Interested in becoming a sleep consultant? 

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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Sleep Consulting as a Homeschooling Mom with Selina Cotton

Sleep Consulting as a Homeschooling Mom with Selina Cotton


Selina Cotton has been supporting parents in the perinatal period since 2014. She began as a birth doula and transitioned over to postpartum support after her first child was born. For several years, she exclusively worked overnights, while raising two babies of her own. Over time, she realized that her favorite aspect of postpartum family support was helping parents to create healthy sleep habits from the very beginning. She saw firsthand just how much the entire family could thrive and parents could truly enjoy parenthood when everyone was getting quality sleep.

In 2021, Selina trained as a sleep consultant so she could better support her postpartum clients. She soon discovered that the solutions-oriented role of sleep consulting is where her true passion lies, so she stepped away from doula work to prioritize virtual sleep support. Selina is the owner of Connected Sleep Solutions, where she works part-time as a sleep consultant, while caring for and homeschooling her two children full-time.


On this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast, Selina shares: 

  • How she juggles homeschooling her kids and running her sleep consulting business
  • What it looks like for her to market her business and connect with prospective clients
  • A recent success story that will have you smiling ear to ear!



Website: Connected Sleep Solutions

Instagram: @connectedsleep

Facebook Group: Connected Sleep Solutions & Support


If you would like to learn more about the Becoming a Sleep Consultant, please join our free Facebook Group or check out our CPSM Website.

Book a free discovery call to learn how you can become a Certified Sleep Consultant here.



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.

Selina has been supporting parents in the perinatal period since 2014. She began as a birth doula and transitioned over to postpartum support after her first child was born. For several years, she exclusively worked overnights, while raising two babies of her own. Over time, she realized that her favorite aspect of postpartum family support was helping parents to create healthy sleep habits from the very beginning. She saw firsthand how much the entire family could thrive and parents could truly enjoy parenthood when everyone was getting quality sleep.

In 2021, Selina trained as a sleep consultant so she could better support her postpartum clients. She soon discovered that the solutions-oriented role of sleep consulting was where her true passion lies. So she stepped away from doula work to prioritize virtual sleep support.

Selina is the owner of Connected Sleep Solutions, where she works part-time as a sleep consultant, while caring for and homeschooling her two children full-time.

Jayne Havens: Selina, welcome to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. So happy to be chatting with you today.

Selina Cotton: I’m super excited to be talking with you.

Jayne Havens: So before we get started, why don’t you tell us a little bit about you, and maybe share your journey through becoming a sleep consultant and what your business looks like today?

Selina Cotton: For me, it was a gradual progression through the perinatal sphere. I started as a birth doula and really loved it. But by the time I had kids, I felt like that was a lot to manage, the on-call life. I added postpartum work, and I really enjoyed that. It was really fun to be in the home with parents and helping them with that new big transition. But I was exclusively working overnights, and that just was a lot for my family, for me. And so I was looking for something else.

At first, I thought I was just going to be adding sleep consulting to postpartum work. Then I saw how great it was and something I could do completely from home. And so I pretty much pulled back from postpartum work. Every once in a while, I’ll grab a job here and there but, basically, exclusively doing virtual sleep consulting.

Jayne Havens: That’s amazing. And you’re a homeschooling mom.

Selina Cotton: I am. I’ve got an eight year old and a five year old who I homeschool.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, so talk to me about that. Because I know that your children are your number one top priority. How do you balance being a present mom, homeschooling your kids, and trying to navigate supporting clients and grow your sleep consulting business all at the same time.

Selina Cotton: I feel like I should add the caveat that I’m really only schooling my oldest. Because my five year old, she doesn’t take much. I know there are families who have a lot more to juggle with multiple students. But for my kids, it really starts with having a routine.

We’ve got to have a really consistent morning wake up and start to the school day. And so we find our rhythm with going through our lessons. Then by that point, after we put in two, two and a half hours, the kids are ready for a break and ready to play with each other. And so then I can find a little pocket where I can jump up to my computer and send out some emails or check in with clients, check my text messages. I try to keep my phone put away when I’m doing lessons. And my clients know that. I tell them I’m fairly responsive and give them a definition of what that looks like.

Then we do lunch, and then the kids have some independent time in the afternoon. I like to morph naps into independent playtime when I’m consulting with families, and I’ve maintained that for my own children. Everybody in my house thrives with it. And so with that independent time and the kids are doing their own thing, then I can occasionally do calls in the afternoon. My preference is to do evenings, when I know they’re completely covered with my husband. But they’ve gotten to the age where I can definitely do calls in the afternoon. It didn’t used to be that way. So if you would ask me this question two years ago, it probably would have been different.

