Typically child sleep consultants are known to work with parents during postpartum to provide "sleep training", tools, resources, and education in order to get their child to sleep. Sleep Training is most commonly introduced when an infant reaches four months of age or shortly thereafter. Occasionally families begin introducing sleep training earlier on, however very little support or education exists anywhere to support families with sleep challenges during pregnancy and the newborn stages.
According to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), 78 percent of women reported more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than at other times. Sleep is critical for a pregnant woman and her baby. From the moment a woman becomes pregnant, her body is undergoing many physiologic and biochemical changes. As a result the potential for sleep disturbances increases. Nausea, nighttime waking, bladder pressure, and fatigue issues are very common. Sleep deprivation can lead to complications such as preterm labor, extended labor, as well as other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, snoring, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia. Sleep disorders developed during pregnancy can also lead to sleep disorders in the child.
Mary Oscategui a mother, international business and health coach, founder of the International Maternity Institute and co-founder of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants wants to inspire maternity professionals, birth professionals, and sleep consultants to offer sleep education, coaching, and support as early in a woman's pregnancy as possible.
"Planning, preparation, and education are essential to supporting a family’s sleep needs and goals. A sleep consultant can play such a viable and empowering role when working with families before the baby is born. It's time we take preventative measures to address sleep challenges early on during pregnancy rather than waiting for extremely sleep deprived and exhausted families to seek the aid of a sleep consultant postpartum at four months, six months, or longer. Pregnancy is a perfect time to prepare and establish new sleep habits for healthy sleep to continue long after the baby arrives, and hopefully for the rest of her and her baby’s life. When mom is well rested, she is also more physically and mentally prepared for labor greatly diminishing the risk of any complications during and after labor. Some studies have correlated the amount of sleep in late pregnancy with labor duration and type. Excessive stress hormones can also affect the labor process, delaying or extending labor and sleep helps to balance stress hormones." says Mary.
Mary's passion and determination led her to develop the first maternity and child sleep consultant training program via the International Maternity Institute to address sleep challenges during pregnancy and postpartum.
"Child sleep challenges are not just a child issue but a family issue. When a child is experiencing sleep challenges, the whole family is affected by it. Therefore it is important to address both the child and adult sleep and when possible begin supporting healthy sleep habits during pregnancy." continues Mary.
Mary also finds that some child sleep consultants are jumping too quickly to implement a specific sleep training method before addressing key issues that could be attributing to sleep disruption. These include and are not limited to:
•Sensory Processing Disorder
•Needed Bonding Time
•Nutrition Issues (anti-sleep foods, allergies, food intolerances, iron deficiency, vitamin d deficiency etc….)
•Unbalanced Internal clock
•Lack of Consistent Schedule, Routine & Bedtime Ritual
•Many Changes happening too much at once
•Environmental Issues (Light vs dark, temperature, exposure to toxins, EMF’s, fragrances, etc…….)
"It deeply concerns me when I am contacted by families who have worked with a child sleep consultant that forced a particular method and overlooked a medical issue, nutrition issue, trauma and so on that should have been immediately referred out. As professionals, it is our responsibility to understand and address these fundamental areas prior to implementing any particular method." says, Mary.
Lastly, Mary shares that most often times parents do not associate that poor sleep habits developed prior to their baby's arrival could also be contributing to their child's sleep challenges after birth. This is another reason why Mary feels child sleep consultants have a tremendous opportunity to work with adults. "It's about sleep education. We have so much childbirth education available to families in preparation for birth, but we have little to no preparation on sleep education prior to a baby's arrival. Mary is hoping to change that."
Mary Oscategui is an international business and health coach who has successfully started and grown many businesses and organizations.
She is the Founder and Educational Director of the International Maternity Institute (IMI), International Academy of Baby Planner Professionals (IABPP), Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants (APSC), and Sacred Biz Partner with Sacred Pregnancy.
Additionally Mary founded The Baby Planner, Physical Awakening, and WhollyWoman.us, offering holistic services in sacred pregnancy, baby planning, maternity and child sleep, health, fitness, nutrition, life coaching, stress management, yoga therapy and green living.
She has a multitude of trainings, certification and experience related to business and health including: business management, sales and marketing, business start-up, business coaching, yoga instruction, yoga therapy, personal training, group exercise instruction, dance, wellness coaching, eco-consulting, baby planning, nutrition, sleep coaching, and stress management.
Mary combines her business and health coaching to support maternity professionals, birth professionals, health professionals and mompreneurs. She offers individual consultations, workshops, and retreats.
Her enthusiasm, inspiration, creativity, and knowledge has helped a variety of businesses around the globe including:
Austria, England, France, Luxemburg, Bahrain, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Peru, Chile, Bermuda and throughout the United States.
She is a passionate visionary in health, maternity, birth and business education and has been consulting and guiding hundreds of clients for the last 17 years.
She is the author of “The Baby Planner Profession: What You Need To Know! The Ultimate Guide and Resource for Baby Planner Professionals,” and her latest book, “Green Body Green Birth”.
Mary lives in Marin, CA with her two children Bella Luna and Taj Orion Sky.