As a sleep consultant, you will work with every type of parent- some will be very strict, some will be devoted to sleep training from the start, and others may be more hesitant. There may also be parents you assume won’t work with you or that you shouldn’t target through marketing. While some people will never hire a sleep consultant, it’s important to understand that every parent can benefit from your services. Attachment parenting is one philosophy that is less commonly associated with sleep training- but as a Center for Pediatric Sleep Management graduate, you will be equipped to work with these families.
Attachment parenting is a parenting philosophy defined by eight core principles:
Rather than a strict set of rules, attachment parenting is a general approach. Many people will use some of these principles without setting out to be an attachment parent, and others will try to strictly adhere to them.
You may notice that none of these principles specify no sleep training- and that’s because they are compatible! In fact, these principles support our philosophy well. Striving for balance is a key component of attachment parenting, and also a common reason that parents seek a sleep consultant. By offering a sleep plan that meets the family’s needs, this balance is in reach.
It is true that most attachment parents will not want to use a full extinction plan, but that’s okay. Each plan can be tailored to their comfort level and intentionally include these principles. Responding with sensitivity and nurturing touch is a key part of sleep training, as they let their child know they are there and feel comforted during check-ins or upon waking.
Building in opportunities for comfort, touch, and sensitivity will make these plans successful.
A common myth about attachment parenting is that it necessitates bedsharing. While some parents will practice this, it is not a requirement, and many people successfully implement these principles without bringing their baby into bed.
As a sleep consultant, it is critical that all plans are built around safe sleep guidelines, including that, babies are placed in their own sleep space like a crib or bassinet. You may notice the principles dictate physically safe sleep, meaning this is very in line with the philosophy of attachment parenting. You should never expect to create a sleep plan that involves bedsharing.
The principles also call out emotionally safe sleep. This can include a child feeling safe enough to fall asleep on their own, as well as knowing their parent will return for check-ins and at waking. As you build a sleep plan, you can think of how to incorporate this emotional safety.
To learn more about how to work with attachment parents and other clients, join our Facebook group to hear from other consultants.