Macall Gordon, M.A. “As a mom of two spirited, intense, non-sleeping babies (now young adults who sleep through the night), I know how tough and tricky these early years can be. I was devoted to a responsive, attuned approach, but felt abandoned by most sleep advice that was divided into two distinct camps: 1) cry it out, or 2) just consistently respond and everything will be fine. I wasn’t going to do CIO, but I was really suffering from extremely disrupted sleep. Rock, meet hard place. I needed a middle ground that would allow me to go slowly, stay responsive and present, but still encourage better sleep.
This is why I chose the Gentle approach. I work with parents to validate and support their parenting goals and figure out how to encourage better sleep without overwhelming the baby (or the parents).”
CERTIFIED GENTLE SLEEP COACH (as of January 2016) The Gentle Sleep Coach Program is the first and most extensive professional sleep coach training and certification program available. The program involves over 80 hours of training with a faculty panel that includes 2 medical doctors, a psychologist, an attorney, lactation counselor, postpartum doulas and a family therapist. Each coach must pass an exam and participate in case supervision with Kim West, LCSW-C (a.k.a. “The Sleep Lady”) who has been helping tired parents for over 17 years. Clinical supervision and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach.
Training topics included:
Basic counseling and child development
Sleep science and age-appropriate techniques to help parents of children age 6 months to 6 years old.
Secure attachment theory
Support for the breastfeeding mother
The training also consisted of lectures from top specialists, including:
Postpartum Depression from Dr Shoshana Bennett, author and leading specialist on Postpartum Depression
Medical Conditions and Sleep Apnea in Children led by Dr Lewis Kass, Director of Children’s Sleep Center
Reflux and Sleep led by Dr Anthony Loizides, pediatric gastroenterologist
Special training for infants 4-6mos. The GSC Program also includes an exclusive advanced training series specifically focused on how to gently work with babies between 4- and 5-months of age. This program, which I have also completed, consists of over 40 hours of instruction and mentorship.
Some of the curriculum training topics included:
In depth knowledge of the delicate nature of infants under 6 months of age and how to consider all elements of their well-being.
Current evidence based guidelines and instruction on how to evaluate the 4-6 month old child and family and determine if the child is ready for sleep coaching.
Gentle sleep solutions and strategies that are effective and developmentally appropriate for the younger baby.
This specialty training is designed to give coaches the knowledge, education and all the tools and resources they need to successfully work with families of babies 4-6 months of age in a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate manner.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
B.S. in Human Biology, Stanford University
M. A. in Applied Psychology (focus on Infant Mental Health), Antioch University Seattle. Coursework in infant development, attachment, emotional regulation, sleep research, psychopathology, and family systems.
Certificate in Infant Observation, Family Services/Univ. of Washington
Postpartum Action Institute Training (with Jane Honikman and Dr. Shoshana Bennett)
Adjunct Faculty, Dept. of Psychology, Antioch University, Seattle
WA State Certified Counselor (#CL60604117) approved by Washington State to work with parents and families.
Contributor – The Fussy Baby Book by Dr. William Sears
RESEARCH BACKGROUND I have conducted and presented research examining how well current research supports the use of crying-it-out for infants under six-months. Other research has examined current sleep advice and its impact on parenting experiences with managing their baby's sleep. (Research summaries at infantsleep.org).
International Society for Infant Studies (ISIS)
World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH)