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Jayne Havens is a certified sleep consultant and the founder of Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens and Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. As a leader in the industry, Jayne advocates for healthy sleep hygiene for children of all ages. Jayne launched her comprehensive sleep consultant certification course so she could train and mentor others to work in this emerging industry.

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A Cry It Out Story with Jayne Havens

A Cry It Out Story with Jayne Havens

Everyone loves (or hates!) a good cry it out story. I am asked pretty regularly whether or not Center for Pediatric Sleep Management teaches the Cry It Out method. The answer to this question is that at CPSM, we teach all sleep training methods. We believe that parents are best set up for success when they are coached through a method that most closely aligns with their parenting style.

Sometimes this means we coach our clients through a gradual and parent present approach, and other times we are coaching parents through more traditional sleep training methods. When you meet a family where they are, and coach them through methods that feel safest and comfortable for them, that’s when you have the most success.

In this episode, I tell a cry it out story that all the anti-sleep training folks will love to hate. Sometimes all a baby needs is just a little bit of space. ENJOY!



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Intro: Welcome to Becoming a Sleep Consultant! I’m your host Jayne Havens, a certified sleep consultant and founder of both Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens and Center for Pediatric Sleep Management.

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.

Jayne Havens: I know everybody either loves or hates a good cry-it-out story, but I thought that this was so worthy of a share. Whether you are a sleep consultant that is totally comfortable with extinction, or the idea of it completely horrifies you, I think that there’s so much misinformation that swirls around on the internet and in Facebook moms’ groups. And I always think it’s great to share a story to sort of dispel some of the myths.

I hope that this story will make you feel more comfortable with sleep training in general, whether you already are a sleep consultant, and maybe you are nervous about talking about sleep training in public places because you’re afraid of how people might react to the idea that you advocate for sleep training. Or, maybe you are thinking of becoming a sleep consultant, and you’re worried about all of the drama that supports the topic. I just thought this story would be worthy to share, and maybe help you in your journey to become more comfortable in talking about how amazing sleep training can be.

Of course, yes, there are so many different ways to implement healthy sleep habits for babies and toddlers and preschoolers and big kids. You most certainly don’t need to implement extinction in order to be successful with your sleep consulting clients. But sometimes babies just want to be left alone. And giving them a few minutes to figure out how to fall asleep and back to sleep on their own can sometimes be incredibly magical.

So I’m going to tell you the story about a client of mine. I am working with a family that I connected with a mom in a Facebook group. She was at her absolute rock bottom wit’s end with her five-month-old. Actually, at the time, her baby was four months old. He was up every hour. She was rocking him to sleep for all naps. He’d wake up 38 minutes into a nap screaming and crying. She is a real estate agent. She works from home and has a lot of flexibility. But she was finding it really hard to function, both in her career and as a mother. Because she was so sleep deprived and just really not enjoying her baby.

She very reluctantly hired me. She was sort of against sleep training, didn’t want to implement sleep training, and was just incredibly anxious about the whole thing. I just explained to her that we were going to make changes at a pace that was safe and comfortable for her, and really everything that we were going to be doing together would be in the spirit of benefiting everybody in her entire family, both her, her husband, and her baby.

And so she signed on to work with me and then sort of — not backed out but chickened out a little bit, didn’t want to get started. And so she kicked the can down the road, which I was actually fine with because I was on vacation. I didn’t really want to be starting with her either. I also wanted to kick the can down the road. So I said no problem. I’ll touch base with you when I get home from vacation. And I did. I circled back around.

Then her baby was sick. He was legitimately sick. He was needing breathing treatments. He didn’t just have a cold. He was actually really sick, so we put off sleep training again until he was healthy. That moment when he was healthy was actually last night. This mom was just so anxious about the whole process that she decided to put her husband in charge. She was going to go down to the basement, and her husband was going to take full control over the sleep training operation.

When I sent her originally the sleep plan, I had included three different options for sleep training. I like to present really all of the age-appropriate options. Two of the sleep training methods that I had proposed were very gradual and parent-present approaches. One was my spin on the Ferber method. I don’t even think I proposed extinction. I usually don’t, especially for little babies. The way I see it is: while I’m not at all against extinction, parents aren’t hiring me so that I can tell them for their babies to cry it out. So I usually don’t even put that on paper, unless a family suggests that that’s how they want to handle it.

Anyway, this mom was super nervous, was a ball of anxiety and decided to go down to the basement. The dad wanted to implement Check and Console. He was not worried about sleep training. He had a feeling his little guy was going to do great. He said to me — he’s like, “My baby is really smart, and he picks up on stuff real fast. I think he’s going to get this. So just tell me how to do it, and we’re going to do it.”

I love dads like that. I will work with adds all day long, because they are just very methodical. They just want instructions. It’s almost like they think they’re building Ikea furniture. They just want an instruction manual, and they will do whatever you tell them to do. So I walked him through Check and Console. It was outlined in the plan. But honestly, I’m not even sure if he ever read it. I walked him through how to implement.

His little baby, his little five-month-old baby, cried for 20 minutes. We actually never even needed to check on him. Because after the first five or six minutes, it was very clear that he was actually trying. He had his hand near his mouth. He was on his belly. He was squirming around and burying his face into the mattress. It was very, very clear that he was not looking for dad. He was not being tortured, or traumatized, or any other horrible T word that people like to throw around when you talk about sleep training.

