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Sleep Consultants - what do they do?

People often think that sleep training their child involves leaving their baby to cry alone. Misconceptions like this mean that many parents are hesitant to seek some support to help teach our little people how to fall asleep independently.


So what exactly is a sleep consultant? In short, a qualified sleep coach who is there to educate, support and encourage you to create healthy sleep habits for your baby.


My role as a sleep consultant is to support and educate parents about all things sleep. The science behind sleep, hormones, biological sleep windows and your child’s sleep environment is amazing. If we can learn about the reasons why children need to sleep at certain times of the day, and how their bodies are biologically and physically best set up to do this, then we can work with them to provide these opportunities. There is nothing more disheartening than feeling helpless at settling your baby or trying to understand what it is that they need. As a sleep consultant I understand when a baby is neurologically ready to change their sleep pattern and also the importance of ensuring baby and parent get the sleep they need to tackle day to day life and all it brings.


Sleep coaching involves looking at the bigger picture. It’s more than just identifying that your baby is catnapping, feeding to sleep or needing to be rocked or held for all sleeps. I look at their age, developmentally where they are at, their weight and how often they are feeding. Are they having solids? Breastmilk, formula or a mix? Are there any medical conditions to be aware of? What are the family commitments; does Mum need to drop and pick up older sibling at pre school or school? How can we work around these day-to-day activities to ensure that baby is getting the sleep they need without adding any extra stress to Mum and this adventure we know as parenting!


Why sleep train?


If you are happy to feed, rock, pat or shush your baby to sleep and that works for your family then great! There’s nothing wrong with what you are doing. There is no such thing as a bad habit. You are creating a loving and physically dependent sleep association. It is likely that your baby will rely on you to provide this association each time that they need to fall asleep and each time they wake between sleep cycles and can’t get back to sleep themselves. If you don’t want to continue providing this parent assisted sleep association or it is no longer working for you, then that’s where a sleep coach can help.


"If we can learn about the reasons why children need to sleep at certain times of the day, and how their bodies are biologically and physically best set up to do this, then we can work with them to provide these opportunities".

I have a holistic approach to sleep training which includes reviewing their environment, their feeding and nutrition, their temperament and current developmental stage and also your parenting style. I am a massive advocate for gentle sleep training; being responsive to your baby’s needs with both in the room and out of the room sleep methods. Sleep training will involve some tears; crying is how your baby communicates! They are telling you that they are tired, frustrated and trying to fall asleep but haven’t quite mastered it on their own yet. Using a settling method allows you to teach them how to fall asleep and resettle themselves without physically doing it for them. This emotional support is so important, and something you will continue to offer your child as they grow and develop. Much like when they fall over at the playground and graze their knee – we can’t take away the pain but we can offer emotional support and respond to their needs.


A sleep consultant is also there for the parents – to support and encourage them to learn about their child’s needs and understand the advice given around nutrition, sleep environment, routines and settling. Working with parents and being available to answer any questions whilst encouraging them to be patient and consistent is invaluable.



Babies are not robots; they will have developmental phases such as feeling anxious at being alone or around new people as well as physical phases such as crawling or being unwell. These are all normal parts of your child’s development. However; if they have learned how to fall asleep and resettle themselves then they won’t need assistance in doing so during these phases. Of course, they may need some extra cuddles and to have their love cup filled during the day but they don’t physically rely on being assisted to sleep or resettled like those who haven’t quite established this themselves.


If you need any additional information or support please feel free to contact me at amy@littledreamers.co.nz to book in a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to talk about what is happening for your baby and how we help.

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