Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Loving Lessons

Here is the follow-up to the post from last month about my recommendations for 'teaching' your newborns how to sleep.  I had the pleasure of meeting Irene Gouge, owner of Loving Lessons Pediatric Sleep Consulting and Educational Growth Center.  Irene is the answer to all those weary eyed parents out there who feel at a loss of how to improve their child's sleep- or lack there of!  From her experience as an educator she understands the importance of sleep and as a mother she realizes that sleep is learned and there are gentle, loving ways we can teach our children.


 Can you tell us a little about your business, Loving Lessons?   What inspired you to start Loving Lessons?

As a Pediatric Sleep Consultant with Loving Lessons, I support tired parents to help get sleep in place and empower parents with positive and gentle solutions to help their children transform their sleep habits, set children up for academic success while enjoying the parenting journey!  Loving Lessons is based on transitioning our parenting from fear based to love based.  It’s about building those loving connections to leave a legacy with our parenting for our children.  

My inspiration for Loving Lessons comes from my boys Connor and Bailey.  They taught me how important sleep really was, how different they were as children, and to respect and understand them for who they were and what they needed.  Prior to my consulting,  I was a  5th and 6th grade teacher- turned mom in 2006 to become a sleep deprived parent until 2009.  I decided to retire from teaching to do a home daycare so I could stay home with Connor and Bailey.   While taking care of my boys, 2.5 and 5 month old at the time, and a couple other children in my home daycare, I quickly realized staying home and being a mom wasn't all I had imagined it would be.

So once I learned about sleep for my 5 month old, which was sleeping from 6:30-6:30 with two, 2 hour naps, my life changed.   I was able to get 4 children down for naps at the same time which was heavenly.  I started to get sleep in place for my 3 year old too, but it wasn’t in place until I actually started my training with the Sleep Lady, Kim West.  It was during my training and consultation that I figured out what was missing, what I didn’t know about Connor and his sleep needs.   Once I discovered the secret and understood the science of sleep, it became my mission to share this with other families.  

 What specific services do you offer families looking for help sleep training their babies or children?

I offer personal sleep consultations for children ages 6 and younger where I come to the families home if they are in the local Raleigh area.  If they are not local I can accommodate families by doing our 2 hour session via Skype.   We create a personal sleep plan that will take the child’s temperament, parents’ parenting style, and schedules into consideration so we can figure out the best path to good sleep.  Clients have unlimited access to the  Client Resource area that guides and supports them step by step from sleepless to sleep filled nights.

                                                    What is your philosophy or style of sleep training?

This is always a hot topic in parenting.  Many parents do ask “Are you a cry-it-out proponent or family bed advocate? Do I have to stop breastfeeding to sleep coach my child, do I have to choose between two camps: co sleeping/no crying or crib/cry-it-out?”  You do not have to pick a camp; this isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about what is working for you and your family.  It’s about figuring out that just right approach to meet your families sleep goals.

    What specific advice can you give new or expectant parents who are trying to help their baby sleep longer?

The best thing you can do is observe your baby. Tune into what your baby is telling you.  Your baby is letting you know when they are hungry, sleepy, hurting, ready to play and engage or just content.   Be respectful to tune in and engage with your child.  If you are not sure what your baby is telling you, it might be an important step in connecting with a professional that could help you build that communication with your child. 

 What are the biggest mistakes or misinformation you see related to sleep training a baby?

There is a belief that sleep training involves leaving your child to cry it out and that’s it.  Sleep is very complex and we have to evaluate the entire sleep situation to figure out what might be holding you’re your child back from good sleep.  Leaving your child to cry it out is usually not the answer for majority of families. 

How can families get in touch with you to start the process of sleep training?

Families can get started by visiting my site http://loving-lessons.com/

You can also set up a free 15 minute phone consultation to see if sleep coaching would be the right step for your family.  https://www.timetrade.com/book/VX5T6

Fun Stuff
1.      Favorite vacation spot…Walt Disney World.

2.      Favorite restaurant…Cheesecake Factory

3.      Favorite movie…Love Actually

4.      Favorite weekend activity…is hanging out with my family. 

5.      Favorite book…Heaven is for Real

  I want to thank Irene for taking the time to share her business with us!  So, you may be wondering is it worth it to contact Irene for a consultation?  Well, check out what her clients are saying...

"Irene Gouge’s Loving Lessons saved me! I was running on fumes, averaging 3-4 hours of sleep a night and wondering why my 7-week old daughter was simply miserable. She wouldn’t sleep for more than 2 hours at a time during the night or day (often times less) when Irene came over to help us. Her suggestions were tender, warm and incredibly useful! And if something wasn’t working for our family, she listened very well and gave us another idea. The best part was IT WORKED! The same night Irene came over for the first time, our daughter slept 4 hours straight and within 2 weeks she was sleeping as much as 6-8 hours straight into the night. Of course, things weren’t perfect because Dani was so young and her nap schedules were really rough for me and her. Whenever I called Irene, she was WONDERFUL, understanding and could sense my urgency and frustration. She calmed me down and let me know so stay the course and Dani would find her way with our guidance. She did! And just when Irene said she would. She’s nearly 6 months and sleeps sometimes as much as 13 hours straight thru the night, naps well and is a VERY happy baby. Because of Irene, I can happily spend more time with my toddler while the baby is sleeping, and my husband has since bonded with the baby so much better because both are far more rested and happy. I LOVE IRENE and her Loving Lessons. Oh, and she has fast become a friend to me, answering questions not only about Dani but about my 2-year old, when I just cannot find a solution on my own. She’s a tremendous person and resource and I would NOT hesitate to recommend Irene to ANY ONE OF MY FRIENDS!!!!!"

-Kristin & Brian, Holly Springs, NC

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