As you may have already read in my bio, I’ve been researching and writing about infants since 2007.
And it was right about that time when a publicist introduced me to Kim West LCSW-C, The Sleep Lady®
I had no idea what a life-changing moment that was.
I instantly fell in love with her book, her gentle methods, and her encouraging philosophy.
I have been teaching her general methods for the past 4 years to hundreds of sleepy parents, but it wasn’t until 2014 when I signed on the dotted line and enrolled in the Gentle Sleep Coaching Certification Program so I could work with parents like you, one-on-one.
Why is Certification so Important
When it Comes to Baby Sleep Training?
Why should you care that I’ve been officially certified?
Because your baby needs to be assessed as an individual and not part of someone’s “this is what worked for me” list of advice.
Baby sleep training is becoming quite a popular way for “fast cash” on the Internet. Anyone can put up a simple website, and some cute graphics, and pay a copywriter for empathetic articles.
And I do mean anyone.
- Anyone who doesn’t know the medical reasons why some babies wake up, and so doesn’t know when to refer out for medical attention on common health issues like reflux, apnea, PPD, and other conditions.
- Anyone who only knows ONE technique to help your baby sleep (the one that happened to work for her baby).
- Anyone who doesn’t have a deeper knowledge on how babies form attachments and how to preserve that bond during the sleep training process.
I could have stayed “anyone”.
But my readers deserve better.
If you are coming to Incredible Infant for encouraging information, than I have a responsibility to keep myself educated and up-to-date on the latest baby sleep research and techniques.
That’s why I ponyed up a pretty big stack of cash (as in $6,000) in 2014, went “back to school” and got my Gentle Sleep Coaching Certificate.
The proof, of course, is in the outside validation: click here to see my name on the certification list!
I should also mention that I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, which is considered a healthcare field. This means my college experience was filled with courses on anatomy, psychology, and behavioral science, all of which have been an invaluable bonus in my work as a sleep coach.
What Makes the GSC Program Unique?
The Gentle Sleep Coaching Program is the first and most extensive professional sleep coach training and certification program on the planet. (I’m not sure about Mars…still checking on that.)
Here’s the demands I had to meet:
- I had to complete over 80 hours of training with a faculty panel that included 2 medical doctors, a psychologist, an attorney, lactation counselor, postpartum doulas, and a family therapist.
- I had to pass an exam. (I aced it, if you’re curious. Although they forgot my scratch-and-sniff Good Job! sticker. *pout*)
- I had to participate in at least 3 pro-bono cases, for supervision with Kim West. (Somehow I ended up with 6.)
- I had to dance naked by the light of the silver moon. (Not really. Just checking to see if you’re still reading.)
What Un-Certified Coaches Don’t Know (Can Hurt Your Baby)
This extensive training also included lectures from top specialists about issues that are commonly missed by the Average-Jill Sleep Coach.
- A talk on Postpartum Depression and other Postpartum Mood Disorders by Dr. Shoshana Bennett, author and leading specialist on PPD.
- A discussion on Medical Conditions and Sleep Apnea in Children led by Dr. Lewis Kass, Director of the Children’s Sleep Center.
- A lecture on GURD (Acid Reflux) and Sleep given by Dr. Anthony Loizides, Pediatric Gastroentrologist
- …and many others from Child Development and Attachment Theory to Potty Training 101.
Certification…a Never-Ending Education
Besides these courses, I’m also required to take continuing education courses in order to renew my certification every year. (Did I mention that also requires a yearly membership fee of $1000? This is the big-leagues, my friends.)
This means that, as part of my profession as a Gentle Sleep Coach, I’m required to sit in on medical discussions and professional lectures so I’m always aware of the latest research in the world of baby sleep science and training!
This is not a “one and done” kind of certification. I am in a constant flux of learning.
This is definitely something that sets me apart from most of the other sleep coaches out there.
Weekly Supervision: Keeping Us from Getting Stuck
Besides all of this, I also have weekly supervision visits with Kim West LCSW-C, The Sleep Lady® herself.
So there is no such thing as “stuck”.
If your little rascal decides that thwarting our sleep plan is his new favorite hobby, we just break out the big guns and talk over everything with Kim herself, getting her 17+ years experience in overcoming the most stubborn of non-sleepers!
If One Certification is Good…
Two must be AWESOME!
Besides the training for the Gentle Sleep Coaching Certification Program (which is organized for infants 6 months and up), I also took an additional course as a qualification to work with 4-5 month old babies.
Babies who are 4-5 months old are in a HUGE life transition stage. There’s a lot going on in there life at this age, and it’s extra important they are coached to sleep with a gentle touch. (Otherwise you’re left with buckets and buckets of tears.)
This advanced training series included…
- Over 40 hours of additional instruction, focused JUST on the 4-5 month age group.
- Specific mentoring on working with 4-5 month olds and their families.
- In-dept knowledge of the delicate nature of infants under 6 months.
- How to consider all the elements of their well-being in creating an effective sleep plan.
- Current evidence-based guidelines on how to evaluate the 4-6 month old child and family to determine whether the child is (in fact) ready for sleep coaching.
- Gentle sleep solutions and strategies that are effective and developmentally appropriate for the younger baby.
The Two Badges You Want to Watch For
All that blood, sweat, and tears so I could show you this…
These iconic badges separates the sleep coaches who have been professionally trained and tested from those who (although probably very nice!) haven’t been professionally trained and tested.
You need to know that the person coming along side you in this exhausting journey has been specifically trained to give your family the rest that everyone deserves.
Whoever you end up working with – whether that’s me or someone else – those are the to graphics you want to spot.
It’s like the Better Business Bureau for babies…
Can I Help You
With Your Baby Sleep Training?
You can email me at email@example.com for a one-on-one 5-week coaching quote.
Or you can join one of my popular baby sleep workshops and talk with me personally about how to get your family’s sleeping habits back on track.
If your baby is younger than 4 months, we will develop two sleep plans. The first will work on sleep shaping: routine, nursery set up, etc. Those things you can do NOW that can have a big impact on sleep. The second plan will be for when your baby is physically ready to sleep coach (if it’s still needed), after he/she has passed her 4-month milestones and your doctor has give you the green light to start coaching!
I’m looking forward to getting your Titanic steered away from the Icebergs of Insomnia and headed towards the calm shores of Sleepyland.