IMG_1825.jpgThere is a moment every new parent comes to, a moment of bargaining, when you would give literally ANYTHING to get that baby to sleep. Gothamist, in the throes of sleep deprivation, considered ritualistic sacrifice of farm animals and even good ol' Catholic prayer...but $50,000 for a "sleep coach"? Really?

Outsourcing parental duties is old news here in NYC, but the celebrity being attained by these pricey sleep coaches is simply surprising. The NY Times profiled some of these emerging gurus and found they had a near cult-like following:

“If you’re a parent in this business,” said Suzanne Todd, a film producer and mother of three, “you probably have Jackie, Donna, Jill and Jen, and Betsy in your Rolodex.” She said that these consultants are like movie stars who can easily be identified by their first names, and it would be clear to any of her colleagues with children that she was referring to Ms. Rosenberg; Donna Holloran, the founder of Babygroup Inc., a Westside mommy-and-me group; Jill Spivack and Jennifer Waldburger, the owners of Sleepy Planet, a sleep-training practice; and Betsy Brown Braun, a parenthood expert who runs groups on child development.

Parents are using coaches to not only improve their own parenting, but to get references for elite preschools as well. And parents are so under the spell of these coaches that one who had something negative to say refused to give a name, fearing the backlash.

So what's the real deal on sleep coaching? What does this industry filled with experts and myriad schools of thought boil down to? You could read all the books: The No Cry Sleep Solution, On Becoming Babywise, Healthy Sleep Habits Health Child, Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, etc. In fact, Gothamist would be happy to lend them to you. After all that reading, however, you'd be no better off. They posit some crazy ideas and often contradict each other. The truth is that many of these books promise a full night's sleep by 3 months, while sleeping through at 3 months is something that often just happens naturally. Furthermore, many of these books consider 6-7 hours "through the night". Most parents are looking for something closer to 12.

Enter the coaches. When everything else fails, call an expert to actually do the work for you. "Good Morning America Weekend Edition" co-anchor, Kate Snow recently hired Suzy Giordano to get her 11 week old daughter to sleep. Giordano charges $60 an hour. For an all night session that's $720 and it will likely take her much longer than one night. Three months,the length of time it usually takes for a baby to become a night sleeper, and you're out fifty grand.

It seems like a drastic measure, but what are the alternatives? Is it better to end up with all of your children in bed with you, stealing the covers and keeping you up? The NY Times article about the parents who shell out the big bucks to build "Princess rooms" only to have their tots preferring to sleep elsewhere makes the pricey sleep coach seem reasonable. There is a great deal of emotional turmoil involved in listening to your baby cry when you could so easily comfort them by taking them out of the crib and keeping them close. Many parents give in only to regret it years later. Other parents fully embrace co-sleeping and do it happily for years. The magic of the sleep coach is that they have no emotional attachment to your child. They can come in and simply ignore the crying guilt-free. And that's what your money gets you. You are paying someone to bear the burden of your guilt so you can swoop in like a hero in the morning, well rested and cheery.

Gothamist Baby was never coached in sleeping. We struggled through it, tried everything, sometimes nothing, and now he sleeps 12 hours a night with a two-hour nap every day. Jealous? Gothamist will gladly offer you our services...and at a discounted rate of only $500 a night. Of course, we'll only be staying in your home, eating your food, watching your tv and ignoring your baby, but we promise it will definitely work.