This little guy put himself to sleep in 20 minutes and slept 11 hours last night. This is a baby that was up hourly in the middle of the night. He was being fed twice in the middle of the night. Although each time he was offered a bottle, he would just drink an ounce or two and go back to sleep. I knew that this wasn’t about hunger. I did give dad permission to feed the baby. If he felt his little guy was hungry in the middle of the night, we were going to feed him and just make sure that he went down awake. But that was not necessary.

He slept 11 hours last night. He woke up, and he hung out in his crib for 35 minutes before he even called out. He was just content to be awake. He was well-rested. He was playing in his crib for 30, 35 minutes. Then he started to fuss for mom and dad. Mom and dad got him, started his day. He was awake for about two full hours. They put him down for his nap this morning, and he literally fussed. He didn’t even cry. He fussed for five minutes and slept for over an hour for his morning nap this morning.

This mom and dad, they are off to an amazing start. They are so happy. They think that I literally sprayed magic dust all over them. They don’t understand how this has happened. They’re just over the moon that this whole process has been so smooth so far. We are just having the best time. We’re having the best time. It’s like everybody feels so much better that this baby is sleeping. The mom reported to me that she spends way longer rocking him to sleep than what it took for him to get himself to sleep both for bedtime and nap today. She was spending way longer than 20 minutes to rock him to sleep. And he’s doing it faster and better on his own.

They asked me. They said like, is he just a magical baby? Is he picking this up really quickly? I said to them, I said: honestly, no, most babies do really well. Especially, he’s a bottle-fed baby. He can get to his belly. We know that he’s getting full feeds because we can see how much he’s drinking. He can roll to his belly, and he can get to a comfortable position in his crib. He just wants to be asleep. And when left to his own devices, he gets himself to sleep.

Honestly, that’s my experience with most of my clients that I work with. Sure. As babies get older, they have a little bit more stamina, some time to protest, especially if separation anxiety is at play. Or, if they’re used to feeding to sleep, sometimes that can be more challenging than a baby who’s used to just being rocked to sleep. But I don’t know. They were just so shocked that their baby is doing so well. And I’m just sitting here thinking, this is what happens 9 times out of 10. It’s usually not that hard.

And so, I share this story with you for a few reasons. One, I always like to dispel the sort of — not rumors but the misinformation that swirls around sleep training. That it’s like your baby is going to be up crying all night. You’re abandoning them, and they feel traumatized. None of that. None of that even close to happen with this little guy. He just needed to figure out how to close his eyes and get himself to sleep. He did that, and he slept 11 hours. And it’s amazing.

Really, as a sleep consultant, there’s so much — I see a lot of sleep consultants out there who will say like, “I’ll coach you through sleep training without the Cry It Out method,” or, “You don’t have to cry it out.” That’s fine. If that’s how you want to run your business, and you want to appeal to moms who don’t want to implement what they think of as traditional sleep training, I get that.

I also think that there’s room in this market for sleep consultants who are out there saying: you know what? Your baby is going to cry for a very brief period of time. It is going to feel a little hard on your mama heart. It might raise your blood pressure a little bit. But also, he’s entirely fine. He’s going to get himself to sleep most likely faster than whatever you’re expecting, and he’s going to learn this so quickly.

I said to this Mom: you’ve spent five months teaching him how to fall asleep one way, which is being aggressively bounced in your arms. It might take a few minutes for him to learn how to fall asleep in another way. That’s completely to be expected. It’s okay if he’s vocal about it. It’s okay if he’s frustrated. And it’s even okay if he’s a little mad that you’re not rocking him to sleep the way that he expects to be rocked.

But I think it’s important for us, both as consultants and then also on the parent side, to recognize that our children being upset temporarily is not a bad thing. I think that there’s room in the market when it comes to sleep consultants — I think there’s room in the market for some more of us to be speaking honestly with parents that it’s okay for our children to be temporarily upset for a very brief period of time so that they can learn an important life skill that will benefit them for years and years to come.

I think that’s my main message today. It’s that rather than spending so much time trying to convince parents that we’re going to sleep train their babies without any crying, or we’re not going to cry it out, instead of talking like that — you can talk like that. If that’s how you want to message your business, if that’s how you want to market your services, that’s totally fine. But I also think that there’s room in the market for the conversation around the fact that it’s okay for our children to be temporarily upset for brief moments of time.

That is not a reflection on us as parents. We are not bad parents if our children are upset. We are not doing any harm to our children by giving them an opportunity to try to fall asleep in a new way. And when we set respectful boundaries around what sleep looks like for our children, really, that’s when they thrive.

That’s my cry-it-out story for today. If this was not a podcast, I’d keep you updated on it. But I don’t think I can do that, so you’re just going to have to trust me that if we’re off to this strong of a start on day one, that we are going to have this in the bag completely within just a couple of days. Then we’re going to spend the rest of our two weeks together — these parents and I, we’re just going to spend the rest of our two weeks together celebrating what an amazing transformation they’ve all had as a family. I hope you enjoy this story, and I have many, many more of them to share if this is interesting to you.

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.

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