If you are looking for someone to help you to improve your child’s sleep, you may have wondered what the difference is between a sleep coach and a sleep consultant.
The answer is, the terms are basically interchangeable within the child sleep specialist industry. However, sleep “coach” may also refer specifically to sleep professionals trained specifically by Kim West, author of Good Night, Sleep Tight, and creator of parental fading as a sleep training technique. Professionals trained by Kim West may choose to refer to themselves as sleep coaches to reflect a different approach towards helping babies and children to improve their sleep.
Gentle sleep coaches trained by Kim West (AKA the Sleep Lady) have not only been trained in the gentlest approach to infant and toddler sleep, but have also received hours of instruction on how to best help tired parents from a variety of circumstances in a respectful and non-judgement way. Instead of just telling exhausted parents what to do, gentle sleep coaches are able to compassionately create sleep intervention plans and modify them along the way.
The attitude of a gentle sleep coach is that rather than just consulting parents, and by extension having parents administer plans to their babies and children, a gentle sleep coach will guide and support the parent though the process of guiding and supporting their children to better sleep. Gentle sleep coaches have received training in how to best work with parents and children and will not push a plan on a family that the family is not comfortable. Instead, gentle sleep coaches will work with the family to create a sleep plan for their children, and then encourage them throughout the process of implementation.
Personally, I use the term sleep consultant because I feel like it is more recognizable to parents. However, being trained by Kim West myself, I employ a coaching style method in my interactions with parents and their babies and children.
While professional sleep specialists may use a variety of titles to describe what they do, they all essentially do the same thing and work towards the same goal- better sleep for the whole family. The individual style of a sleep specialist will vary from individual to individual, so if you are trying to find someone who is right for your family, just call them! Most professional sleep specialists are happy to talk to tired parents and offer a free introductory phone call for just that reason.