Amber Matusky has been supporting families through birth and the transition into parenthood as a birth and postpartum doula since 2006. She is a solo parent to two amazing kids, 13 years apart. She began sleep consulting earlier this year as a way to further support her clients long term, as well as a means to realize her dreams of being more present for her kids. One day Amber wishes to move abroad, and she believes that her ability to support families virtually is going to be what allows her to make this move for her family one day! Amber finds peace in nature. You can find her in the garden growing vegetables, in the kitchen preserving the bounty or on the water paddle boarding in her free time! Bedshare at home
Bedshare at home
Book a free discovery call to learn how you can become a Certified Sleep Consultant here.
On this podcast, I’ll be discussing the business side of sleep consulting. You’ll have an insider’s view on launching, growing, and even scaling a sleep consulting business. This is not a podcast about sleep training. This is a podcast about business building and entrepreneurship.
Amber has been supporting families through birth and the transition into parenthood as a birth and postpartum doula since 2006. She is a solo parent to two amazing kids, 13 years apart. She began sleep consulting earlier this year as a way to further support her clients long term, as well as a means to realize her dreams of being more present for her kids.
One day, Amber wishes to move abroad, and she believes that her ability to support families virtually is going to be what allows her to make this move for her family one day. Amber finds peace in nature. You can find her in the garden growing vegetables, in the kitchen preserving the bounty or on the water paddle boarding in her free time.
Jayne Havens: Amber, welcome to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. I’m very excited to have this conversation with you today.
Amber Matusky: Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
Jayne Havens: Before we get started, tell us a little bit about you. Why did you decide to get certified to work as a sleep consultant? Tell us a little bit about your career, your journey as a birth and postpartum doula.
Amber Matusky: Yeah, sure. So I am a solo mother of two. I have a daughter who’s almost 18, and a son who’s 4. So a big age gap there. My daughter was kind of my door into the whole birth world. I attended births basically her whole life, and then I had my son. That was a real clear reminder of why I do this work.
I went back on call last fall for four births. And I was just like, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t care. I want to be with my son.” That’s not fair to my clients. So I was trying to figure out how I could use my life’s career in a way that I could make money from my computer so that I could be there. I stumbled upon sleep consulting. Then I found you, and I decided to take the course.
Jayne Havens: I love that. I wanted to have you specifically on this podcast today because you support families through the process of teaching independent sleep habits as a sleep consultant, and yet you bedshare with your own child. Can I ask you to share a little bit about your own family circumstances, why you bedshare, and what that looks like for your family? Then maybe we’ll get into what that looks like professionally for you to support families in a way that’s entirely different than what you do at home.
Amber Matusky: Sure. Yeah, I do. I bedshare with my son. I bedshared with my daughter until she decided to move out. I think she was seven, and it was on Christmas Eve. She never came back. It was just like, I told her she could sleep with the dog in her bed but not mine. He won. Then how quickly I adjusted to sleeping in my own bed, it was wonderful. I don’t know. It just felt normal and natural.
We have a small space, so it was practical also. I don’t know. It works for me. I don’t feel like I don’t have a partner, so I don’t have any competition for bed space or my attention. That’s huge. It just works. It doesn’t feel like I’m suffering like some of my clients that call me where they’re really struggling, and their mental health is at risk. I just don’t feel like my situation has that right now. So I don’t really feel a need to change it if it’s not broken.
Jayne Havens: I think that’s something that we, as sleep consultants, there’s this idea out there that I think is just not based in any sort of reality. But there’s this idea out there that sleep consultants are out there to get the babies out of people’s beds or that we’re on a mission to have babies or toddlers sleep in a certain way. At least for me, I know for you as well, and most, if not all, of those who are enrolled in CPSM, we’re out there to support families to make a change if and when they want to make a change, right?
Amber Matusky: Right, yeah.
Jayne Havens: I always say like I’m not the bedsharing police. If you want to have a child in your bed and that works for your family, that’s your choice. Good for you. I truly believe that all parents deserve the support that they’re looking for — not necessarily the support that we offer but the support that works for them. And so I support parents who want to transition their kids out of their beds or who want to teach their kids to sleep independently for longer stretches. That’s what they want so that’s the support that I offer.
Amber Matusky: Yeah, and those are the clients I’ve had so far as well. I don’t think really that a co-sleeping, breastfeeding mother — I mean, in my experience so far. I’m new — they’re not hiring sleep consultants. They’re doing what they’re doing. And if it comes to the point where they need to change something, then that support can be invaluable. I’d be happy to support them as well.