There was a lot of Saturday mornings and evenings only. Because there’s just no way I was going to be doing calls. I’m not really comfortable doing calls when my kids are interrupting it. It’s just not something I love. I know there are some who — I kind of go back and forth because I feel like that normalizes. I’m a mom, and I have a business. I can do it both. And we’re here to just show parents we can live life, and we can make it work. But for me, I really prefer to just have them completely out of my room, out of the space, not interrupting.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I’ve had it both ways as well. Because my kids have grown up alongside of my business, I think, the way that yours are growing up alongside of your business. I remember when my kids were really little, I was having to juggle trying to be really present with them and then trying to be present with my business. It felt like I had six balls in the air. It was a lot when they were little. I don’t want to minimize that, because I think that there’s this idea that women should be able to just no problem to do it all.

There’s that saying, like, we should work like we don’t have kids and raise our kids like we don’t work or something like that. Right? It is truly a juggle. But it sounds like you’re sort of crossing that threshold into a time period where your kids are more independent and they can entertain themselves. They also probably have better manners. They know not to interrupt you if you’re on a call, right?

I was doing some calls yesterday afternoon, which is not typical for me. In the afternoons, typically, I’m fully present with my kids. But we’re about to be two weeks on spring break where I’m basically closing down my calendar, so I was sort of squeezing in a bunch of stuff yesterday afternoon. My kids were just in the living room hanging out. I knew they weren’t going to bother me because they’re 11 and 7, and we’re past the age where that’s a total crapshoot.

Selina Cotton: Right. It’s more likely at this point. My kids get it. They understand that they can’t interrupt me.

Jayne Havens: And they’ve watched you. They’ve watched you, since they were little, grow this business. Right? I would imagine they get it. They understand what you do. They know, right? They know that you support families, that you’re helping other moms. How do they feel about that? Do they like watching you grow your business? Are they interested in your business?

Selina Cotton: Well, my daughter assures me that I should be the one to sleep train her children. My son has asked me if I will charge him for the service.

Jayne Havens: Okay.

Selina Cotton: So we’ve had conversations all around. I let them know that I’d be happy to provide my services for free and that I trust that they will be able to do it entirely on their own. I would support them, and they will have the confidence to do it themselves. But it’s just so funny. My daughter is like, “Yep, you can move in with me, and you can sleep train all of my children.”

Jayne Havens: That’s really funny. My daughter, we talked about one day if she’s going to take over my family business. Is she going to be a sleep consultant? Is she going to run Center for Pediatric Sleep Management one day? She asked me not too long ago if she was going to have to pay for the course to get trained.

Selina Cotton: I love it. I love just the idea as a family business. I know. You see all these other family businesses, and my mind wouldn’t go there with sleep consulting. But that’s amazing.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, she’s like, “Mom, am I going to have to pay for the course, or can you just let me learn for free?” And I was like, you definitely can learn for free. No problem.

Selina Cotton: Oh, my gosh. That’s amazing.

Jayne Havens: So I thought that was really, really cute. I actually happened to be Voxer-ing back and forth with Kerri Nachlas, who’s a CPSM grad who just launched a parenting coaching certification. So I was joking with her and telling her about all this. Kerri is like, “Oh, tell her she can enroll in the parenting coaching course too.”

Selina Cotton: That’s amazing.

Jayne Havens: So Ivy was so excited. She’s like, “I’m going to be a sleep coach. I’m going to be a parenting coach.” I just think it’s really sweet when our kids are involved in what we’re doing professionally. I think it shows them that we can be good parents and good business people, take care of our kids and provide for them all at the same time, which I think is really nice.

Selina Cotton: Yeah.

Jayne Havens: Talk to me about your recent trip to Mexico. I know that you went there. I think it was for about two weeks. And it wasn’t really a vacation. It was more of immersive learning experience for your kids. Tell us what that looked like. Did you have clients while you were there? Were you working? What did that look like?

Selina Cotton: Yes, we went to Mexico for two weeks, all four of us, with my husband and my kids. The goal was for an immersive language learning. They had a perfect little school there. They had a class for the kids. They had a class for my husband, a class for myself. I’m pretty fluent in Spanish, and so my husband and I are not at the same levels. But we got to take all our own classes. It was three hours, five days a week. It’s a pretty substantial chunk of time when you’re on what might otherwise seem like a vacation.

