I'm Serena Girardi, a pediatric sleep and routine consultant. I help exhausted parents like you find a daytime schedule and sleep plan that *actually* works. And this is no "one size fits all" approach.
Explore the blog for helpful resources, and check out our services to learn more about how we can work together to find a sleep pattern you can rely on.
If you’ve stumbled upon this post, you’re probably lying in bed right now scratching your head, trying to figure out how to get your little one to FINALLY sleep through the night. Or maybe you’re reading this because you’ve had it with unpredictable, chaotic days…or maybe you’re simply looking for some light reading as you are gearing up to welcome a new family member. No matter where you are in your journey, I am so happy you’re here. I am going to dive into the ins and outs of sleep consulting. So, if you are wondering about the value a pediatric sleep consultant may bring to your life with littles, read on!
“A pediatric sleep consultant is an expert in healthy sleep habits and techniques and guides parents in establishing a sleep plan customized to the personality and temperament of their child. A sleep consultant can also help parents resolve any issues interfering with sleep and affecting the child’s well-being (The Cradle Coach Academy, 2022).”
As a pediatric sleep specialist, I work with parents to set healthy sleep foundations for their newborns. I also help correct poorly developed sleep habits in children over three months of age. Sleep is one of the most critical yet under-explored human commodities, especially for moms recovering from childbirth. Believe it or not, the human body can not properly function without adequate sleep. Furthermore, prolonged lack of sleep can cause severe emotional and behavioral problems. Sleep consultants work closely alongside parents to support their goals and boundaries to provide the best daytime and nighttime routines for their children that allow the entire family to get the restorative sleep necessary to function at their best.
As a Child Sleep Consultant, I offer multiple options to best serve the families I work with. For children under three months of age, I work closely with parents through a Video and PDF guide (with support options) to help set healthy habits from day one. These practices include developing a healthy breast or bottle feeding schedule, implementing safe sleep habits, understanding age-appropriate wake windows, allowing age-appropriate independence as needed, setting up the perfect sleep environment and bedtime routine, and what to expect when it comes to your newborn’s sleep.
For children over three months of age, I focus on helping parents adjust and/or improve existing habits to achieve the best sleep possible. This includes taking a deep dive into their daily habits through an intake form and extensive consultation call. From there, we establish the best daytime routine options and parent-involved sleep training options (when necessary) to lovingly lead their child into sound, age-appropriate nighttime sleep.
Currently, there is no medical degree (yet!) to become a pediatric sleep consultant. I am hoping to see develop over the next few years as the demand for parental support increases.
Each consultant’s education and experience varies based on their certifications and hands-on experience. However, most pediatric sleep consultants have a background with children and extensive education through a Pediatric Sleep Consultant certification program. Personally, I have worked with over 30 families in the past two years. I have many years of experience prior to becoming a sleep consultant. I worked as a nanny/babysitter with families with children from infancy to 10 years old.
My higher education includes four years of undergraduate work. This included two years in nursing school, focused on working in a neonatal unit. I later decided to explore my options for working more directly with families. I am also certified in Red Cross CPR/First Aid, specifically for infants and children.
Additionally, I have an education in newborn care. This education focused on child safety, nutrition, physical and emotional development, sleep needs, general infant care, and infant illnesses. Finally, I have a Pediatric Sleep Consultant certification through The Cradle Coach Academy. This 200-hour certification includes the science of baby and toddler sleep. It focuses on emotional well-being in children, healthy sleep foundations, sleep training techniques, all about naps, and much more through evidence-based education, mentorship, and hands-on experience.
What I love the most about the diversity of my education is that it has allowed me to understand and implement so many different methods. Sleep training to most is just “crying it out.” Through my education and experiences, I learned that if I could change one narrative about my profession, it would be this. Every baby and family is unique, and there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to guiding a family to the practices that work best for them.
My goal always is to support families by helping to establish workable daytime routines and sleep habits. But these goals lead to so much more. They support stable mental health in parents and secure attachment between children and parents. THAT is my mission, and it looks different for every family. The common factor in each family I work with is that I am here to walk alongside them as they explore the process and achieve THEIR goals.
So, if you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably wondering…Serena, when is the right time to work with a sleep consultant? The answer….it’s never too late! While I may specialize in working with children between the ages of zero and two, it’s never too late to introduce healthy sleep habits. I work with families of all shapes and sizes; however, see below for a list of some of the most common/valuable times to connect with a sleep consultant!
Finding out you are expecting will probably be one of, if not the, happiest days of your life. But as you begin to step back and prepare for this baby, you start to realize that there is NO handbook on bringing a baby home. This is one of the best times to begin working with an infant sleep specialist. Working together with a sleep consultant from day one helps to bring predictability and consistency into what can become a very chaotic phase of parenthood.
