How I Decided to Become a Sleep Coach

I wanted to write a bit about my experience with my son and how I decided to become a sleep coach.

My daughter was a laid back mellow newborn. I would watch those newborn shows where a newborn would cry hysterically and I could not at all relate to that. kids sleepoverMy daughter would fuss a bit, but that was it. I remember in the evening she’d become a little more difficult and want to nurse a lot and not really want to go to sleep, but I was okay with that and through it, she was still not crying.

Then my son came along 23 months later, and everything changed!  He cried when he was hungry, he cried when we changed his diaper, and he cried and cried for no reason that we could figure out!  We could hold a pacifier in his mouth and sometimes he would suck on that and stop crying.  But if it fell out, he started all over again.

I remember walking him around the house, trying to hold the pacifier in his mouth, just hoping he would fall asleep and stay asleep!  (Or maybe at least stop crying!)  I remember the noise of the pacifier falling out of his mouth in the middle of the night and how my stomach would just drop since I knew he’d be up shortly after that.   I also remember the feeling of not even wanting to go to sleep at night because I knew I would be up again and it was so much harder to get up once I had been asleep.  I have a feeling that some of you reading this have also felt this way.

For the first year of my son’s life, I stayed home with him and my daughter.  That was a hard time, I was afraid to leave the house unless my son had just woken up from a nap, and then I knew I only had a little bit of time before he would get fussy again.  When he was around seven months, I stopped breast-feeding him in hopes that formula would help him sleep better.  Unfortunately, it did not help and I still sometimes regret that decision.

When he was a year, I went back to work at the preschool I had worked at before he was born.  Both kids also went to that preschool so I could see them during the day and keep an eye on them.

Fortunately for me (as I now realize!) that job was not going anywhere.  I also wanted to make more of a difference in people’s lives.  It was at the time when I was really trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life that Kim West (aka The Sleep Lady®) introduced her sleep coaching program.  I had read her book and liked her method and decided to sign up.  And the bonus was she would work with me to get my son sleeping, who at the age of 3 was still NOT sleeping through the night!

I signed up, filled out the form to send to her to help me get my son sleeping.  While waiting for the consultation, I decided to try some things myself.  At that point, my son could fall asleep on his own, but he would still wake up 1 – 3 times every night to be covered back up and get a hug and kiss.  I still had almost never slept a full night without interruption.  We decided to use a sticker chart to track his progress and at the end of each week, if he had a certain number of stickers, he got a matchbox car.  And guess what?  It worked!!!!  He started sleeping through the night and now, except for the occasionally bad dream, he never wakes us up in the middle of the night!

I finished my training, and took an additional training with the International Maternity Institute because not only do I love helping parents to get their children to sleep, I also love learning more and more about sleep and how to help parents with it.  Now I absolutely love what I am doing and am looking forward to expanding and helping even more sleepless people!!

by Michelle Winters
SleepWell Sleep Solutions

12 Thoughts on “How I Decided to Become a Sleep Coach

  1. You’ve been teaching baby to fall asleep since the very beginning, usually through some combination of nursing and rocking. When they’re younger than 4-6 months nursing, rocking, bouncing to sleep is effective and totally reasonable. While some babies this young will figure out how to sleep through the night most will wake up 2-3 times a night (newborns may wake up 4-6 times but this usually settles down within a few weeks). You feel tired and develop a substantial coffee habit but this is what being the parent of a baby requires and so you do it.

  2. Thanks for this inspiration Michelle. I’ve always find it hard to blog about me, and prefer to write content related to my work. I was touched by reading your story, and I like how I get to know you a bit better this way.

    And by the way, I love how you give a perfect example of integrating content with story 🙂 I may have to challenge myself to take my blog writing one step further…

    • sleepwell on November 27, 2013 at 10:42 am said:

      Thanks Angela! I like that you not only enjoyed the story, that it may have encouraged you to do something as well 🙂 – Michelle

  3. Thanks for educational post. I am pleased positive this post has helped me preserve many hours of surfing around other equivalent posts simply to find what I was looking for. Simply I want to point out: Thank you!

  4. Wow, never heard of a sleep coach before, but am sure a lot of Mom’s could use your services! Pretty cool! 🙂

  5. Isn’t it amazing how 2 siblings can be so different? I had the opposite experience, my daughter (the first) was restless and irritable as an infant. Her brother, on the other hand, could sleep through anything. Sure could have used you for the first one!

  6. You’re story sounds like mine. First one, no problem, second one could not sleep. It wasn’t until she was 10-11 that she stopped coming into our room to say she couldn’t sleep. I personally think she is a very anxious child. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s always interesting to see how someone got to where they are.

  7. Holy Toledo…19 years ago – That’s how long its been since I dealt with such trials and tribulations.

    From my son’s birth, I was the primary care-giver. Although his mother was (somewhat) in the picture, she was ill-equipped to care for my son. I often quip that it wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally lost my ‘hips’ from carting my son around on them for those first few years.

    He was a pretty mellow baby – typical sleep/up/sleep cycles to feed, etc. As I became the sole caregiver (product of divorce), my challenge from age 5 until around 8 years old was convincing him to sleep in his own bed (his mother committed the cardinal sin of parental coddling – she would have him sleep in bed with us)

    I laud you for ‘fighting the good fight’ and helping other parents understand, and perhaps find solutions to their child’s sleep habits…Very Cool!

  8. I love how your turned a sleeping issue you had at home into helping others! When I have children I definitely know who I’m going to call!

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