep training is not a toxic, irreversible stress, as it’s more of a tolerable one. This would be similar to your child having an injury. It’s upsetting to them, which of course causes an increase in cortisol (ie stress hormone), but they have you there to support and love them which makes this experience tolerable. The child’s brain architecture has not been altered in any way because of this short-term stress. This is the same for sleep training. It’s not going to cause long-term damage or relationship issues with your child. Your doctor wouldn’t be recommending that you do sleep training if they thought there were long-term, harmful effects, and neither would I. When I sleep trained my twins at 7 months old, one was pretty easy and one was not. We got through it eventually, but it was a tough process for sure (you can read my Why I Became A Sleep Consultant blog to learn more about that journey). My girls are now 8 years old, and they are both loving, sweet children. In fact, the one that gave me the hardest time for sleep training then is my “eager to please” child now. She and I continued to have a loving relationship even through the hard times. That being said, I certainly would have loved to have a sleep consultant help me through that tough time, but I didn’t know they existed until years later!
Like I said, there are many different types of programs out there, each with their own pros and cons. It’s extremely important that you figure out what will work best for YOUR child. Not everything you read or hear is going to apply to you and your family. And if you’re in doubt or have questions about this, I am happy to help you navigate it all!
What makes you qualified to help me?
-As a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant, I am certified through the Sleep Sense program, spending many months and about 100 hours learning about the process of children’s sleep and how to help parents. Since then I have continued obtaining sleep education through other sleep books, courses and educational series.
-As a Certified Integrative Adult Sleep Coach, I am certified through the International Maternity and Parenting Institute. I spent more than 4 months and 100 hours learning about sleep in general (specifically adult-related sleep issues), what factors can affect our sleep, and how to resolve sleep issues. As with children, I am continually reading books, journal articles, and educational blogs and taking other courses to further my education and learning.
-As a Certified Lactation Counselor, I am certified through the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice. I spent around 40 hours learning about breastfeeding and human milk production. I use this knowledge to help breastfeeding mothers feel more secure about night weaning their babies (depending on their age). I also monitor feeding sessions through sleep/feed logs for those nursing at night, so that I can ensure babies are transferring their night time calories to the day and not just losing the calories and that mom remains comfortable throughout the process to maintain milk supply.
-As a Certified Infant Massage Educator, I am certified through the International Association of Infant Massage. I spent about 50 hours learning how to educate parents on the many benefits of massage and to teach parents how to massage their babies. There are many benefits of infant massage, including the fact that children who are massaged regularly sleep better! Massage is a great way for parents to better bond with their babies, which reduces stress and also helps with sleep.
-I have been trained for more than 30 hours on infant and child mental health by the Child Sleep Institute in Toronto, Canada. I want to ensure parents that I understand about cortisol levels and stress in babies when it comes to sleep training/teaching. I would never ask parents to do something that I felt was unsafe or would cause long-term, lasting effects on their child’s mental health or emotional well-being.
-I am a facilitator of the Love & Logic Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun™ curricula. When it comes to sleep, power struggles play a very important role, especially with toddlers and preschoolers. It’s important that parents realize that their children’s wants are different from their needs and to have the tools they need to be able to communicate effectively with their little ones. This course is an eye-opening one, which will give parents the confidence and skills they need in order to have a peaceful home!
-I am the East Coast Regional Director for the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants, which is an international organization for sleep consultants so that we can stay current with any and all sleep education.
-I graduated Summa Cum Laude from DeSales University with a dual bachelor’s degree in both marketing and management.
-Last, but certainly not least, I am married and have four wonderful children who are my muses. They are truly my inspirations! My oldest was one of those “perfect” children who you sometimes hear about that has always just been a good sleeper. She really set me up though for my middle two children who are identical twins. I naively thought they would follow their big sister but no such luck. In fact, my journey with having to sleep train them at 7 months is what led me to this profession! Finally, with my last baby I didn’t do things perfectly but I was thankfully able to get him to stop nursing to sleep by 4 months and sleeping on his own. He was pretty easy as a baby, but he’s managed to keep me on my toes since then with other sleep issues throughout the years!
