Are you ready for your whole family to experience beautiful, blissful sleep?
“Sleep is as important to health as eating, drinking, and breathing.”
Andrea is a Gentle Sleep Coach working with tired families in Calgary and worldwide
I’m Andrea and I am Calgary’s Gentle Sleep Coach. I have been trained by Kim West (LCSW-C and author of Good Night Sleep Tight) to help you teach your child to sleep using gentle sleep coaching strategies. I have been certified as a Gentle Sleep Coach since July of 2015 and can be found in the Gentle Sleep Coach Directory.
Aside from my work as a Gentle Sleep Coach, I am also a mom to three incredible children. All three had sleep struggles (hello reflux), but the sleep deprivation I experienced after my second was debilitating.
He fractured his clavicle in birth, had a tongue tie that went undiagnosed, and had severe reflux. He cried for the better part of the first five months of his life AND he woke six to twelve times per night. Postpartum depression and anxiety kicked in very soon after his birth and I was not coping well with the nightly 3-4 hour struggle to help him to sleep.
The main advice we received from well-meaning friends and professionals was to let him cry. It took us five months to get our sweet boy to STOP crying and we were still quite traumatized from the first five months of crying; it just wasn’t the right option for us.
Luckily, we soon discovered some gentle sleep coaching strategies and LIFE CHANGED! Our son started sleeping through the night other than one feeding we chose to keep AND we started to see his true, sweet, happy personality start to emerge. As his sleep improved, I slept and my symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety began to lift.
I am a huge advocate for mental health – for the entire family. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication and Culture with a Minor in Psychology. The majority of my pre-sleep coaching career was spent working with families in the mental health field. Since becoming a Gentle Sleep Coach, I have taken an additional 30 hours in breastfeeding training, and 60 hours in infant mental health training.
My goal is to educate, listen, empower, and support you on your journey to better sleep.
Baby sleep…the gentle way!
The Gentle Sleep Coach Program is the first and most comprehensive, professional sleep coach training and certification program available. The program involves over 80 hours of training with a faculty panel that includes two medical doctors, a psychologist, an attorney, a lactation counselor, a group of postpartum doulas and a family therapist.
Each coach (in training) must pass an exam and participate in case supervision with Kim West, LCSW-C (a.k.a. The Sleep Lady). Kim has been helping tired parents for over 17 years. Clinical supervision and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach ®.
Training topics included:
- Basic counselling and child development
- Sleep science and behavioural modification techniques to help parents of children age 0 to 6 years old.
- Secure attachment theory
- Support for the breastfeeding mothers
The training lectures from top specialists include:
- Postpartum Depression from Dr. Shoshana Bennett, author, and leading specialist on Postpartum Depression
- Medical Conditions and Sleep Apnea in children led by Dr.Lewis Kass, Director of Children’s Sleep Center
- GERD and Sleep led by Dr. Anthony Loizides, Paediatric Gastroenterology
4-5 Month Old Training Summary
The Gentle Sleep Coach Program also includes an exclusive advanced training series specifically focused on how to gently work with babies 4 and 5 months of age. This optional program, which I have also completed, consists of over 40 hours of instruction and mentorship.
Training topics include:
- In-depth knowledge of the delicate nature of infants under 6 months of age and how to consider all elements of their well-being.
- Current evidence-based guidelines and instruction on how to evaluate a 4-6-month-old child and family to determine if the child is ready for sleep coaching.
- Gentle sleep solutions and strategies that are effective and developmentally appropriate for the younger baby.
This speciality training is designed to give coaches the knowledge, the education. and all the tools and resources they need to successfully work with families with babies 4-6- months of age in a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate manner.
Infant Mental Health Training: The Child Sleep Institute
Goals of the Infant mental Health Training program are to raise awareness and understanding of the mental health issues and needs of infants and toddlers to promote healthy social and emotional development and reduce the likelihood of poor mental and physical health outcomes.
