These five tips below will help you to identify your level of comfort with a prospective sleep consultant.
1. Provides directions, not suggestions.
You should always be in the driver seat when supporting your baby through change.
You should never be told things like:
- “If you don’t do as I say, I won’t work with you. No refund.”
- “It’s your fault your baby is not sleeping.”
- “We didn’t accomplish your goal because you aren’t doing as I say.”
Sadly, these are real, actual things that parents I’ve worked with were told by gentle sleep consultants.
It is not okay for anyone to speak to you this way, and DEFINITELY not okay for it to come from someone who you hired to help you.
2. Overnight text support.
I get it.
It sounds very supportive for your sleep consultant to stay up all night with you to provide support in your utmost moment of need.
However, I believe that creating a clear plan to follow and empowering the parent to handle the situation in the moment means that overnight text support is not required.
It also conflicts with building the confidence of tapping into one’s own parenting instincts.
If text-based support is encouraging you to ignore your instincts and do something that doesn’t feel right, that is a huge red flag.
Being in a situation where you are ignoring what you feel you need to do can cause you to lose your sense of choice and control which is a recipe for potential trauma.
3. Pre-made sleep plan and schedules.
This is a red flag because unless the sleep consultant is also a psychic.
How would they know what you and your baby will need days or weeks in advance? They won’t.
Anyone who knows anything about babies knows that they are all different.
Babies born into the exact same family can be completely different too.
There’s no possible way to have a schedule or plan solely based on a baby’s age, that would be suitable for every baby.
4. Guarantees results.
This is extra concerning if the results are guaranteed in a specific number of nights or days.
Let’s go back to asking the sleep consultant whether they are also psychic.
Some babies will do something in a few nights while others need weeks. Not because your baby is broken, but because of biology. Simply that every baby is different.
Your consultant should be able to estimate the amount of time needed to get to your goal, but not guarantee it.
5. Doesn’t feel right.
If you feel anxious rather than excited to start implementing the plan…
If you feel anything but confident and clear…
If you start implementing the plan and feel like you want to run, hide or freeze…
You don’t have to keep at it.
Trust your parenting senses. They are there for a reason.
There’s always more than one way to accomplish your goals.
A truly gentle sleep consultant will work with you to figure out a way to your goal that makes you feel empowered, confident, and calm at every step of the way.