Sleep Consult FAQ
Is this “Cry It Out”? I’m not ready for CIO—but I really want my baby to sleep!
Because every family is different and every baby learns to sleep at their own pace, there is no one suggested method for everyone. Our sleep consultants draw upon numerous gentle techniques from some of ourfavorite books and resources—but more importantly, from our extensive experience working with hundreds of babies (including many sets of twins and triplets) and their sweet, tired parents. After listening to your sleep journey with your baby, and asking lots of questions about your goals, we will suggest many methods based on your own unique situation. Once a method is chosen, we will give you a timeline of your preferred method. A true CIO is never suggested, but a “controlled crying” or “camping out” method may be suggested—but only if the following criteria are met: baby is over 4 months of age, the family has tried everything else, and doctor has approved (i.e. there are no medical issues that may be impacting sleep). We have a phenomenal track record for getting households much improved rest without resorting to CIO methods—and we are delighted to share our talents with you!
Does the consult address napping issues—or only nighttime sleep?
The consult covers everything about your baby’s daily routine, including naps, nighttime, feedings, and active playtime. We will also address medical concerns such as weight gain, reflux, and any other potential concerns keeping your baby from sleeping. It is important for you to discuss any medical issues with your doctor prior to your consult, and to get their approval for 8+ hours of night sleep. We will also address your parenting style preferences in relation to sleep goals as well as future feeding goals. We can elaborate on topics that best apply to your family, such as introducing solids, communication with your baby, separation anxiety and giving you a timeline of normal infant development and how this all correlates with healthy sleep habits.
What does the process of the consult itself “look” like?
While each and every consult is unique, because no two babies or families are the same, the following is a general idea of what may occur in a typical consult. First, we will spend time assessing your family’s current routine (taking note of rhythms--both day and night, feedings, etc.) and going through baby’s medical background, looking for anything that might be interfering with sleep. Then, starting where you are now, we will help determine what your goals are in regard to improved sleep and discuss a reasonable time frame for achieving those goals. Together, you will create a plan that everyone feels good about. Our basic philosophy is to honor what the you already know about your baby (or babies), and, looking at the whole picture, help you craft a consistent, sustainable plan that works within the boundaries of what the parent(s) are comfortable with to get baby sleeping better. We will then follow up with you, offering support as you begin to implement this new plan. There are several follow up opportunities for email or texts after the consult to adjust the plan if needed.
How long does the consult last?
Consults usually last about 2 hours. If there are no interruptions from older siblings, excited animals, phone calls, etc., you and the sleep consultant can create most, if not all, of your new sleep plan during this visit. At the very least, your initial goals will be established, until you are ready to actually begin implementing the sleep plan. (Things that might cause you to hold off on the plan for a bit may include: baby’s age, impending travel plans, medical clearance, or upcoming immunizations.) Enlisting back up support for older siblings and really designating time for your consult will help it go smoothly, and ensure you get the full value of our expertise. Phone consults can consolidate this support into one hour, and overnight support to help implement a plan can vary from 8-10 overnight hours.
Do I get a written/typed plan after my consult—or am I expected to take notes myself?
During your consult, you will create written notes to help define your plan and also determine when you will begin the new plan. We will help you structure these notes so that you are clear on what to do throughout the day/night, with regard to implementing the plan.
How do the ‘check-ins’ or follow up communication work?
After your initial consult, you will likely have questions as you begin to implement your new sleep plan. We request a short email or text with these questions, and several follow up options are included. If you have been implementing a plan that is working well and then takes a downward turn, you can also purchase an additional phone consult to overhaul the plan.
Do you need to observe my baby’s bedtime routine?
Seeing the bedtime routine is helpful but not necessary. Any insight into your daily routine is useful for us to observe your rhythms and see what is important to your family. With or without viewing the bedtime routine, we will ask specific questions to help create your new plan.
We feel like we have already tried everything, and are worried about paying for a consult that may not “work” or may just re-hash information or techniques that have not been successful for us in the past. Can we talk to you on the phone for a few minutes to see if you has new ideas/thinks our baby is a good candidate for a consult?
We understand that solving complex sleep issues is not only challenging and mystifying for parents, but also humbling and exhausting. Although we are unable to promise or guarantee that the consult will bring the exact, immediate result you are hoping for, we can tell you that the feedback we get from parents is usually about an 80-90% improvement, or total success with their sleep goals for their baby. Has the consult worked for every single family that has had one? No. Has it worked wonders for the overwhelming majority? Yes, absolutely.
In order for us to come up with an individualized sleep plan for your baby, she will be looking at the whole picture: naps, nighttime, activity, feedings, routines, family life, etc. We will want to assess what you have already done--things that have and have not been successful for you--and we’ll want to gain an understanding of your unique baby, based on your important input. We will also want to visually observe your baby’s sleep environment(s). This “whole picture” approach simply takes time, and we cannot reliably assess whether or not your baby would be a good candidate for a consult in a phone call lasting only a few minutes.
However, we also understand that in order to work with a person you need to establish trust, and if that would be helpful before proceeding, we can offer a free 15 minute phone call to introduce ourselves so that you can have a sense of just who is helping you to create some sleep magic that will transform your family life.
We know that a sleep consult is not inexpensive, especially when it does not come with a ‘guarantee’—and we understand completely if you’d like to wait and try other things before you schedule one. Usually parents don’t call us until they have run out of ideas and approaches and need some new options and a fresh perspective. If you are not there yet, it might be better to wait and see if you can solve things yourself. (On a practical level, you will of course get through sleep challenges even without our help—though the likelihood of enjoying this time more is higher if you have support. We have been there ourselves as tired parents, and we empathize!)
Whatever your decision is, we support you and are glad you contacted us. We hope better sleep for the whole family is in your near future—however you get there!
We are just outside the Portland service area. If we pay an extra travel fee, can you still offer us a Consult?
We will determine these on a case-by-case basis. If we are able to travel to your location, a travel fee will be added appropriately. Phone consults might be a better solution if travel is prohibitive.
Do you ever offer consults via phone, email or Skype?
Because each family is so unique, visiting the home is a huge part of the equation in crafting a working new sleep plan that best suits that particular family. We are better able to help after getting a feel for baby’s temperament, as well as by observations of the sleep environment—looking for any distractions to sleep, or anything that may pose a risk. However, we know it is just not possible for a home visit every time, and you might just need an hour to pick our brain to come up with more ideas or to challenge your thinking about what our baby can do, so we do offer 1 hour phone consults as well as in-home visits and plan implementation overnights.