The goal was to just really kickstart our language learning. Because I want to be teaching the kids Spanish as part of our foreign language. I should have done it from birth. But here we are. And so, yeah, we thought, let’s just do this. Let’s kind of get everybody excited and taking a good jumpstart on it.

As far as sleep consulting, I actually did intentionally close on my calendar leading up to that trip, so I would have no clients, no calls, nothing. But I had some friends I had connected with online. I’ve kind of been chatting back and forth with them for a while. They were having some struggles with their children, or these families actually have adopted children. And so we have that trauma piece to come into play where they’re trying to be really connected and make changes that are helpful for their children and feel safe.

And so we’re able to put our heads together and talk through things. I shared my my sleep consulting experience. They shared their adoptive parenting, obviously, experience with their specific children. We went back and forth. It was this fun way to be still engaged with my work, but it was pretty casual. And so that’s what I did for sleep consulting while I was in Mexico.

Jayne Havens: I think that that’s so amazing, first of all, that you can just pick up and have these opportunities with your children for them to learn and experience new things. And you can choose to work while you’re there, or you can choose to not work while you’re there. I’ve done it both ways. I’ve never picked up and taken my kids anywhere for two weeks for an immersive learning experience, so I’m jealous that you did that.

But whenever we go on vacation, whether it’s with my kids or without my kids, I’m always making a conscious decision. Am I working through this trip? Am I not working through this trip? What does that look like? My kids are about to be on spring break, and we have a really late spring break this year. It’s like almost the end of the school year.

My kids are just off. We’re going to Florida just for four nights. I’ve really pretty much closed my calendar. I have a couple of openings in the early morning hours, like before my kids are really up and ready for the day. Other than that, not going to be working. I love that sometimes you can work. Sometimes you don’t have to. You make it whatever you want for yourself. So I love that you have that opportunity for your family.

Selina Cotton: Yeah, it was fun.

Jayne Havens: Talk to me about finding clients, connecting with prospective clients. I know that you’re doing this very part time, and you’re not trying to build an empire by any means. You’re doing what works for you and what works for your family. But what does it look like for you to connect with prospective families? Are they finding you through referrals? Are you finding them in Facebook groups? What does that look like for you?

Selina Cotton: It’s kind of a mixed bag. I don’t love social media, but I do some of it. I would say my first big kind of flow of clients was coming from a couple of other — also, one is a sleep consultant. I guess they’re both. So a couple other sleep consultants who are also postpartum doulas. And for different reasons, either their practice was full, or there was somebody who was like, “I’m just doing postpartum work. I’m not taking sleep clients.” And so they were just sending people my way. We had an established relationship because I was a doula, and so we already knew each other. And so they would send some clients. It was a nice little trickle.

I also did some marketing in a local Facebook mom group. And so I would just show up weekly with like a Q&A session, answering some questions. I’m trying to establish myself as an expert and somebody that people could turn to. So I’ve gotten some clients through that. People will tell me, “Oh, I remember you from this group because you would make these posts.” And so that has been helpful.

Yeah, I mean, it’s just kind of been random. There are the other ones where I’m just engaging in different mom groups. I mentioned that I’m a sleep consultant. I give people some helpful ideas. They come back, and they say, “Wow, that was really helpful.” Then some reach out for support. Then, of course, now that I’ve been going long enough, I’ve got referrals from my clients.

Jayne Havens: Well, you’re my go-to on the West Coast.

Selina Cotton: Thank you.

Jayne Havens: I think everybody knows I don’t like to support families on the West Coast, because I go to bed at 9:30. So I just can’t hang for bedtime in California or Washington, whatever it is. I just, I can’t. So you’re always my go-to for the West Coast. I know that you take such good care of all of the families that you support. I’m wondering. Do you prefer working with infants or toddlers, or does it not really matter to you?

Selina Cotton: That’s a good question. I don’t know. You know, I really enjoyed both. I feel like infants, they learn so quickly and so it’s kind of just a quick fix. But then toddlers, you kind of dip into some of the parenting coaching. I’m not marketing myself as a parenting coach. But I enjoy that aspect and really connecting with parents and talking about what does your day look like, what’s going on? We see this at bedtime. But what are these other conversations like? And so I enjoy that aspect of really connecting with parents to see the big picture.

