What is a Baby sleep consultant?
A baby sleep consultant is trained to help parents address sleep issues for their baby, using a range of techniques that make sense in the context of the whole family; providing guidance and assurance around common sleep behaviours as babies develop.
Sleep consultants work privately with families, and hold consultations either in the family’s home, on the phone or via videocall. They will often provide a package that includes follow up via phone/ text.
What training and accreditation do Peppy’s baby sleep consultants need to have?
There are multiple routes to practising as a baby sleep consultant. Some people come into it via a healthcare background, with experience as a midwife or health visitor. Others may come to sleep consulting as part of a career in childcare or from the experience of having their own children.
At Peppy we only work with baby sleep consultants who have undertaken an extensive program of accredited training, are referred by their peers and have the appropriate insurance.
We require all Peppy Baby Sleep consultants to commit to working within the principles outlined in the Peppy Baby Sleep Consultant Charter.
To be on the Peppy platform, we require practitioners to provide proof of ID, current professional indemnity insurance and a signed copy of the Peppy Baby Sleep Consultant Charter.
Why should I work with a baby sleep consultant?
Many parents worry about their baby’s sleep. It can be difficult to decide if and when you may want support with your baby’s sleep because there is so much information in books, on the internet and from friends, family and health professionals. Your baby’s sleep is only a problem if it is a problem for you – so if you are feeling unconfident or worried about whether your baby should be sleeping differently, but you are fundamentally not bothered by it, then it is not a problem. If your friends or family tell you that your baby should be sleeping differently but you are quite happy, then it is not a problem. If you are becoming angry, stressed, resentful or unhappy about your baby’s sleep, then you may have a problem.
A sleep coach does not always work to drastically change your baby’s sleep. Sometimes their most helpful role is to explain what is normal, provide reassurance, and support families with simple strategies to reduce stress, worry and anxiety.
A baby sleep consultant listens to, and works with, parents to provide them with a personalised plan to work to improve their child’s sleep. They advise on topics like how much sleep your child needs and tweaks to the family/baby’s schedule that could help. They can also provide tips and suggestions to support the process and help the family to cope. They will usually work with a family over a period of time to support the changes.
What is normal infant sleep?
All the Peppy baby sleep consultants have a safe and thorough understanding of what normal infant sleep looks like. An infant sleeps differently to an adult for three main reasons:
1. They require frequent feeding to sustain their growth and development
2. Waking up at night helps to keep them safe
3. Their brain is immature and the closeness, responsiveness and frequent night waking and feeding helps to build their brain
While you may hear that a baby who has reached a certain amount of weight, or weeks can sleep a certain number of hours at night, in reality, this is not based on any scientific fact. The truth is that all babies are different. Some babies spontaneously sleep ten hours at just a few weeks, while others continue to need a night feed or just a cuddle and reassurance until long after their first birthday. It can be hard to feel that ‘everyone else’s baby’ is sleeping through, but the evidence suggests that 85% of 6-month-old babies are still waking 1-3 times per night on average, so you are not alone if your baby is waking at night.
A good sleep consultant can support you to feel confident and positive about your parenting, give you strategies to lay some positive foundations for sleep, and address any obvious factors that may be contributing to your baby’s sleep patterns. This will always be respectful to your baby’s age and developmental stage and will never involve cutting out necessary night feeds, or compromising your baby’s safety or health.
This information has been developed in partnership with Lyndsey Hookway. Lyndsey is an IBCLC, Holistic Sleep coach, qualified paediatric nurse & health visitor and independent teacher, lecturer and speaker. She is the author of Holistic Sleep Coaching and the co-founder of the Holistic Sleep Coaching Program.