The Sleep Doula
After being a trained birth and postpartum doula for over five years, and having two children 18 months apart, Tracey Ruiz realized there was a need for a support system for parents of babies who have problems sleeping through the night. “These parents have gone into survival mode. They have little to no support from family and friends and they’re just stumbling by. That’s when they call me,” says Ruiz, also known as The Sleep Doula.
After years of experience as a birth and postpartum doula, she began her own training for becoming a sleep doula, “It all has to do with experience. Going through the process of getting children to sleep is one that is hand-inhand with the parents. We support choice, and find the best plan that fits the family. Once the family feels comfortable with the technique, we are there for encouragement. At two in the morning we are getting text messages from parents asking questions and searching for support. That’s what my team is there for.” Since creating The Sleep Doula, Ruiz has employed ten other doulas who provide their services across Canada with the help of her training. Most work is done over phone consultations, but some clients require the help of a doula at home.
“Once someone calls we set up a consultation. We look at what’s going on, the issues possibly causing this child not to sleep. Then we look at the personality of the child, of the parents, and the parenting style. We take all of these into account and create a plan for the family to follow. About 35 per-cent of our clients require the in-home support system we provide,” said Ruiz.
There is hope for those with children having problems sleeping through the night. Ruiz says that on average, if the child is over four months, it takes three to four days to get them to sleep through the night. She does remind clients that every child is different, and so is everyone’s definition of “sleeping through the night.” Most babies under one year old will need to get up periodically to feed. However, some children the sleep doulas help are up to five or six years old, and they shouldn’t need to get up throughout the night.