~ From my years of being a mom, I can tell you that the days seem so long at times as children are growing, developing, struggling with challenges, learning, and sleeping less than we think is humanly possible! However, the years are short. Embrace the present and reach out for support when you need it so that you can make these precious years as enjoyable as possible!
Hello! I am so happy you have stopped by! My name is Debbie Gerken. A little about my journey thus far.....
I have been a Registered Nurse Certified in Neonatal ICU for over 25 years. The years I spent in the NICU caring for fragile infants and educating and supporting struggling parents truly gave me a deeper perspective on life. I learned the importance of being present, appreciating the blessings around me, and prioritizing what is most important. I also learned the value of supporting new parents during the emotional time of having a new child.
Wanting to support new parents as they transition to parenthood, I began working as a newborn night nurse caring for newborns in the home. By providing this service, I am able to give the gift of sleep to parents so that they can recover and better cope with the adjustments needed after the birth of a new little one. I love providing this service to parents as I am able to provide newborn care education, breast-feeding and parent support, and nighttime care of the newborn. All right in the home!
Through my work as a newborn night nurse, I saw many families struggling with sleep deprivation due to sleep challenges of their other children. I started researching sleep coaching methods and programs. I wanted to become certified in a program that was based on research and science. It was also important to choose a program that I would use for my own children, if they were still young and not grown adults. The Gentle Sleep Coach Program is the program that fulfilled all of my specifications. Now, as a Certified Gentle Coach, I am able to bring the gift of sleep to more families by helping them learn about sleep and coaching them in finding the best answers for their family.
On a personal note, I have been married for over 28 years. I am a proud momma of 3 wonderful children who are now adults. Being a mom has been such a blessing. Raising children and watching them go out into the world as adults is PRICELESS! Some of the things that I enjoy in my free time are Disney, having family time, hiking in serene woods, being in the mountains and sitting on the beach!
Bachelor of Science Nursing Degree
Molloy College, NY
Certification in Neonatal ICU
National Certification Corporation
Certification in Gentle Sleep Coaching Program
July 2018- Current
The Gentle Sleep Coach Program is the first and most extensive professional sleep coach training and certification program available. The program involves over 80 hours of training with a faculty panel that includes 2 medical doctors, a psychologist, an attorney, lactation counselor, postpartum doulas and a family therapist. Each coach must pass an exam and participate in case supervision with Kim West, LCSW-C (a.k.a. “the Sleep Lady”) who has been helping tired parents for over 20 years. Clinical supervision and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach. Some of my training topics included:
– Basic counseling and child development
– Sleep science and behavioral modification techniques to help parents of children age 0 to 6 years old.
– Secure attachment theory
– Support for the breastfeeding mother
The training also consisted of lectures from top specialists, including:
– 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
– GERD and Sleep led by Dr. Anthony Loizides, pediatric gastroenterologist
Certification in 0-5 Month Program
The GSC Program also includes an exclusive advanced training specifically focused on how to gently work with babies 0-5 months of age.
Some of the curriculum training topics include:
In-depth knowledge of the importance of attachment and infant mental health
The sleep science behind the first six months of life
What special considerations need to be taken when working with and supporting families during this delicate period.
Specialized instruction on how to evaluate families in the first six months
Guidance on how to assess when the baby is ready for sleep coaching based on current research and evidence-based strategies
Review of gentle sleep solutions and strategies that are developmentally appropriate, breastfeeding and attachment friendly and promote a solid foundation for sleep learning and long-term healthy sleep patterns.
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.