The Gentle Sleep Coach Program is the first and most extensive professional sleep coach training and certification program available. I have gone through an extensive training program, which involves over 80 hours of training. Each coach must pass an exam and participate in case supervision with Kim, who 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. Some of my 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 mother
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 the 4-6 month old child and family and determine if the child is ready for sleep coaching.
Gentle sleep solutions and strategies that are effective and developmentally appropriate for the younger baby.
The Gentle Sleep Coach Philosophy
Many parents ask “Are you a controlled crying proponent or family bed advocate? Do I have to stop breastfeeding to sleep coach my child, do I have to choose between two camps: co-sleeping/no crying or cot/cry-it-out?” You do not have to pick a camp; this isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about what is working for you and your family.
It is true that controlled crying and the starker extinction methods can work well and a bit faster than gentler methods IF you, as the parent can follow through consistently and for long enough.
The Gentle Sleep Coach philosophy was developed by Kim West LCSW-C, The Sleep Lady® because she found so many parents had difficulty following through with a sleep coaching program that they feared will damage their child emotionally or filled them with so much guilt they couldn’t follow through.
The GSC approach is a gentler alternative for families who emotionally or philosophically resist letting their babies cry it out: for families who tried controlled crying and it didn’t work, and for families who let their baby cry-it-out earlier but now find it doesn’t help. It is also for families who believe in co-sleeping but find that their children aren’t really sleeping all that well, even nestled snugly with their parents. Or for families who did co-sleep for a few months to a few years and now want the family bed to revert back to the marital one.
Can you guarantee “no crying” you might ask? No, no one really can. For example, if you, as the parent, have taught your child that the way to fall asleep is to be held to sleep for all naps, bedtime and wakings and you decide that you want to change this; your child will naturally protest or resist this change. After all, they don’t know why you have changed your approach. If your child is pre-verbal then they will cry. My goal is to have as little crying as possible. I encourage parents to be loving and responsive but to allow the child the room to learn this vital life skill of putting themselves to sleep. The parent responds and stays with their child and offers physical and verbal reassurance without putting the child to sleep. This supports the development of a secure attachment between parent and child.
I will work with you to create an individualised, step-by-step sleep plan that will factor in your parenting philosophy, your child’s age, health and temperament, mother’s well-being and the related family dynamics. And most importantly I will support and coach you through the process from beginning to end- for night sleep and naps!
If you have any questions about the Gentle Sleep philosophy, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Continuing Professional Development
I am committed to my ongoing professional development and in 2015 I completed the Child Sleep Institute's Infant Mental Health Programme. Holders of the Child Sleep Institute IMH Badge have completed a university level course in Infant Mental Health. This course is offered periodically by the Infant Mental Health Program at the Ontario Hospital for Sick Children. Topics covered in this course include:
Introduction to Infant Mental Health and Early Development Understanding Brain Development in the Early Years The Importance of Attachment to Development Temperament The Development of Regulation in the Early Years The Impact of Early Trauma on Development Parental Depression The Impact of Poor Parental Mental Health on a Child Common Disorders of Early Childhood Creating Developmental Support Plans
In order to earn this badge, participants must:
Attend or view 15 classes of at least 2 hours each, for a minimum of 30 hours of instruction. These classes are led by industry leading professionals, most with M.D., Ph.D, and/or Ed.D credentials Successfully complete 15 Knowledge Assessments; one for each class Successfully complete 1 Final Course Knowledge Assessment By signing up through the Child Sleep Institute, class participants also have the opportunity to discuss the course with other class members. This results in greater knowledge retention and understanding The CSI IMH badge is only awarded to members of the Child Sleep Institute Program who have provided a copy of the Completion Certificate awarded by the Infant Mental Health Program
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Hi, I'm Amanda Moss, mum of two and founder of the Child Sleep Practice. I am based in Cambridge UK but I help families all over the world with their little ones' sleep problems. Having struggled with our daughter's sleep after we adopted her (this is her in the photo looking like butter wouldn't melt!) we knew we needed sleep coaching methods that were gentle and which wouldn't damage our fledgling attachment. Luckily for us we found Kim West (aka "The Sleep Lady") and using her gentle sleep system we were amazed at how quickly and easily we achieved our goals. I soon found that other parents were asking me for advice about their children's sleep. As a result, I was inspired to train with Kim to become one of her licensed certified Gentle Sleep Coaches.
I bring not just my Gentle Sleep Coach training to my practice but also my years of experience as an HR professional in the corporate world, coaching and advising people and giving them the skills and confidence to make changes and solve problems. I also hold a BSc (Hons) in Pysychology which included modules on child development.