Updated: Mar 11, 2020
In the movie, The Wedding Planner, it is assumed that the main character, Mary, has the ultimate romantic life because she is a well-known wedding planner. However, she's not married or even in a relationship (bring in Matthew McConaughey). Mary nips that in the bud by saying the line, "Ya know, those who can't do, teach. Well, those who can't wed, plan."
The term #sleepconsultant is probably a new one for many of you, and in case you were thinking that it's a "teach instead of do" type thing...I want to assure you it's not. I've been there. The sleepless nights. The rocking. So much rocking. The, "Why, God, why won't this baby sleep?!" thoughts.
My story started out on a pretty good foot. Sure, the first couple of months were rough, but my son, Gideon, was actually sleeping through the night by the age of 3.5 months without any official sleep training. I just did all of the things that I talk about in my Newborn Basics Session, and he started sleeping all night as soon as he was ready.
Then we went on vacation to Sea Isle City, NJ. By vacation, I mean we were camp counselors at our church's youth summer camp for a week. We all stayed in one big lodge with plywood walls separating the rooms. Gideon and I slept in a small room right in the middle of it. I was so worried about him waking everyone else up in the middle of the night that I would jump up and soothe him every time he made even the slightest little peep. If you have a baby, you know that they are noisy sleepers. Therefore, I did a lot of jumping out of bed that week. He wasn't even awake every time I tended to him. Gideon got so used to me picking him up, rocking him, and giving him his pacifier that when we got home from vacation, he expected it to continue.
This is where my own experience with sleep training begins. Thankfully, I was already almost done with my consultant course, so I knew exactly what to do. I wrote out a sleep plan for Gideon, made my husband, Evan, read through it, and we started that night. Within a few nights, Gideon was back to sleeping through the night! Hallelujah! Was it easy? No. Were there tears? A few, but honestly not that many.
Here's what Evan has to say about our sleep training experience:
"The first few weeks and months of adjusting to our newborn bundle of joy's sleeping schedule wasn't easy - there was no schedule! After that time, the Gidmeister starting to sleep and nap more regularly. Then we took him on vacation and everything we had been doing in regards to sleep seemed to go out the window. Ashley and I were disappointed and frustrated to say the least. I tried to support Ashley the best I could, but I knew nothing about teaching a baby to sleep! Ashley decided at that time to put into practice what she had been studying from her course to become a baby whisperer aka pediatric sleep consultant. Even though some of the strategy felt silly in practice, it made sense from a baby's perspective (for example, speaking the same cute, quiet phrase when laying Gideon down in his crib each night to cue to him that it's bed time). I followed the wifey's protocol and sure enough in less than a week, Gideon was on a more consistent and peaceful sleep routine than he was prior to vacation! I didn't doubt Ashley's skills and sleep plan when we started it, but it was amazing to experience the results of it personally and so quickly! Our sanity quickly returned and Gideon's sleep habits got better week after week as we stuck to the sleep concepts we had implemented. A+ Babe - way to go!"
So if you are struggling with sleepless nights, I do understand from experience. I do know that sleep training your child is hard. But I also know that it is worth it.
~Ashley Bell, pediatric sleep consultant