Hi, I’m Linda.
I’m a licensed clinical social worker, a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach through Kim West, LCSW-C, aka The Sleep Lady ®, a DONA trained postpartum doula and the mother of two children.
When my daughter was born, now more than 16 years ago, I quickly learned that babies are not born inherently knowing how to be great sleepers. It is a learned skill, and it is a skill that your children will be using for their entire lives.
Once I began working with tired families as a sleep consultant, I learned that I could not be truly excellent at helping parents learn these valuable skills without without further training and support. The combination of my extensive experience as well as my ongoing training as a Gentle Sleep Coach have given me the tools to help me be successful at collaborating with you to solve your child’s sleep problems.
My goal is to help improve the functioning of the family through improved sleep. I believe that by empowering parents with the tools necessary to help their children become excellent sleepers, it will help them parent more consciously and happily. The skill of improved sleep is a priceless gift you can give to your child and your entire family.
• I have been helping families with their children’s sleep for more than 10 years.
• I have worked with more then 1500 children across the United States and from more than 10 countries
• Helped more than 3000 parents get back to sleep
• Connected more than 1600 new and 2nd time moms
• Completed more than 120 new and second time mom group sessions
• Host a weekly podcast
My Philosophy on Sleep Training
Many parents 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: cosleeping/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.
The Chicago New Moms Group
In January of 2011, I founded The Chicago New Moms Group, an educational and supportive program for first time moms of babies 0-6 months old. The group focuses intensely on the transition to motherhood as it relates to changes in relationships and personal and professional identity as well as topics around navigating the challenges of finding childcare and understanding your child’s development. As you can imagine, sleep was a big part of that discussion.
A Bit About My Training
I trained as a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach (GSC) with Kim West, aka The Sleep Lady in February 2012. The GSC Program is currently the most extensive & professional sleep certification program available. The program involves over 80 hours of training, an exam and participation in case supervision with Kim West, LCSW-C who has been helping tired parents for over 17 years. Clinical supervision and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a GSC.
Training topics have included:
• Basic counseling and child development
• Sleep Science and Behavioral Modification Techniques
• Secure Attachment Theory
• Supporting the Breastfeeding Mom
Lectures from top specialists in the areas of:
• 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
• Sensory Processing Disorders and Sleep by Jodi Jennings, OTLR
The GSC Program also includes an exclusive advanced training specifically focused on how to gently work with babies 0-5 months of age using the Baby-Led Sleep Shaping and Coaching.
This gentle approach aids families to first shape their baby's sleep and then when appropriate (and according to their baby's unique temperament) offer alternatives to the "cry it out" method for newborns, based on an infant's developmental readiness to self soothe.
Some of the curriculum training topics include:
• How feeding, attachment, soothing, and temperament all factor into your infant's sleep
• The key developmental milestones from birth through five months and how to encourage sleep at every stage.
• Safe co-sleeping guidelines
• Guidance on how to assess when the baby is ready for sleep coaching based on current research and evidence-based strategies
This specialty training is designed to give Gentle Sleep Coaches the knowledge, education and all the tools and resources they need to successfully work with families of newborns through 5 months of age in a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate manner.
In addition to my certification as a GSC (completed June, 2012), I hold an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Tufts University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the Jane Addam’s College of Social Work at The University of Illinois at Chicago. I also hold a certificate in Infant Mental Health, am a graduate of The Wonder Weeks Academy for Professionals, and completed the Postpartum Support International and 2020 Mom Professional Maternal Mental Health Certificate Training. I work with families both in the city of Chicago, the suburbs, other cities and internationally as well.
Who’s ready for some sleep?
Let’s get a plan together.
What it includes:
• A comprehensive review of your child’s/children’s history
• Evaluation of your child’s temperament
• A review of their 5-day sleep record
What to expect:
• Consultations typically take 1½ to 2 hours (longer for more then 1 child) at which time we will review your child’s history and your sleep goals
• Together we will create a individualized, easy to follow plan based on your child/children
• You’ll get 8 follow up phone calls (10 for 2 children) once you begin implementing your plan in order for me to provide support
• The consultation and follow ups comprise of a proven system to increase follow-through and success with your individualized sleep plan.
• All consultation are done virtually over Zoom or the phone, ideally with all parents present and other caregivers, if applicable.
With my guidance and your consistent commitment to the personalized sleep plan, your family will create and preserve healthy sleep habits for naps and nighttime sleeping.