Gentle Sleep Coaching Philosophy

Gentle Sleep Coaching Philosophy

The secret is consistency. You have options in sleep training, and it's important to pick the method that you feel is the best match for your child and your parenting philosophy. Be sure to choose the one you believe you can follow through with night after night.


Many parents ask:

“Are you a cry-it-out proponent or family bed advocate?” 

“Do I have to choose between two camps: co sleeping/no crying or crib/cry-it-out?”

You do not have to pick a camp; this isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about what works for you and your family.

Yes, it is true that the CIO method and the starker extinction methods can work well and a bit faster than gentler methods, but this is only true IF you as the parent can follow through CONSISTENTLY and for long enough.

The Gentle Sleep Coaching 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 would damage their child emotionally or that filled them with so much guilt they simply 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 “Ferber” (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.

“Can you guarantee no crying?” 

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 night wakings and then 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 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.

Here's my plan for you:

I will work with you to create an individualized, 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. I can be reached via my Contact page.

Answers to a few other commonly asked questions:

  • Breastfeeding is best and it is never necessary to end breastfeeding when gentle sleep coaching your child.
  • You can continue to room share while sleep coaching.
  • I work with parents of children ages 6 months to 6 years old. Babies under 6 months I will consult with parents on how to set up healthy sleep habits from the start and if appropriate how to gently shape their sleep.

The art of putting yourself to sleep is a priceless gift you can give your child and your entire family.