The other thing is that I don’t know what kind of results they’re going to get if they continue to do what they’re doing. I night weaned my son way earlier than I did my daughter because I remember when I did that, she suddenly slept through the night. I’m like, man, I’m never going to nurse that long again.
Jayne Havens: So you did what you needed to do to have a sustainable situation in your life. I think that’s what our clients are doing as well. They’re reaching out for support when their current circumstances are no longer suiting their family.
Amber Matusky: Exactly, yeah.
Jayne Havens: When you decided to get certified, I’m wondering, did you have any sort of imposter syndrome seep in because you’re going to be coaching parents to make a shift that you weren’t making yourself? What did that look like in your head for you?
Amber Matusky: Absolutely. So in my head, yeah, I definitely doubted. Like, would anybody trust me to help them through this? Because I’ve never done it myself. So how could I know what they’re going to? Yada yada, yada. But then I started thinking about my career as a doula and how I don’t have any qualms supporting somebody who makes choices around their birth that are different from choices that I would make. None. I just feel like it’s their experience, and they should get exactly what they want. I’m an advocate for them, and I just leave my own experience out of it. I think that that’s what makes somebody a good doula. It’s not about you. It’s their story.
When I started, it maybe wasn’t quite that way. I had a birth that sticks out in particular. It was a woman who was a nurse practitioner. So she was pretty informed about the medical system. She opted for an induction. I went with her. It turned into a day’s long induction. It ended as cesarean. But I left that birth feeling like, wow, that was a really great birth and a little bit confusing at the time.
But then I just realized they were treated with kindness and respect, and she made the decisions all along the way. They felt happy about their birth, so my job was well done. It was really freeing actually. Up until that point, I felt like if they didn’t get the birth that they had wrote down in their birth plan, that somehow, I failed. But I think a little bit of disconnect is really liberating in that sense.
What I do in my home or what I choose for my birth isn’t what everybody is going to choose. And as a doula, I totally support people finding their own parenting style and their own power in parenting. That’s great. It doesn’t have to be what I do. It’s often not what I do. You know what I mean? We’re all doing our best. There’s a million ways to be a great mom. I’ve seen a lot of them, and I hold no judgment to people that do things differently. They got to do what works for them.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think so.
Amber Matusky: And if they need a sleep consultant, yeah, I’m happy to be their support.
Jayne Havens: I had written down a follow-up thought to that question that perhaps you being at peace with your own decisions that you’ve made for your own family is what has sort of allowed you to be the sleep coach that you are. That you actually feel really comfortable in the way that you are supporting your own children, and you want your clients to feel really comfortable in the way that they are choosing to support their children.
Amber Matusky: Absolutely. Yeah, it feels like just being with families in those first weeks, especially first-time parents, I just love that role — the postpartum doula. Because I get to show them all these things. I’m like, “Here’s ways people do stuff.” Just letting them kind of decide what feels best to them and then empowering them to be that way. It’s a hard thing to step into those first weeks and months and even years of being a parent, and just helping them find their power.
Jayne Havens: Absolutely. One thing that came up in our CPSM community — it was actually earlier this morning or last night. Somebody posted about, I think it was a little nine-month-old baby who was previously maybe bedsharing and nursing throughout the night.
Amber Matusky: I think I saw that.
Jayne Havens: They had started sleep training, whether it was last night or the night before, and it was really hard. The first night didn’t go great. And so the sleep consultant was feeling a little worn down and questioning her own, everything that she was offering to this family. She was asking like, “Should I pivot? Should we try another method? It was her question. In my mind, the way that I always support families is, I never tell families what to do. I never tell families, “You should use method A, or method B, or method C.” I never do that.
I always just give options, and I talk them through the options. I manage their expectations around the options, and then I let them decide how they want to proceed. And so it’s never me coming in telling them what to do. It’s telling them the options and then coaching them through their said choice. I think that that’s also what you do really, really well, which is just present the options without judgment, without any sort of agenda or bias, and let the family decide what works best for them. I think that that truly is the key to success. Because when our clients feel in control of how they’re making the change, they feel, I think, more empowered. They feel more confident.
Amber Matusky: And more committed.
