How we love for our children to acquire good sleeping habits! Sadly, not all have it, that's why we have Sleep Consultants. Today, our spotlight belongs to Sabrina Stempel, a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, CEO and
Founder of Baby Sleep Train, Midwest regional director of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants (APSC).
So how did she get into this type of profession? Sabrina tells us that when her oldest son was born, she was so unprepared for motherhood, or anything baby! He wouldn’t nap and only fell asleep if she walked him in a stroller for an hour only to stay asleep for a few minutes! She listened to advice from her pediatrician, relatives, books, Internet, and nothing helped! Finally, she called a sleep consultant. Her son was suddenly sleeping like a champ and they were all happier. Sabrina was amazed at how much sleep can change your life and was inspired to learn more and start helping others.
In a nutshell, Sabrina coaches parents in instilling healthy sleep habits for their children. The cases she works with can range from a baby who isn’t napping well, not sleeping through the night, or can’t fall asleep on his/her own, to a 5 year old who still needs a parent present in order to fall asleep and/or comes to the parents bed at night. She looks at the issue beyond surface level. She analyzes every aspect of the child’s life, such as health, nutrition, family dynamics, environment, and emotional well being. She educates the parents so that they understand the science behind their child’s sleep needs and patterns. They are given a customized schedule and plan to follow according to their parenting philosophy and the child’s health and personality. She supports them through the whole process until things are running smoothly and everyone is happy and rested.
Before starting with behavioral modification (using a sleep method) Sabrina first addresses emotional, environmental, and nutritional factors. She doesn't just work with one method. She is familiar and experienced with all of the different “expert” methods out there from gentle no crying to “Cry-it-out”. She helps her clients navigate through the different choices until they find the one that best fits their personality, comfort levels, baby’s needs and the family’s lifestyle. She tries to find the one that is most practical and within their reach.
As a consultant, her greatest achievement is not just helping the children sleep, but subsequently helping the parents (and sometimes older siblings) sleep again. Sabrina proudly says: "I’ve seen Moms drastically change from being sleep-deprived (one mom even fell asleep as I was talking to her!), moody, and an emotional wreck to happy, enthusiastic, and energized. When the Parents are sleeping again the overall atmosphere and mood of the home changes for the better. So not only am I improving a child’s health, I’m improving relationships between husband and wife and parent to child. I always come back from my consults on such a high. It’s incredibly rewarding!"
A big no-no for Sabrina is when parents start comparing themselves and their children to others and listening to others’ unprofessional opinions. Every parent and every child are so different. Comparing to a friend or relative only cause more anxiety and sometimes false hope or expectations. Just concentrate on your own child. If you are concerned or unsure about their sleep, contact a sleep consultant or pediatrician (not Google).
This year, Sabrina hopes to help as many families as she can and help spread awareness of sleep consultants. Some people don’t know that there is a professional out there who can help and it’s never too late no matter what age!
Here are some tips she shared to help our toddlers and soon to be moms:
"For babies and toddlers, first work on NOT staying in the room when they fall asleep. This is almost a guarantee that he/she will wake up looking for you in the middle of the night.
For Pregnant Moms, invest in a great body pillow! Try to take naps after you eat lunch for 20-30 minutes. It will keep you going for the rest of the day and studies have shown it helps train your baby to sleep well!!"
Finally, Sabrina confides that she loves what she does and is truly passionate about it. She feels fortunate to have found a career that she loves. As per Sabrina, "Don’t wait to seek out help. Start sleeping already!" Sabrina works with Infants through toddlers about 6 years old and she's based in Chicago but she can work with anyone in the world via phone or video chat.
For more information about Sabrina Stempel and Baby Sleep Train, please visit her website, call her at 773-234-3217 or email her at [email protected] You may also visit her Facebook page and Instagram "Baby Sleep Train"