My name is Deanna and I am a mom of three boys (twins plus one!) and wife to an amazing husband. I am a certified Gentle Sleep Coach ® and founder of Family Bliss. My journey into the world of infant and child sleep was directly related to my family and the value we put on successful sleep. Believe me, it wasn’t easy, but we did it! I am a firm believer in the power of sleep leading to a happier and healthier family.
I hold a science degree from the University of Waterloo and I am certified as a Clinical Research Associate from McMaster University. I have also completed training with The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario and received a certificate from the Department of Infant Mental Health Promotion. For over a decade I have worked in various aspects of the healthcare industry in Canada.
When my boys were born I was in the same situation as many first time parents, experiencing the unbelievable joys of being a parent, soaking in all the amazing newborn moments and marveling in the fact that I could love two little people so much! But as the months went on and we created a schedule for our new lives I started to feel the effects of being sleep
deprived and desperate for some sleep! More so I wanted to put my babies to sleep without rocking them for what felt like all night.
After extensive research, I came upon the teachings of Kim West, LCSW-C (a.k.a. the Sleep Lady). I was able to coach my babies to sleep through the night and encourage them to take the naps that they deserved during the day. After an endless conversation with other parents about sleep, I realized I could help. I decided to take my awareness, research, and knowledge and put it to good use in helping other parents who were sleep deprived and struggling with similar sleep issues.
As a certified Gentle Sleep Coach ® I have completed extensive training related to infant and child sleep requirements. 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.
Some of my training topics included:
• Basic counseling and child development;
• Sleep science and behavioral modification techniques to help parents of children age 0 to 6 years old;
• Secure attachment theory; and
• 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;
• GURD and Sleep led by Dr Anthony Loizides, pediatric gastroenterologist.
The Gentle Sleep Coach Program also includes an exclusive advanced training series specifically focused on how to gently work with babies 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 include:
• 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 provides me as a coach the knowledge, education and resources that I need to successfully work with families of babies 4-6 months of age in a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate manner.