Key topics include:
- Understanding Brain Development in the Early Years
- The Importance of Attachment to Development
- The Development of Regulation in the Early Years
- The Impact of Early Trauma on the Development of Parental Depression
- The Impact of Poor Parental Mental Health on a Child
- Domestic Violence – A Trauma Experience for Young Children
- Understanding of just how critical early mental health is for a child, a community, and society at large
- Understanding of risk and protective factors that contribute to early mental health and development
- Integration and promotion of practices that focus on the prevention of infant mental health trauma
- Embedding of screening practices to identify when a young child may be experiencing poor mental health
- Integration of interventions that can be provided to children who may be at risk of experiencing poor mental health.
Infant Mental Health and Development Foundation Program: The Wonder Weeks
This 45-hour course provides a comprehensive understanding of early cognitive development in the first two years of life and includes topics such as:
- Early neurodevelopment from womb to cradle
- The Importance of early relationships
- The language of babies
- The science behind the Wonder Weeks
- Critical periods of cognitive development and the resulting impact on the infant
Breastfeeding for Health Professionals: Calgary Breastfeeding Centre
This 20-hour course provides an extensive overview of lactation and breastfeeding and includes topics such as:
- Anatomy and Physiology of Lactation
- Latch/suck/swallow – effective transfer of milk
- Maternal Infant Skin-to-Skin Care
- Infant Feeding Assessment
- Human Milk Production & Assessment of Milk Transfer
- Breastfeeding Challenges
- Assessment of low milk production or ineffective transfer
- Prevention and management of jaundice
- Infants who refuse the breast
- Mastitis – causes and management and prevention
- Infant fussiness – implications for breastfeeding
- Sustaining Breastfeeding
Courses with Pediatric Experts
IMPACT OF BIRTH TRAUMA AND POSTPARTUM MOOD ON INFANT AND MATERNAL SLEEP PROBLEMS – Leslie Buttereld, Ph.D.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY (AND NOT SAY) ABOUT SLEEP TRAINING IN THE FIRST YEAR? – Macall Gordon, M.A.
SENSORY PROCESSING AND SLEEP ISSUES IN INFANCY/TODDLERHOOD: SUPPORTING COREGULATION WITH SENSORY AFFECTIVE STRATEGIES
– Rosemary White, OTR/L
DADS “DYAD” DIFFERENTLY; FATHERS IN THE FIRST YEAR
– Nick Kasovac, M.A., R-DMT, IMH-E(II)® (The DAD Project)
RELATIONAL ASPECTS OF SLEEP DISRUPTION
– Emily Anderson, M.A., LMFT, Cooper House/Fussy Baby Network
WORKING WITH CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS AND SLEEP
– Katie Holloran BCBA
SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER AND SLEEP
– Lindsey Biel OTRL
6 ESSENTIAL SKILLS EVERY PARENT SHOULD TEACH THEIR ANXIOUS CHILD
– Renee Jain
POWER TO PARENT I & II
– Gordon Neufeld; Leader in the field of Developmental Psychology
FEEDING IN THE EARLY YEARS
– Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD
ADULT SLEEP, PREGNANCY, INSOMNIA AND MORE
– Dr. Rosenberg, DO, FCCP Sleep Specialist
GENDER AND SEXUAL DIVERSITY WORKSHOP
– With Tharseo Counselling & Gio Dolcecore
This is YOUR baby, YOUR family, and YOUR life. I will work with you to create an individualized, step-by-step sleep plan that will factor in your own parenting philosophy; your child’s age, health and temperament; your well-being; and your family dynamics. Most importantly, I will support and coach you through the process from beginning to end for night sleep and naps!
The plan is NEVER set in stone and most little ones do need some adjustments in their plans along the way. That’s what I am here for.
The most common questions I am asked by parents about sleep coaching are:
Will my baby cry?
The root emotion of tired is frustration. That means that when your child feels tired, they feel frustrated. Most children don’t welcome changes in their routine at a time of day when they feel tired (aka frustrated) and they voice these frustrations through tears.
Important topics we cover in your consultation are the difference between tension release crying and tension increase crying and what self-soothing actually looks like. A baby crying AND self-soothing is very different from a baby crying and NOT self-soothing.
All of my sleep plans involve in-room or in-arms coaching; My goal is to have as little crying as possible. You will respond to ALL of your baby’s cries and offer higher levels of support when needed to ensure they do not become overwhelmed.
