What is Baby-Led Sleep?

So what is Baby-Led Sleep and Wellbeing Specialist?

Before I talk about how this approach is different, let’s talk about the sleep industry for a minute. Unfortunately, the sleep coaching industry is not regulated, meaning anyone can call themselves a sleep coach or sleep consultant without any qualifications. 

There are a number of certification programs available through various organizations but again, since there’s no actual governing body, there’s a wide range of education (or lack thereof) provided in these programs.

Now the majority of sleep consultants use traditional sleep training methods to help their client’s babies sleep. These include several different forms of cry it out, ferber, etc. Basically, there is usually a baby being left alone to cry in order to self-soothe.

But there is a growing number of families who don’t want to use these harsh methods to train their children. Especially with what we know about attachment and the importance of the parent child relationship. Moreover, we don’t believe that children need to be taught to sleep anymore than they need to be taught to poop or eat.

So Lauren Heffernan of Isla-Grace Sleep created the Baby Led Sleep method and subsequently the Baby-Led Sleep & Wellbeing Specialist Certification Program. 

Try saying that 5 times really fast.

Basically, Baby Led sleep coaches support families with their sleep challenges WITHOUT using sleep training, instead looking at sleep in a holistic manner. 

Setting Expectations

The biggest problem with sleep training culture is this belief that babies need to sleep through the night. Parents are bombarded with propaganda basically making them feel inadequate if their babies aren’t sleeping through.

Well, a huge part of my job is educating parents on what IS developmentally normal and appropriate. 

So your one year old wakes 1-2 times every night? That’s normal

Your 4 month old only wants to sleep on you? Normal.

The moment you begin to understand how babies are meant to behave is the moment you can begin to accept that there is nothing wrong with your baby.

Ok, that sounds lovely. But how do you get more sleep?

Good question. Remember how I said we look at sleep holistically? What that means is that we view sleep as part of a bigger puzzle. We do not view sleep as a behaviour problem but rather as a manifestation of other things that may be happening with your baby.

So when I work one on one with clients, I have them fill out an extensive intake form. In this form, they answer questions about their sleeping habits, their nutrition, the parents mental health, babies mental health, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and more.

There are a million different reasons why children wake up at night. It’s their only form of communication. So it is our job to figure out what is happening.

When I see any red flags in a client’s answers, I refer them to the appropriate specialist to get support.

If we’ve ruled out any underlying conditions, I support families to gently shift their routines and approach to support their child to sleep.

Does that means there’s no tears?

Not exactly. I am not anti-tears. I believe that children should be free to express their emotions and frustrations. However, I do not believe they should be left alone to figure out their overwhelming emotions on their own. Their brains are not fully developed and they need a caring adult to coregulate with.

So in our work together, your child might cry. I would be surprised if they didn’t when you are making changes to their day. However, I will always encourage you to empathize with them and not leave them to cry alone.

So what’s the plan?

There is no pre-set plan. It varies significantly from family to family. In fact, I would argue that anyone who sells you a pre-made sleep training plan is scamming you. They don’t know your baby. Only you know your baby.

A huge part of my approach is empowering you to trust your instincts and follow your baby’s lead. I believe we have gotten to a point in our society where we are so far removed from our natural instincts because we are bombarded with information and ‘rules’. I help you filter through all the noise to find your inner guidance and be able to tune in to your baby.

So you’re basically saying to wait it out until things get better?

No. I don’t believe that it is either sleep train or suffer with bad sleep forever. There is a middle ground and a gentle respectful way to make changes that gets you more sleep. In the process, I help families reconnect with their little ones and deepen their relationship.

I like what I hear, where do we start?!

I have a variety of ways to support you depending on your budget and need. For starters I have a free nap guide ready to land in your inbox when you sign up for my newsletter (scroll all the way down to the bottom of my site).

Second, I provide a ton of free content on my Instagram page and I have a Facebook community of like minded parents.

On the low price-end, I have great webinars every Thursday on various sleep topics. You get to ask questions live and get a link to the replay and accompanying handout for every webinar you attend.

Last but not least, I have a few different ways to support you one-on-one which you can check out here. Regardless of the option you choose, you will be asked to fill out the Intake Questionnaire which we will review together and you will have access to a plethora of resources.

I also do free 15m consultation calls to gauge your needs and help you decide what package is right for you (if any!). Simply fill out my contact form here

Not currently in need of support? If you like what you see here, I would be very appreciative if you share with a parent or parent-to-be who could use this information. Help me spread the word that sleep training doesn’t have to be the answer.

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