I suggest that all families establish a postpartum plan. This should include care for your baby and should include a plan for mom. Working with a sleep consultant to set healthy nutrition and sleep foundations is essential. It also provides another line of support through the transition of welcoming a new member into your family. These proactive measures can lighten the load on mom while she recovers from giving birth. My Newborn Foundations Video/PDF Package covers in-depth the most important topics to understand for your newborn. It includes nutrition, wake windows, sleep environment, pacifiers, bedtime routine, awake to sleep, age-appropriate bedtimes/sleep in 24 hours, when to wake a sleeping baby, sleep stretches by age, taking a beat to encourage sleep, and age-appropriate schedules as a guideline to understand how to structure your days.
This package also comes with support options, which I believe is the most essential part of purchasing any newborn educational material. Newborns…are incredible but often can leave us wondering and worried whether we are doing everything right for them because they cannot fully communicate their needs to us with words. A sleep consultant, especially one with newborn care experience, can answer basic and complex questions. They can also provide advice and be extremely helpful in easing a new parent’s mind. A consultant can also help set healthy sleep foundations (this does not mean sleep training) from day one. This helps to ensure consistent rest for a postpartum mom and eliminate the need for sleep training down the road. Start from day one…you will not regret it!
One of the most common times that parents reach out for support is during the 4-month or 6-month sleep regression. These regressions can be the most difficult because it generally is the first time your perfect sleeper begins to challenge sleep. These two sleep regressions are caused by mental leaps…I like to think of them as a mental progression instead of a regression. Your little one’s brain is evolving at lightning speed. They are observing, learning, and absorbing everything around them. These leaps can often interfere with sleep because, like adults, when something new and exciting is going on, your baby’s brain can go into overdrive and interfere with rest.
This is a great time to reach out to a sleep consultant. Often, this is when parents begin overcompensating with sleep crutches to do anything in their power to get their baby to sleep. Then a month passes, and they realize they are still seeing the effects of the regression when, in reality, a sleep regression should usually last only around two weeks.
This is usually when I recommend utilizing my general consultation package. It is designed for children three months and up. It includes a detailed intake form, consultation call/zoom, PDF guide outlining important habits for your child’s age, a sleep training technique tailored to your family if needed, an age-appropriate schedule, and one month of email/text/phone support!
Another great time to reach out to a sleep consultant is when you feel ready to change certain habits. Most times, certain routines work for parents and their little ones for a while. But as your child grows, you return to work, or you are looking to welcome another member into the family (the list could go on), those habits may no longer work for your family. Examples of this may be moving from bed-sharing to independent sleep, eliminating rocking to sleep to comforting bedside, or weaning the feed-to-sleep association.
There are so many things that work for a season but may not be the best option for you anymore. Navigating that evolution can be intimidating, lonely, exciting, and overwhelming…it can bring waves of emotions. A sleep consultant can provide instruction, support, and love during this time and be a sounding board for you if the going gets tough when implementing these changes.
The short answer is yes… but always keep in mind that every child is different, and every family is unique. What I can promise you is that with consistent application of the techniques and information you learn when working with a pediatric sleep consultant, you should see remarkable improvements in your child’s sleep.
Here are some testimonials from happy parents!
“I am beyond pleased with the help we got from Serena. She helped us through every hurdle with our little. She was waking up 5-6 times a nights and now sleeps 12-12.5 hours straight through & takes her naps consistently with little to no issues. Tenley was teething, going through a growth spurt, & a time change. Serena helped us through all of it step by step. Her incredible communication helped Tenley get on a schedule, and I would do it all over again with her help!” – Brittany G.
“Serena found us exactly when we needed her. We were struggling with early wakings with our little one, and she was so incredibly attentive when working with us to get her to sleep through the night. She thoroughly asked us questions regarding our baby’s schedule, our preferences, and sleep history. More than anything, I really appreciated that she respected that I did not want to use a cry it out method. She provided so many wonderful alternatives and educational material and taught us how to adjust our daughter’s schedule. She was constantly available for us to contact and worked with me to answer any questions I had (at any time, which was literally awesome). Now our little one is sleeping 12 hours straight through the night, and I could cry with happiness. She’s so worth it.” – Sydney T.
If you are ready to jump in with a pediatric sleep specialist, I am so excited for you! Feel free to reach out to me to connect. You can visit the contact page on my website, email me at serena@SandandSleep.com, or reach out to me via Instagram @sandandsleep.
I offer multiple packages to best suit each family and their child’s needs. You can check them out on my Services Page.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with you and cannot wait to help you lovingly lead your family into the best sleep habits for YOU!