When my children were babies (a while ago), there were two choices for sleep training: cry-it-out or gut-it-out. I knew that if I let them cry, it would go on for hours and they would never give up ever, ever.
At the time, there were no other choices. I honestly can't recommend just suffering through it. The wear-and-tear is real.
Sleep doesn't have to be all or nothing.
There is a middle ground.
I have a grounding in the research on sleep interventions and temperament and I know that alert/sensitive/intense children need a different approach (and so do their parents).
I focus on the reality of parenting "little livewires" because I've been there.
My philosophy about BABY + CHILD sleep
You get to decide what's a problem
There's no "right" or "wrong" —only what works and doesn't work for you. You may be so tired, you just need things to be "better." I can work with that.
No one's learning anything when they're hysterical.
The notion that learning is taking place when babies are hysterical just doesn't make sense. We want to nudge children into better patterns, not throw them into the deep end. Stepping in to help them manage big feelings is in our parent job description. It's no different with sleep.
Livewires need a different approach.
The usual sleep training advice often just does not work for these little ones. Understanding how they tick can be key in getting them on board with sleep.
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My research topics:
• A critical review of the research that underpins sleep training advice
• A survey of parents' use and perceptions of sleep advice
• A survey about the "upsides" of a challenging temperament
• How elements of temperament affect sleep behavior and sleep training
Presented at the following conferences:
International Congress for Infant Studies (ICIS)
World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH)
American Psychological Association (APA)
Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)
Occasional Temperament Conference (OTC)
Postpartum Support International (PSI)
B.S. in Human Biology, Stanford University
M. A. in Applied Psychology (focus on Infant Mental Health), Antioch University Seattle. Coursework in infant development, attachment, emotional regulation, sleep research, psychopathology, and family systems.
Certificate in Infant Observation, Family Services/Univ. of Washington
Postpartum Action Institute Training (with Jane Honikman and Dr. Shoshana Bennett)
Senior Lecturer, Graduate Dept. of Counseling Psychology,
Antioch University, Seattle (2008-present)
WA State Certified Counselor (#CL60604117)
Certification in Gentle Sleep Coaching
Certified January 2016
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 two 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 over 20 years. Clinical supervision and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach.
Training topics included:
Basic counseling and child development
Sleep science and age-appropriate techniques to help parents of children age 6 months 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
Reflux and Sleep led by Dr. Anthony Loizides, pediatric gastroenterologist