Jessica Dodson – Starlight Sleep Coaching

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Jessica Dodson - Starlight Sleep Coaching


Jessica Dodson is a Gentle Sleep Coach, trained and certified by Kim West, aka The Sleep Lady. I work with families of children from newborn to 5 years to help them get the rest they need, and offer sleep education and planning services to expectant families.

There is no sleep issue I haven’t come across, but some that I frequently work with are:

• Multiple night wakings
• Frequent nighttime feedings
• Early rising
• Co-sleeping where no-one is getting any sleep
• Short naps and nap refusal
• Sleep routines that no longer work (such as rocking/bouncing/nursing to sleep)
• Bedtime battles and children who won’t stay in their bed
• Transitions from crib to bed
• and many more!

I don’t believe in one size fits all solutions and work with families to create a sleep plan that incorporates their parenting philosophy, needs and goals as well as the temperament of their child. As a Gentle Sleep Coach, I never tell parents they have to leave their child to cry-it-out, end co-sleeping or night wean. There are always options for how to address a particular situation, and my job is to empower parents to choose the path that feels best for them and their child.

I am based in Washington DC and work with clients throughout the DC metro area and around the world. I have helped families on 5 continents (and counting!).

My Story

I was once a tired parent – very, very tired. As a first-time mother, I read voraciously on newborns, breastfeeding, child nutrition and development, and yet I found myself completely unprepared when it came to the challenges of infant sleep. In a desperate attempt to get my little bundle of joy to nod off, I unwittingly broke every rule in the book (if only I’d read the book!).

Following months of trial, error, heartache (and headache), I stumbled on The Sleep Lady® and her method of gentle sleep coaching and was immediately hooked. Once I’d gotten enough rest to start thinking clearly, I dedicated myself to making sure no parent would have to go through what I – and poor little Jonah – did. I trained with The Sleep Lady® and joined her cadre of certified Gentle Sleep Coaches ready to help exhausted parents gently, lovingly and as tearlessly as possible, teach their children to sleep.

I am a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where I studied history and behavioral psychology, and of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University, where I earned my master’s degree in international relations and economics. I have held research, teaching and program management positions in academia and international development, and have lived and worked in North America, Europe, Africa, and Australia. I am married and have two well-rested sons, a preschooler and a toddler.

My Training

The Gentle Sleep Coaching Program is the most extensive professional sleep coaching certification program available. The program involves over 80 hours of training and ongoing participation in case supervision with Kim West, LCSW-C, aka ‘The Sleep Lady’. Clinical supervision and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach. Some of the topics covered in the training include:

• Basic counseling and child development
• Sleep science and behavioral modification techniques
• Secure attachment theory
• Breastfeeding and support for the breastfeeding mother

It also includes 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
• Colic and Reflux by Dr Bryan Vartabedian, MD, author of ‘Colic Solved’
• Sensory Processing Disorders and Sleep by Jodi Jennings, OTLR

In addition to the Gentle Sleep Coach training program, I am a certified Happiest Baby on the Block educator and have completed a specialized certificate program in sleep coaching 4-5 month olds offered through Kim West’s Gentle Sleep Coaching program. I am currently working towards a certificate in Infant Mental Health offered through the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Have questions or want more information? Please contact me.


Starlight Sleep Coaching