Should You Hire a Sleep Coach?
If you have a new baby, you’re probably a little obsessed with something you didn’t previously to have to think too much about: sleep. Whether you’re stressing about your baby only wanting to sleep on your chest, waking over and over throughout the night, or you’re just plain tired yourself, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do to improve your nighttime slumber situation. While time will certainly improve whatever sleep challenges you’re experiencing right now, some parents are turning to sleep coaches to help their babe (and them!) get some much-needed rest right away.
Sleep coaches are usually individuals with expertise and a background in infant sleep. They offer a range of services that can include things as simple phone consultation to as in-depth as an overnight boot camp for parents and babies. If you’re considering a sleep coach and wondering if their services are worth the sometimes sky-high prices, ask yourself these questions first.
How old is my baby?
If you’ve got a brand new baby on your hands, chances are no sleep consultant or coach in the world will be able to get them to sleep through the night. Young babies have small everything – including tummies that are simply too small to stay full overnight, so they tend to wake frequently to eat. As hard as it is to deal with these frequent wakings, the only way to manage them is to feed and comfort your baby when they wake and give them the time they need to grow into someone who is more capable of sleeping for longer stretches.
Is my baby’s sleep developmentally normal?
Even if your baby isn't quite brand new anymore, if they are still only a few months old, chances are their sleep and waking habits are normal even if they leave you exhausted. Little babies are wired to wake frequently for food and comfort and, again, no sleep coach is going to be able to get a young baby to sleep through the night just because their parents want them too.
How is my baby’s sleep impacting me?
If your baby is older and you're feeling drained from their constant waking, a sleep coach might just be right for you. While no sleep coach will be able to get your baby to stop all night waking, they might be able to help you develop a routine that gives your baby what they need to feel comfortable staying asleep for longer stretches. It’s normal to feel like a zombie when you have a newborn but, if you’re worried about how sleeplessness is impacting you, your work, or your other kids, and your baby is no longer new, a sleep coach might be able to help you get the rest you need to feel better.
What are you hoping for?
This last question is an important one to ask yourself before you make any parenting-related choices. When it comes to hiring a sleep consultant or sleep coach, it’s important to make sure your expectations are in check before you decide what to do. Again, if you expect a sleep coach to give you back that just-slept-in-on-a-Saturday feeling you had before your baby came, chances are you’re going to be disappointed. If, however, what you want is someone who can help you develop good routines and meet your baby's needs so they can sleep longer stretches or wake less frequently, a sleep consultant might be worth it!