You can coach while bedsharing, room sharing, or with a little one who is in their own room (I can also help with this transition)!
It is incredibly important that YOU feel comfortable with your sleep plan; you know your child best and I always encourage open communication.
Absolutely! I always recommend using a gradual night weaning strategy so you will never be coaching through hunger. Some babies can sleep through the night (11 hours) between 6 and 12 months of age, but many still need a feeding. My goal is to position the feeding to give your baby the nourishment they need, and to maximize the sleep for your entire family!
Mental Health and Sleep:
Sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking, and breathing. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect the mental and physical health, quality of life, and safety of you AND your baby! I’m here to help.
What is Sleep Training?
Sleep training refers to methods implemented by parents to improve their child’s sleep habits. The Cry it Out (extinction) or Ferber (graduated extinction) methods of sleep training usually come to mind when this phrase is mentioned. This is mostly parent-led and the methods tend to be more rigid.
What is Sleep Shaping?
SLEEP SHAPING refers to increasing your knowledge of baby sleep so you are aware of your baby’s early and late sleep signs, putting your baby down when they naturally feel sleepy, ensuring they get enough daytime sleep, choosing a bedtime that works WITH their circadian rhythm rather than against it, and setting up an ideal sleep environment. These strategies can work WONDERS at any age, but especially during the first few months when a baby isn’t ready for sleep coaching.
What is Sleep Coaching?
SLEEP COACHING refers to guiding your child through the process of improving their sleep skills. A loving and supportive response from the coaching parent helps a baby manage the big emotions that may be attached to a change in routine. As you see your child’s sleep and self-soothing skills improve, you offer less support until your baby is easily falling asleep all by themselves. SLEEP COACHING works best when SLEEP SHAPING strategies are used at the same time.
When coaching from beside your child, you can help bring them back to feeling calm if they are starting to become overwhelmed. My goal is that your baby gains sleep skills that last and this is achieved by preventing them from becoming overwhelmed and supporting them through the process.
When can I start sleep coaching?
Between 4 and 6 months of age, many babies respond very well to sleep shaping (sleep environment, consistent routines, etc.) and very gentle sleep training methods. If you feel you need to start a sleep training method before your baby is 6 months, make sure they are completely through the 4 month developmental milestone before starting. This usually happens between 4 and 5 months of age and lasts approximately 2 weeks.
It is generally recommended to wait until your child is 6 months of age before implementing any sleep training strategy.
How will sleep training help my baby?
Incredible things are happening in your child’s brain as they sleep! Sleep helps with brain development, boosts learning & memory (did you know newborns learn in their sleep?!?), growth, heart health, and immunity!
This is why uninterrupted sleep is so important for both you and your baby. You may notice:
- A happier, lighter mood
- Less fussiness and irritability
- Less sickness
- More quality time with your baby due to improvement in your own mood and energy levels
How long does it typically take to see results?
This depends on many factors including your child’s age, temperament, developmental stage, and methods that have been tried in the past.
Most babies will be sleeping through the night within 2 weeks of starting your sleep coaching plan.
How can a professional help?
As a paediatric sleep consultant, I will complete a thorough history assessment of your child’s sleep patterns and habits. From this information, I create a plan that takes into account your family’s sleep goals and your child’s unique personality and temperament. Once we see how your child responds to our plan, we will continue to make adjustments to ensure sleep coaching continues to work for your family. I am available to offer knowledge and support throughout the entire sleep coaching process.
I have two goals for the families I work with:
- The entire family is sleeping by the end of our sleep plan
- I have imparted you with enough knowledge so you can handle any future bumps in the road that may occur as you move through different developmental stages and life events.
How do I start?
There are three ways you can start on the road to solid sleep:
*Pay by etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org and add one free email to your package.
Add an Additional Sibling
Add a Twin or Multiple
In-Home Consultation with Room Assessment
Upgrade from the Basic Package to the Premium Package
Video Membership Site
Add-Ons to the Video Membership Site
Starting at $49
Gentle Sleep Coaching Workshop
“Sleep Secrets” Seminar
Give the gift of sleep
Sleep Coaching Testimonials
Remember a 15-minute introductory consultation with me is FREE.
Call 403-612-3980 or email me with this contact form.
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