About MSD Sleep Coach - Gentle Sleep Coaching

At MSD Sleep Coach we are trained and very experienced in all sleep coaching approaches not just one.  Our vast training and tenured experience ensure that all of our advice is based on sleep science, attachment theory, and behavioral science. 

Our specialty is in gentle sleep coaching methods - you don't have to leave your child to cry to sleep alone.    At MSD Sleep Coach we will create a sleep plan together and guide the parents through the step-by-step changes at bedtime, napping, and overnight routines that haven't been working for your family.  Our approach allows for parents to consider their values, parenting philosophies, goals and the child's temperaments, so the plan and method is one you feel confident in and will ensure success.  It is not a one size fits all approach.​


About the Gentle Sleep Coach® Method

The Gentle Sleep Coach ® approach is a gentler alternative for families who emotionally or philosophically resist letting their babies cry it out alone. With this method, a parent stays with their child during the sleep coaching process and allows you to offer physical and verbal reassurance while your child learns this new skill of self-soothing.  

This gentle method supports the development of a secure attachment between parent and child. 


Meet Michelle S. Donaghy, Certifed Gentle Sleep Coach

Michelle S. Donaghy is the founder of MSD Sleep Coach and we work with parents who are struggling to get their children to fall asleep, stay asleep during the night and take restful naps.

Through coaching and extensive support, she helps families achieve an enjoyable bedtime and ensure everyone is getting the sleep they need. In fact, her clients go from spending exhausting hours getting their kids to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night, to having a well-rested family.

Michelle believes that every family and child has a unique sleep struggle, and no family should live in the misery of sleep deprivation. As the mother of two girls who were not good sleepers as infants, she knows how overwhelming it is to try to improve your child’s sleep without expert guidance.  She is trained in sleep science, all behavioral sleep methodologies but specializes in gentle sleep coaching.

Michelle has supported families for over a decade and has worked with several hundred families – almost a thousand individuals are now well-rested and connected to their family.  She is proud to be recognized as one of the Top 200 Sleep Consultants in the US, by Tuck - in 2019 and 2020.

Michelle is a parenting expert and has published her advice in numerous parenting magazines - click here to read.  Her coaching has earned her the honor to be the recommended sleep consultant by some of the top pediatrician practices in the US.

Michelle has a formal education in Psychology and Social Work, is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach®, and one of the first to graduate from the program in 2011.

Outside of the passion of coaching, Michelle loves spending time outdoors with her husband or indoors at volleyball tournaments with her two girls and is an avid reader. She loves connecting with her friends and family.


About the Gentle Sleep Coach®  Training

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 basic training with a faculty panel that includes 2 medical doctors, a psychologist, an attorney, a lactation counselor, postpartum doulas, and a family therapist. Each coach must pass an exam and participate in case mentorship with Kim West, LCSW-C (a.k.a. “the Sleep Lady”) who has been helping tired parents for over 20 years. Clinical mentorship and ongoing advanced training are required to maintain certification as a Gentle Sleep Coach.

Sleep Coach 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.

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.




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