Linda Szmulewitz
Photo credit Erielle Bakkum Photography

Linda Szmulewitz is a licensed clinical social worker, a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach through Kim West, LCSW-C, aka The Sleep Lady ®, a DONA trained postpartum doula and the mother of two children.   In January of 2010, she founded The Chicago New Moms Group, an educational and supportive program for first time moms of babies 0-6 months old.  The group focuses intensely on the transition to motherhood as it relates to changes in relationships and personal and professional identity as well as topics around navigating the challenges of finding childcare and understanding your child’s development.  Sleep is also a widely discussed concern as most new moms are looking for answers to their many child sleep questions.  Linda is also a strong supporter of the relationship between a breastfeeding mom and her baby, especially as it pertains to the way that feeding plays a role in sleeping for children.  She was one of the founding members of the Board of Directors of Breastfeed Chicago.  Want to see Linda talking about sleep?  Click here.

When her daughter was born, now more than 8 years ago, Linda quickly learned that babies are not born inherently knowing how to be great sleepers.  It is a learned skill, and it is a skill that your children will be using for their entire lives.  After working with tired families for several years as a child sleep consultant in Chicago, she realized that to continue to be truly excellent at helping parents learn these valuable tools, she needed further training and support.  She trained as a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach with Kim West, aka The Sleep Lady in February 2012.   The Gentle Sleep Coaching Program is currently the most extensive & professional sleep certification program available. The program involves over 80 hours of training, an exam and participation in case supervision with Kim West, LCSW-C who has been helping tired parents for over 17 years. Clinical supervision and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach.  Training topics have included:

  • Basic counseling and child development
  • Sleep Science and Behavioral Modification Techniques
  • Secure Attachment Theory
  • Supporting the Breastfeeding Mom

Lectures from top specialists in the areas of:

  • 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
  • Sensory Processing Disorders and Sleep by Jodi Jennings, OTLR

530066_10151086418342530_1020639840_nThe GSC Program also includes an exclusive advanced training series directly centered around how to gently work with babies 4 and 5 months of age. This program also consists of over 40 hours of instruction and mentorship.

Some of the curriculum training topics include:

  • In depth knowledge of the delicate nature of infants under 6 months of age and how to consider all elements of their well-being.
  • Current evidence based guidelines and instruction on how to evaluate the 4-6 month old child and family and determine if the child is ready for sleep coaching.
  • Gentle sleep solutions and strategies that are effective and developmentally appropriate for the younger baby.

This specialty training is designed to give coaches the knowledge, education and all the tools and resources they need to successfully work with families of babies 4-6 months of age in a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate manner.

IMH CSI Badge 2014In addition to Linda’s certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach (completed June, 2012), she holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Tufts University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the Jane Addam’s College of Social Work at The University of Illinois at Chicago.  She also holds a certificate in Infant Mental Health.