Jayne Havens: And more committed. And when they’re being told what to do, I think that that’s really hard. I think that it just doesn’t really work. At least in my experience, it doesn’t.
Amber Matusky: I totally agree with you. Yeah, and it just feels so similar and an extension of my career as a birth and postpartum doula. It’s like you’re there for the first few months as a postpartum doula, but sleep is still an issue. I learned so much in the course. I feel like I can help people so much better with all this knowledge. And yeah, I’m not there to judge. Just like my role as a doula, it’s like, “Here are your options. What sounds good to you? Do you have questions about them? I’m here to support you.” It’s exactly the same, really.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, you’re my favorite kind of doula. I think that there are different types of doulas. There are certain doulas that are all about sort of meeting families where they are and supporting them to figure out their own parenting style and to navigate parenting in a way that works for them. Then there are others who come in and they’re like, “You need to do it this way.”
Amber Matusky: Well, that’s been an evolution for sure. I mean, I’ve been doing this for about 17 years. If I’m honest, I may have been that way in the beginning. I remember we’re currently moving, so I’ve been going through a lot of stuff. There was this journal I found. It was basically like, “I became a doula because I had an empowering birth experience.” This is true. I want people to feel empowered. But under that was like, “I want them to have the experience I had.” You realize, with time, that’s not what makes it empowered.
You can have a birth experience with all of the interventions that you didn’t want and still feel empowered, or you can have a natural birth that you didn’t want and be traumatized. It’s all about the care you’re receiving. If you’re treated with respect and dignity and you’re making those decisions, even if they’re not what you thought you were going to make going into it. Things change.
Jayne Havens: Absolutely. And to relate that back to sleep, actually, my last two clients ended up implementing sleep training techniques that were so far from what they had originally wanted for their child or what they set out to do. They just got to a point where they needed to pivot. They needed to draw a firmer boundary and set a more clean line, that clear line in the sand. And when they did, they had such an immediate transformation.
Everything sort of came together so quickly that they felt so empowered, and they felt so good about the choices that they made. I don’t think that that ever would have happened without proper coaching and support. And it wasn’t you telling them. They came to those conclusions on their own. I am never one to tell families what to do in any moment. I always just present the options and manage expectations. But as you said, it’s not always about doing it the way you thought you had to do it.
Amber Matusky: Yeah, things change. Parenting is so humbling all along the way. Sleep is the biggest topic when you’re becoming a parent and in those first months, and then ongoing. I worked with a client who had twins. She was very co-sleeping, breastfeeding kind of mother and very hesitant to sleep train. And yet, there she was 10 months in completely fried, at her wit’s end, just mental health suffering. That branches out to the whole family. She, I feel like, just needed almost like a permission to be like, hey, there’s another way. There’s actually a lot of other ways. What do you think about these options?
Anyway, we had great success as well. She found herself doing things she never thought she would do as a mother. But she didn’t think she’d have twins either. It’s just humbling. You talk about it a lot, the mom shaming and the judgment. It’s like there’s just no room for that. We’re all doing our best, and nobody’s going to do it the same.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I agree. I know you’re just getting started with your sleep consulting services. So far, you’ve supported a handful of parents, I think, all with infants, right? Have you worked with any toddlers? So you haven’t worked with any toddlers yet. I’m wondering if this is an age group that you feel comfortable supporting. If you get a call tomorrow for a three-and-a-half-year-old that won’t stay in bed, and the parents want their child to sleep in their own room, do you think you’d feel comfortable supporting that family?
Amber Matusky: Well, the timing of your question is great because I actually do have a three-year-old that I’m going to start working with in the next week. So we’re going to see how that goes. I love the babies. My last client, it was like the dream client. He was six-months-old. He was transitioning out of a SNOO. He had already slept eight to nine hours straight at night. Their issue was: they had gone on a trip, and he had slept in a crib. It was terrible. It was like back to the beginning. He would only take naps on them, and mom wanted some time in the day to do things.
And so we wrote up a plan. We were just going to go from A to where we wanted to be in one fell swoop. It was just amazing. I had put things in there about night wakings forgetting that he had had this good long stretch for a long time. I’m like, okay, we’re keeping everything the same, except the SNOO is gone. Then we’re just going to practice this.