So I guess I can’t really say I prefer one over the other. I mean, I’ve got a couple of ages where they’re not my favorite, like ranges. I think I listened to one of your podcasts where you said that you love the 10 to 14 months or something. I’m like, oh, that’s what I don’t love. It’s like this transition where some babies are ready for one nap. A lot of them are still on two. Some are standing and struggling to sit back down. And so they’re standing, and that is impacting sleep training. I thought that was funny that you’d said that was one of your favorite ages. I was like, no thanks. Not my favorite.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I know. A lot of people love to work with four or five, six month olds. I find those babies to be challenging if they’re not rolling, if mom is really anxious about the process. A lot of the time when I work with younger babies, mom — and sometimes dad but usually more mom — is very anxious about the process.

While I love being the person that they can lean on for support, I carry their anxiety in my neck and in my shoulders. I feel it. So sometimes when I work with older babies, it’s easier for me to explain to them. Like, they are ready. It’s time. This is in everybody’s best interest. It’s easier to see that, I think, sometimes when they’re a little older. I don’t know.

Selina Cotton: Well, at that point, the parents have clearly seen some preferences asserted. Whereas in that beginning age, it’s not really clear. It’s that transition. Babies have all needs. Babies have some preferences, and it’s not always easy to see when that shifts.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I agree with that. Do you have a recent case or family that you’ve supported that feels like a huge win? Maybe you can share a really great story from recent past.

Selina Cotton: There was one. I’ve got so many that are fun, but there was one that I just really enjoyed. This was a single mom who has one child. The little girl was like 10 months old. Mom was nursing to sleep and laying on a floor bed with her daughter. She was wanting to get her daughter into a crib and sleeping independently. She was also doing this routine for naps. So bedtime and nap and working from home, it was just a lot.

She was really, really worried about the crying and making sure her daughter was feeling safe and secure in the process. So we did a lot of coaching, coaching mom through the feelings and just letting her know this was going to be okay. We were going to be supportive through the process. And so we took things pretty slowly, but we kept moving. It was just really fun to see her daughter was ready. She was getting it. She was getting better at sleep.

Then I could see mom’s confidence grow. And it was like just the shift for her, of recognizing what her daughter was capable of, that was really fun. It just seemed like it kind of put her into this new level of like “And I’m about to have a toddler.” She can do all these things, and she’s ready for daycare as kind of the next thing that happened pretty soon after.

It helped her to feel more empowered as a single parent to be able to meet her own needs as well. So she could take care of her daughter, get her the sleep she needs, and also be a separate person. So that was really fun for me.

Jayne Havens: That’s a good one. Do you have any vision or ideas for how your business might grow or evolve as your kids get a little bit older? Or do you imagine it sort of coasting and staying the same as it is now?

Selina Cotton: I mean, I really appreciate the ebbs and flows that I can take with it. If I’m feeling like I’ve got a lot of other life responsibilities, I just don’t even work at marketing. I take whoever shows up in my inbox. I do see, though, as my kids grow being able to push it harder and do that intentional marketing opportunities and intentional connections so that I could put a few hours of work into the day.

Consistently, I’m not doing maybe like an hour a day, if that sometimes. So I can see as my kids are becoming more independent and able to do more of their schoolwork on their own, I could see that creating more space for it to be, I’d say, more of a part time job. This feels almost less than part time for what I’m doing right now while my kids are young. Yeah, but I just love that it can just morph and be whatever I want it to be.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I get that. And even as somebody who’s busier, I still feel that way. I love that I can ramp it up when I feel like I have time to do so and wind it down when I’m feeling crunched with other life responsibilities. So I think that that never really changes, whether you’re sort of just dabbling and supporting families here or there or whether you’re doing it closer to full time. I think as your kids get a little older, you’ll probably push a little harder.

Just because I know how much you love the work, I feel like you won’t be able to help yourself once you have more time on your hands.

Selina Cotton: For sure. Yeah, it really lights me up. I have fun.

Jayne Havens: Yeah. Before we wrap up, do you want to share maybe your social media or your website if people want to check you out and follow along?

Selina Cotton: Sure. So my website is connectedsleepsolutions.com. On Instagram, my handle is @connectedsleep. Then on Facebook, I’m not doing as much. I’ve got a page. That’s Connected Sleep. Then I have a group. That’s Connected Sleep Support where anybody can come in. Mostly, it’s a place to just pop in with quick questions. But every once in a while, I’ll share some tips or a video or something.

Jayne Havens: Perfect. Thank you so much for sharing. It was great to have you on. And I can’t wait to hear all that you do in the coming years.

Selina Cotton: It was good to be here. Thank 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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