New York, NY (PRWEB) April 23, 2009
Waiting for a baby to magically "grow into" sleeping through the night can test the patience of even "uber Zen" parents. Weeks turn into months. Months can turn into years. All the while, an entire family grows more and more sleep deprived.
"Many new parents unnecessarily accept that they will get very little sleep after their children are born," says Conner Herman, one of the co-founders of NYC-based sleep consultancy, Dream Team Baby (http://www.dreamteambaby.com). "And yes, the first few months with a new baby are exhausting. But after that, it is possible to have a baby and be well rested."
Herman and her business partner, Kira Ryan, are former sleep-starved moms. Once they eventually got their children sleeping through the night, they hired a team of child and family experts and started Dream Team Baby to help fellow parents with sleep challenges. "Like getting in shape after having a baby, many people have more success if they have a trainer or coach to help along the way," explains Ryan.
According to Dr. Amy Demattia, a pediatrician based in Manhattan, parents are overwhelmed with information about sleep and sleep training. As a result, more may be looking for outside help. "Sleep consultants may have the time and expertise to guide [parents] through this information." Adding, "Also, today's busy parents have become more accustomed to asking for and seeking outside help."
The moms behind Dream Team Baby realize that not all families need individualized sleep support.
"We'd love to help all parents who need sleep help," Herman says. "But for parents who are sleep teaching on their own, there are a few key ingredients that can make the process easier on the entire family." According to Ryan, these tips, known as Dream Team Baby's "Three Ps for Sleep Teaching" are applicable for any sleep teaching approach and include:
1. Partnership among Parents
- Agree on a method. "Whatever approach to sleep teaching is used, both parents should make sure it is a method they believe in, understand, and commit to," says Ryan. "This way, no one is leading or following. Parents are in lock step."
- Write down reasons for sleep training. "Before starting a program, parents should sit down together and actually write down the reasons they've decided to sleep teach. If things get tough during the process they can look back on the list they made at a more rational point in time (i.e., when they weren't listening to a crying baby)," says Ryan.
- Start on a night when both parents are at home. "It's best for both parents to be home before the baby's bedtime for the first few nights, but absolutely both should be there on the first night," Ryan emphasizes.
2. Prepare Your Child
- Wait until your child is old enough. According to Herman, "Many parents struggling with sleep reach a breaking point around the two month mark and start sleep teaching too early. For most parents working alone on sleep, it's best to start when a child is truly old enough to be independent at night. By four months of age most healthy babies can learn to sleep through the night without help from parents."
- Make sure your child isn't sick or experiencing a major milestone. Having a healthy child may seem obvious, Herman points out, but a major life event can also hinder the sleep teaching process. For example, a mom's first week back at work or welcoming a new brother or sister can be sleep disruptors.
- Stay home for two weeks straight. "Wait to start sleep teaching until a time when a child is able to sleep at home for two weeks straight," advises Herman. "It's much easier to learn a skill when the conditions are the same night after night. Like mastering anything, repetition is essential."
3. Pick a "Phone-a-friend"
- Line up outside support. The last step is to recruit someone (e.g., friend, family member) to be on-call while parents start and continue a sleep program. "Pick someone who is a fellow parent and has been in a similar situation and survived," said Ryan. "Tell that friend the reasons for sleep teaching, a bit about approach, and ensure they're supportive. Then ask that friend to be available - night or day - to provide encouragement or emotional support during sleep teaching. And if you don't have a friend who can help, our sleep consultants are always available."
About Dream Team Baby, LLC
Dream Team Baby is an infant and toddler sleep consultancy based in New York City. However, sleep consultants work with families across the country. Sleep services are available for children up to the age of 2 years. Consultants can help families with sleep challenges over the phone or stay overnight with families to provide in-home assistance for 1-3 days.
Dream Team Baby founders are often referred to by clients as "miracle workers" and "life changing." Their board of leading child and family experts helped create their holistic and safe approach to helping children sleep. Most Dream Team "graduates" sleep 11-12 hours a night with regular daytime naps. Learn more at http://www.dreamteambaby.com.