I Took a Newborn Sleep Class - Here's What I Got Completely Wrong About Naps

Angela Elias

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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