Attachment-Based, Science-Backed Help
Parenting in today’s modern environment is hard. We no longer live in supportive environments with help from others in our “tribe”, but rather we are isolated with immense pressure to do everything for ourselves. In turn, our culture has ideas about raising children and babies that are about as far away from our children’s biology and needs as can be. This makes parenting even harder. On the one hand, families know they want to be supportive and responsive to their children and on the other, they are told that they only way to “succeed” is to distance themselves further.
For me, I focus all of my work with families on solving problems with an attachment-based focus. Having a secure attachment is essential for our children as it is one of the biggest predictors of later well-being and happiness and yet most advice today gets us further away from this. Most popular books these days focus on first-wave behaviourist methods to change the single element that is a problem for the family, but that simply treats the symptoms not the problems. This is why you will never, ever have me support extinction methods of sleep training, punishment, or anything else of the sort. I firmly believe that the most important thing we can do for our children is to help them develop a secure attachment. This means meeting their needs at a basic level for food, shelter, and warmth, but also their psychological needs for love, safety, and security. With this secure foundation, our children can thrive.
I like to take it one step further and consider all relationships in the family when dealing with any issue because at the heart of many issues lies relational problems. What does this mean? It means that at the heart of every decision and every problem, we look at how the choices impact the relationships between children and parents, between parents, and between siblings. This is crucial because just as we cannot put the onus on the infant or child to change to improve the lives of others, when we consider that the family is built up of many relationships, we have to consider them all. This doesn’t mean they all get equal weight, but hopefully they are all treated equitably.
Of course, I also make sure my recommendations (yes, they are recommendations that will be specific to you and your situation) are backed by science whenever possible. Sometimes we just don’t have the research, but in most cases, we can look to what we do know to help guide what is best for you and your family.
Areas of Parenting I Can Help With
Given the approach I take, I can help with almost any parenting issue. I have primarily focused on the infant-to-preschool age-range, but have also worked with families of older children who are struggling. I have covered a wide range of issues including discipline, coping with a new sibling, social and emotional development, schooling, daycare, and, of course, sleep.
In some cases, children have had diagnosed or suspected medical or developmental problems and I will always make sure I can be as up-to-date as possible and ensure advice follows known protocols for the particular situation. If I cannot or do not have enough information, we can make a joint decision as to how to proceed. I will also often refer if something comes up that I think warrants help from other professions (e.g., a lactation consultant, ear-nose-throat specialist, sleep study, etc.).
You can use the calendar below to book your session or you can scroll down below to first read about the types of appointments to know which one is best for you. I try to include times that suit all time zones, but if you find that there isn’t a good time for you, please reach out via email (email@example.com) and I would be happy to help you set something up.
(Note that payment is due at booking. For the various packages, a deposit equal to a one-hour consultation is due at booking and I will bill for the remainder of the package afterwards.)
What Kinds of Help Are Offered?
The help I offer is in the realm of consulting or coaching. It is not therapy (though sometimes it can feel that way) and it is not prescriptive. That is, I will offer suggestions, but as the end decision rests with the family, I always view this as a collaborative process which involves a lot of discussion of what the real needs are and how we can meet them with me offering information, support, and ideas, and you telling me what will and will not work for you as a family.
To meet these goals, I offer the following types of parenting help:
Consultations can be done via Skype, phone, or email and cover a broad range of issues and are perfect for most topics. For Skype and phone options, it includes a one-hour session, a brief (1-2 page) summary of what we discussed, and limited email follow-up. You can also purchase a more in-depth (8-10 page) report which would include far more information, reading recommendations, and more.
For the email option, you get three emails from me which are longer and more in-depth. The first provides a report (longer than the summary, but not as long as the in-depth report) and the second and third are for follow-up questions/concerns.
“Houston, We Have a Problem” Sleep Package
If you have problems with your child’s sleep, regardless of their age, this package is for you. Over the course of the three sessions we will do a full background to rule-out (or in) any potential problems that might require referrals to other professionals, look at the bedtime environment and routines, focus on ensuring self-care is part of the plan, focus on building up relationships, and looking forward at what to expect as your child ages and how you can better be prepared. Calls are typically taken two (2) weeks apart.
“Let’s Get Started” Sleep Package
This is a package for parents with infants in the 0-4 month range who may be worried about setting up “healthy sleep habits” and may be concerned over what they have already read about sleep. The calls are designed to review your expectations for the current period and moving forward, what is happening from a biological perspective with your baby’s sleep at this stage, what habits are healthy (not what you likely think), and how you can meet your child’s ‘sleep needs’.
“Toddlers Sleep, Right?” Sleep Package
This is a package for parents of toddlers in the 12-24 month range. Although many families understand that babies will regularly wake and need help resettling, once we hit that 1-year mark, many families think their toddler should be suddenly sleeping differently and definitely more independently. In these calls we will focus on what sleep looks like in this range, what parts of your routine may actually be inhibiting your toddler’s sleep, the reality of night weaning (from breast or bottle), and the reality of co-sleeping (or not) with a toddler.
Finding Tracy was a blessing, a miracle, and an answer to all my prayers, my meditations, and my heart-wrenching pleas as I sobbed new mom tears trying to figure out life and sleep and conscious, respectful parenting. My phone call with her was beyond illuminating. I felt buoyed by her knowledge. Her kindness and understanding were a balm for my sleep-deprived soul. The work she does, the insight she offers, is beyond invaluable. She was a friend when I needed one. She lifted me up and empowered me and helped me put our once-fracturing little family back together.
What impressed me most was that Tracy was able to foresee things we hadn’t even thought about based on the behaviours our son was displaying which meant we were able to plan ahead to my transition back to work and take immediate action when we saw that nursery wasn’t a good fit for our son. I’m not sure I would have had confidence to stand up and change the plan had Tracy not prepared me. It’s so easy to be swept along with ‘oh it’s fine, he’ll settle eventually, all babies go through this….’. But Tracy taught me the importance of listening to your maternal instincts which can be hard to do for a new mum lacking in confidence that she’s doing everything right when there is so much conflicting information all too readily available.
Speaking to Tracy was like coming home within myself. Tracy reminded me of all the things I *knew* about children and about *my child* especially. My daughter needed communication, she needed predictability, she needed us to be open and honest with her, she needed to be a part of the decision making. Ultimately she still needed to be close to me – and that’s perfectly normal for a four-year-old!
Tracy reassured me that following my gut and parenting at night by helping my daughter sleep by cosleeping and nursing would not in fact create a child that cannot sleep on her own (as plenty of my relative keep earning me) but rather I will be helping my daughters brain lay the path that night time is a safe and secure leading her to enjoy going to sleep and staying asleep.
Her kind, gentle and science-based approach was exactly what I was looking for. She helped me reshape my expectations around infant sleep and I’ve been so relaxed about it since! On top of that she helped me see that my little girl isn’t as difficult as I thought she was, but that she has particular needs, and I feel more confident in meeting those needs now. As a family we’re much happier and I’m enjoying motherhood more now too.
Tracy was professional and knowledgeable, but talked to me in a very friendly and personal manner. I felt like she acknowledged and understood my emotions, when most people were dismissing them. She worked hard to learn as much as she could about my baby, and offered me tailored suggestions that took into account our individual circumstances, needs and personalities. Her approach was responsive to my baby’s needs and I felt like his wellbeing was put first and foremost when she offered her suggestions.