Mompreneur: Infant Sleep Consultant Sarah Middleton
Mompreneur Sarah Middleton turned her own challenges in the child sleep department into a career as a infant sleep consultant. She's also a birth and post partum doula and chidbirth educator, so helping families is in her nature. To learn more about Sarah and her services, visit her online.
Please tell us a little about yourself. What's your background?
I am a mother of two girls—Mira Luna is almost 4 and Luca Blue is 9 months old. I had them both at home and their birth days are by far the most powerful and wonderful days of my life. I found birth to be such a rite of passage for me, as it required me to surrender, be present, be grateful, and be courageous. I was born and raised in Hawaii and so much of my upbringing there has influenced the way in which I parent. Values like the importance of being active and healthy, and enjoying the outdoors were such cornerstones for me growing up and I try to bring that into my family life now that I am a mother.
Professionally, I have been trained as a birth and post partum doula, I have also worked as an overnight doula as well as a childbirth educator. I also have my masters in psychology, which really informs the way in which I work with my clients. Currently I work as an infant sleep consultant helping families with issues related to sleep, breastfeeding, infant development, and bonding and attachment.
How did you get started working with families with babies and infants?
I began working as a birth doula over 10 years ago and soon began supporting families in the post partum period as well. After the birth of my first daughter, I was sleep deprived, desperate and completely overwhelmed with all of the various books and opinions out there about the “right” way to help a baby sleep. I was stuck in the comparison game—constantly looking to other families whose babies were sleeping well and judging myself for somehow not being able to get my baby to do the same. I hired Angelique Millette, a colleague, friend and sleep consultant, and she coached and guided me into a solution that best met the needs of my family. One month later, I was finally rested and forever grateful and soon began working with her in her practice.
I am now trained in her approach, a technique called the Millette Method, which is a comprehensive approach to sleep training that works to customize a sleep solution to each family. It does not subscribe to a “one size fits all” method and instead works to take into account the various factors that affect infant sleep such as temperament, developmental stages, sleep arrangements (co sleep, family bed, room share, crib), and parenting philosophies. While sleep is the main concern, I also educate families about other topics such as breastfeeding, infant neurological development, traveling with a baby, setting up a schedule, and returning to work to name a few.
What's the most fulfilling thing about your work?
What I love about this particular approach to sleep consulting is that it is totally customized to each family’s individual needs. We take into account all of the factors that contribute to each family’s situation such as the prenatal history, the birth, post partum complications, and breast or bottle feeding information and look at the family as a whole system rather than individual parts. When I work with families, I am intrigued by their story, their situation and their concerns. Having been there myself, I understand the feelings of frustration, exhaustion and confusion that can come with not knowing what is best for your child, your family and yourself in regards to sleep. This is perhaps why I find such reward when I can help a family to find their own way into understanding sleep better, and then to create a concrete plan that can be implemented as soon as they are ready. I have always been in a helping profession, and I find nothing more satisfying than to work with another woman and mother.
What do you like best about living and working in Marin?
The hills above Fairfax and Mount Tam are some of my favorite places to be. Anytime of day and any season can bring a sense of beauty. I also really appreciate the people—I have an incredible community of friends who I see and/or talk to regularly. I am constantly learning from them and sharing with them how to best navigate this journey of parenthood. Lastly, I’ve lived outside of California when I was in graduate school and I really missed the diverse landscapes as well as the incredible accessibility to all sorts of educational and spiritual venues.
What do you and your family do for fun in the Bay Area?
Lately we have really been enjoying going to the beach. It is like a playground for everyone—including our dog! Our favorite thing to do is to get there in the afternoon when the light is getting golden and play until it is almost dinnertime. We then head home for bath time, dinnertime, bedtime and then it is a date on the couch for my husband and me.
October 28, 2019
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