He was like a dream baby. He never started night waking. They just gave him time to figure it out and go back to sleep. It was a couple of days of practicing the abbreviated routine in the day for naps. But man, he picked it up so quick. It was awesome. It felt so good. I just love getting those testimonies and those texts of, “Oh, my god. My baby took a two-hour nap and went down with no fussing.” It just feels great. I love that I can help people now in this longer, sustainable, ongoing way that’s so crucial to everything.
Jayne Havens: I’m so excited to hear how this goes with the little three-year-old. You have to update me on that, but I’m sure it’ll go great. I’m sure it’ll go great. Since this podcast is all about business building and entrepreneurship, I have to ask you about goals. I’m wondering, where do you see yourself maybe a year from now or a few years down the line? Do you want to be doing more virtual sleep consulting, and perhaps a little bit less in-person support?
Amber Matusky: Yes, actually, my life right now is transitioning in so many ways. Like I mentioned, my daughter is going off to college. We’re moving. I’m trying to get this business up and running. Honestly, I would love to have this be my full-time gig. So I decided to invest in a website. I paid somebody a bunch of money to do that. It’s almost done. Then I just am going to hit networking super hard. I’d love to do two or three clients a week and just have this be my thing.
Jayne Havens: I think that that’s very, very doable. I think it’s very, very doable. Your families that you’ve supported through sleep training so far, where have they come from? Have they been sort of extensions of your doula work?
Amber Matusky: Yes, and all of the clients I’ve served, I have helped them in some way through birth or postpartum previously. If not this particular birth, like a previous one. So I’ve had connections that way. But that’s how it starts. Because then, they all have friends with babies. I’m just telling them like, if any of your friend is having trouble, send them my way. So I know that that’s really the ticket, that word of mouth magic.
Jayne Havens: Doulas ask me all the time, like, how do I build my sleep consulting business? It’s like, well, how did you build your doula business? It’s word of mouth. It’s helping a small handful of families and doing a really, really great job, and then reminding them that they should be sharing your name with all of their friends and their extended network, and not being afraid to ask your former clients and connections to reach out if they would benefit from this type of support and to share your name with their networks.
Amber Matusky: Yeah, I totally had this idea to go down my email and look at everybody that’s contacted me for doula stuff or that I’ve worked for in the last, say, three years. Because it’s like three years. That would be valid to just see how their sleep is going and let them know what I’m doing. I did feel like not having a website was a little bit of a block. I know it wasn’t. I mean, it was. But I started networking, and that would be the question. Oh, do you have a website? I’m like, Okay, well, I’ll let you know when I have that. That way, they can read more about me and see, just get a better feel rather than just call. I feel like people don’t call very much anymore.
Jayne Havens: Okay. Well, it sounds like you’re doing all the things to get yourself off the ground. These first 5 or 6 that you’ve helped are going to turn into 15 or 20 more. I think it multiplies, especially when you do a really good job. One family could tell 10 people about you. So it definitely grows as long as you are providing families with a whole lot of support, accountability, and results if you’re giving them that transformation, which it sounds like you definitely, definitely are.
Amber Matusky: So far, it’s been great. Yeah, it’s awesome.
Jayne Havens: Share. If you’re willing, what is your website address? Hopefully, maybe it’ll be ready by the time this podcast launches, and if you have social media or anywhere else that people can find you.
Amber Matusky: I have social media. I am not super active on there, but I’ve been told I got to share my blog posts on there in order to help the SEO. My website is called soundpediatricsleepconsulting.com. Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be ready by the time this goes live. It’s like on just the verge. There’s a couple last edits, and then it’ll be there.
Jayne Havens: Okay. Then I’m going to make sure that we release this when your website goes live. You can share it all together, which I think will be fabulous.
Amber Matusky: Awesome. That’d be great. My Instagram—
Jayne Havens: Congrats on your early success. Oh, yeah, please do share your Instagram.
Amber Matusky: Sorry.
Jayne Havens: That’s okay.
Jayne Havens: Okay. Perfect. I’ll make sure that all of that is in the show notes. Again, congrats on your early success. I can’t wait to see all that you do in the next year or so.
Amber Matusky: Awesome. Thank you so much, Jayne. I appreciate it.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, it would mean so much to me if you would rate, review, and subscribe. When you rate, review, and subscribe, this helps the podcast reach a greater audience. I am so grateful for your support.
If you would like to learn more about how you can become a certified sleep consultant, head over to my Facebook Group, Becoming a Sleep Consultant or to my website thecpsm.com. Thanks so much, and I hope you will tune in for the next episode.Bedshare at Home