Between all four of my children, I’ve experienced sleep training, sleep walking, sleep talking, night terrors, nightmares, regressions, illnesses, injuries, developmental milestones, breastfeeding issues, and more. I understand about twins and room sharing. I also know what it’s like to have a child throw up from being upset (I call that an emotional vomiter and I can help you with a gentle plan). And I’ve been a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, and now a work-at-home mom! My point is that I get it! I have been where most parents are at least once in my life, so I know and understand where you’re coming from. This gives me the unique ability to have both the professional AND personal know-how when it comes to helping your children or you sleep better. If you’d like to learn more or talk to me about how I might be able to help you or your family, please feel free to schedule a free 15 minute phone assessment!
Do you have a payment plan?
Normally, clients will pay the entire amount upfront using a credit card, PayPal funds, or by check so that we can complete the program start to finish without any potential interruptions. However, if requested, we can split the payment in half. The first half would cover my review of your questionnaire answers, creating a customized sleep plan for you or your child, and conducting the consultation. The second half of the payment will cover your follow up phone calls and unlimited email/text support over the weeks that follow the plan’s implementation. Because it’s helpful to start the plan and subsequent support portion soon after conducting the consultation, you’ll want to plan on paying the second half within about 2 weeks of the first payment so we can get your family all sleeping well as quickly as possible. Also you can try submitting the paid receipt through your flex spending account, as it may be reimbursable.
Can you guarantee my success?
While I wish I could guarantee your success either with your child or yourself, I unfortunately cannot. I don’t have control over what will happen once you start or how closely you’re following my instructions. But I do have control over what information and support I give you. What you’re paying for with hiring me is a service consisting of a custom sleep plan, follow up phone calls, and email/text support (extra documents and membership given for children packages). Therefore, I can guarantee you that I will provide you with the written plan and many hours of phone and email support, as my packages each indicate. While the definition of success is different for each person, I will say that when you follow my steps and plan, you should see positive changes and results. And I guarantee you that I will be with you every step of the way throughout your journey!
What if the plan you give isn’t working?
Like I mentioned above, the support part of the package is the most valuable. Why? Because when something’s not working well, I have the skills and expertise to change course and provide you with new options on the spot.
Children: When parents try sleep training on their own, they are often misguided about what’s working and what isn’t. Many will stop after one night because it wasn’t what they had imagined. While they didn’t know what to exactly expect, they know they didn’t expect it to be that hard so they give up thinking that it just didn’t work for their child. They give up because there wasn’t a Plan B to turn to if Plan A didn’t work out. But when you hire a sleep consultant to help you, they should have Plan B, C, and maybe even D to help you get to your end result. There’s no giving up because Plan A didn’t pan out. Nope, instead I will reach into my wealth of knowledge and come up with another course of action. There are quite a few choices that can be made when one path isn’t working, but the trick is knowing what they are and which one to choose. I use your child’s sleep logs to determine if something is truly working or not. This is your child’s way of talking to us! Again, if it’s not working we will quickly change the plan, and I will walk you through the changes so we can see immediate progress.
Adults: The same is true when I’m working with adult clients, though the plan is a bit different. With children we’re teaching them how to sleep independently, but with adults you already know how to do this. What I’m helping you with is the ability to understand the different things that can affect your sleep and how you can change some of them. A big part is education. I’m here to educate you about things that you might have ever thought about as having an effect on your sleep. Your plan is going to be more about making small changes each week. That being said, there may be a few things I show/tell you that you don’t feel are working well for you and that’s fine. You would tell me, and I would look for a replacement exercise if applicable or you might just skip that. Adult sleep plans are extremely custom, so changing or tweaking something is very easy to do.
Do you have a refund policy?
I only have a refund policy if it’s before we’ve had the consultation. If I’ve created your plan already but you cancel right before the consultation, then you would get 75% of your payment refunded (25% would be kept for questionnaire review and plan creation). If we’ve already had the consultation but you’ve not gotten started yet (ie we’ve not had any follow up calls or email/text support), then you would get 50% back. Once you start the plan implementation and support has been started, then unfortunately no refunds are given except in the case of an emergency or extenuating circumstances. To date, I have only had to do one partial refund and that’s because I am very thorough up front so clients know what they can expect. I am also super flexible with my plans and support, so I can help clients where they are at in their journey. My goal is to help you with your goals, however that may look.