With my first baby, I gathered most of my knowledge about sleep training by devouring the pages of a dense book, fighting the urge to nod off while trying to absorb as much information as I could. With my second baby, I discovered that taking an online class was a much more effective way for me to learn helpful techniques at my own pace without feeling overwhelmed. I took the Will I Ever Sleep Again? online newborn class from Taking Cara Babies, which combines short videos with digestible reading sections that relate to the videos. As a visual learner, this format helped me grasp so much more in much less time. Cara's background as a neonatal nurse, mother of four, and wife to a pediatrician means her expertise is rooted in research, but her warm, personable delivery, which includes stories of her own trial and error, keeps it interesting.
Is My Baby Sleepy or Hungry?
When I began the course, one of the biggest mistakes I was making was confusing my baby's sleepiness for hunger. When he'd start to fuss an hour or so after feeding him, I was afraid he might still be hungry, so I'd nurse him again. It instantly soothed him, but he'd fall asleep early into the feeding and then fuss again when I unlatched. That's when I learned from Cara that my baby wasn't hungry, he was exhausted.
How Often Should Newborns Nap?
Cara points out that newborns only have about 60-90 minutes of wake time before they're ready for a nap. At that point, you'll start to notice the sleepy cues they give you when you pay attention. Some are obvious, like yawning, but there were others I had no idea about, like spaced-out staring or, even more strangely, pink eyebrows!
Developing a Schedule For Newborns
Learning this was a huge breakthrough and helped me to develop a schedule based on Cara's model of feeding, awake time, and napping throughout the day. Practicing a scheduled routine helped keep him full, rested, and content and gave me more predictable windows of time to get things done or just relax. I also started to see how offering him consistent sleeping opportunities during the day helped my baby become a better sleeper at night, which is the ultimate goal.
If you are expecting or already have a baby or toddler at home and want better sleep for the whole family, I can't recommend Taking Cara Babies enough! Follow on Instagram to get a sense of Cara's personality and knowledge — she sprinkles in plenty of handy tips that range from demonstrating the perfect swaddle to walking followers through a night spent with a newborn.