I had the opportunity to talk with Helen Sands, a sleep consultant based in Vancouver BC with over 29 years of experience assisting families internationally.
Read below to find her answers about sleep consulting and how you may benefit from talking with a sleep consultant
What is a sleep consultant?
Many families are in crisis, unsure if they can go another day without adequate sleep! An experienced consultant can provide sleep education for families whose child or baby is experiencing sleep issues. Many parents are often completely exhausted by the time they contact me! I take a very hands on approach, finding out as much information about their family as possible and then designing and preparing a sleep plan that will suit their individual needs and work for them.
What does a sleep consultant do?
- Meets with parents and gives them the tools to teach their baby or child to go off to sleep on their own.
- Guides parents through night time awakenings and how to ensure baby learns to sleep through the night.
- Guidance and instruction on how to implement healthy naps and ensure baby gets the amount of sleep she needs.
- Guidance on nutrition.
- Gives information on how long and how often a child should be sleeping, in every 24 hour period.
- Provides the tools to teach baby to sleep through the night, in as little as a few days, sometimes immediately! (step by step guide).
- Provides information on how to handle sleep situations when the family travels together as well as how to deal with illness and teething.
- General tips and hints on how to achieve longer, healthier sleep for the child! Achieving quality sleep is not about any one particular thing.
- I provide a step by step “map” to ensure baby achieves maximum quality sleep around the clock!
Can a sleep consultant help with your child’s sleep?
- Here is a list of questions parents should ask themselves in order to assess their situation:
- Does your child resist every time you try to put her down for a nap?
- Does she cry and cry until baby ends up having no nap?
- Do you walk the floor with your baby until she falls asleep?
- Do you use props such as “rocking” to put your baby to sleep?
- Does your baby only return to sleep if you nurse her?
- Do you have to lie down beside your baby/child in order for them to fall asleep?
- Do you resort to driving your baby around in the car or “stroller walking” to assist her in falling asleep?
- Is your baby waking up many times during the night and cannot fall back to sleep without you being there?
- Does your child cling to you constantly and seem inconsolable, at certain times of the day?
Is your child extremely exhausted by the end of each day?
What ages of children does a sleep consultant work with?
I work with children from newborn to the age of 6 years. While in the newborn phase (0-4months), I can offer guidance on how to shape the child’s sleep, beginning with ensuring baby knows how to sleep for 7-9 hours straight at night, from the age of approximately 10-12 weeks. We can also work on nap training, putting into place the morning nap, followed by the afternoon, by the age of 20 weeks. At 5 months, baby should be sleeping through the night from 7.30pm to 6.30am, with two very lengthy naps each morning and afternoon, followed by a small “kip” at the end of the day to see her through to bedtime.
Some babies will spontaneously sleep through the night from a very early newborn age, but it is not common. I work with babies particularly, to ensure they learn how to sleep adequately from a very early age. The most common age groups I work with are 5 months through to 3 years.
How long does sleep training take?
We can have your baby sleeping through the night within 3-5 nights, and often, less! Nap training varies, but it can sometimes take a little longer. With the parent’s commitment to the plan, great improvements can be made to naps within 2 weeks. Ensuring your baby or child experiences sufficient sleep within every 24 hour period, will be our goal! I work together with the parents to ensure this happens for the family!
How do I find out more about Helen Sands?