What is an Infant Sleep Educator?
A certified Infant Sleep Educator is a parental support worker who knows about healthy, normal, and optimal baby and toddler sleep. Sleep Educators believe that it is normal and healthy for babies to wake at night, and that sleeping through the night is a developmental milestone, just like crawling and walking.
Sleep Educators look at the whole family dynamic to find out the causes of parents’ frustrations, and then work with parents to find solutions to those frustrations.
Infant Sleep Educators can help families navigate infancy and toddlerhood through an Attachment Parenting lens, allowing families to be more connected.
What is the difference between sleep training and sleep education?
Sleep Education and Sleep Training are based in different philosophies
Sleep Education is based in a developmental approach, while Sleep Training is based in a behaviourist approach. Sleep Educators create a custom sleep plan that is based on baby’s developmental stage, with
the belief that most babies need to be parented to sleep. The custom sleep plan targets holistic solutions to help the whole family. The result is helping baby fall asleep with their caregiver(s), with the aim of having a baby who is flexible about sleep, particularly when travelling.
Sleep Trainers offer plans (customized or templated) that aim to change baby’s night-waking behaviour, based on the belief that babies must learn to fall asleep on their own or self soothe. Often this requires crying or controlled crying. The sleep plan often outlines a very set routine for baby, with the result that sleep training may need to be repeated after periods of stress, change, or upheaval.
Isn’t Sleep Training easier than Sleep Education?
This depends on your definition of “easy”. Some parents find it easy – or necessary – to allow baby to cry themselves to sleep. Other parents find it too difficult to listen to baby cry without responding. A 2014 survey of 411 Canadian families found that traditional “cry-it-out” or “controlled crying” sleep training only worked for 14 percent of the families. So although you may hear about families who loved sleep training, be aware that it might not work for your family. Even if it does work, you may need to repeat sleep training after major holidays, developmental progressions, or illness. Sleep Education allows infants to be cued to sleep by their caregivers, which can be easier and more flexible for many families.
Why choose a Sleep Educator?
There is tremendous pressure from society to sleep train your baby, and to be able to put your baby to bed at night without responding them until daylight. By modern standards, a “good” baby falls asleep on their own with no help from their caregivers and stays asleep until daylight. Many parents, however, find it easier to have a different type of flexibility: to be able to soothe their child to sleep in a variety of situations. They understand that infants and toddlers need to wake at night for a variety of reasons, and want to be able to respond to those needs.
If traditional sleep training doesn’t sit well with your family, you may want to look into a more holistic way to parent your baby to sleep. Enter the Infant Sleep Educator.
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