This week, I had the pleasure of talking with pediatric sleep consultant, Carianna Gibb. She is the creator of All The Sleeps where she helps families children of all ages. She also runs a blog where she provides helpful tips and suggestions regarding sleep.
Tune in to this week’s podcast episode to hear the full interview: https://growingourfamily.com/S02E21/
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1. What is a sleep consultant and what is their role.
A sleep consultant’s role is to help guide parents so they learn how to teach their child to fall asleep on their own, without a crutch. They will help set up a plan that works for both parents and baby and give you the necessary tools and advice to accomplish that plan.
2. What is “safe sleep” and how can this help prevent SIDS?
A common rule to follow is the ABC’s of safe sleep.
A: Alone. It is recommended for babies to sleep in the same room as their parents, but important that they have their own sleep space. Remove all objects from their sleep space.
B: Back. According to the AAP, the “Back to Sleep” Campaign was launched in 1994 to inform parents that babies sleeping on their backs or sides was the safest position. It was later modified in 1996 to just their back.
C: Crib. Use a crib or bassinet that meets the current safety standards. Make sure you have a solid, flat surface. Adult mattresses are often too soft and can pose a suffocation risk.
3. When can you start changing up their sleep by putting them on their stomach or letting them sleep with blankets?
When it comes to putting your child on their stomach, there is a specific milestone to wait for. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “babies up to 1 year of age should always be placed on their back to sleep during naps and at night. However, if your baby has rolled from his back to his side or stomach on his own, he can be left in that position if he is already able to roll from tummy to back and back to tummy.”
As for blankets, the AAP recommends waiting until they are at least 12 months old before putting anything in the crib. However, most babies and younger toddlers are not capable of adjusting the blanket when they move. Until they can actually pull the blanket up around them, they are ineffective. When you start to introduce a blanket, start with a lightweight blanket instead of a heavier comforter.
4. Is a bedtime routine actually helpful, and what do you suggest this should involve?
Bedtime routines are so helpful in signaling to your child that it is time for bed. You can start a routine the moment you get home from the hospital, but it is never too late to begin one. You can find out exactly what a bedtime routine should entail by going to Carianna’s blog here: https://allthesleeps.com/bedtimeroutine/.
5. Difference between gradual, intermediate, and CIO methods.
There are various different methods of sleep training. The most gradual involves a very hands-on approach with lots of checkups. This process usually takes much longer than the other options, but can be a good option for parents that are very patient and willing to wait for results. On the other end of the spectrum is the Cry it Out method, which has a very hands-off approach. However, this method usually only takes a few days before your child is sleeping soundly with little to no crying every night. For more information on the different methods, check out Carianna’s article here: https://allthesleeps.com/sleep-coaching-methods/
6. Can CIO be dangerous or have lasting effects?
A common misconception is that the Cry it Out method (CIO) can cause lasting brain damage. An article was published in 2012 where 225 Australian families participated in a study analyzing the lasting effects of the CIO method. They were able to come to the conclusion that “behavioral sleep techniques have no marked long-lasting effects (positive or negative). Parents and health professionals can confidently use these techniques to reduce the short- to medium-term burden of infant sleep problems and maternal depression.”
Just because the CIO method is not damaging, it doesn’t mean it is for everyone. This is where a sleep consultant comes in. They are able to work with each individual family to create a plan the parents are comfortable with. I am a strong believer in doing what’s best for YOUR family and YOUR individual needs. What works best for one person, is not always the best option for another.
7. When is it safe to start sleep training/ what cues to look for to tell if they are developmentally ready?
Studies have shown babies are ready to start sleep training at around 4 months of age. Some professionals, like those at Tribeca Pediatrics, say sleep training can start earlier at 2 months. However, not enough studies have been done to completely prove this. It’s best to follow the recommendations of your sleep consultant or pediatrician to determine what is best for your situation.
8. Sleep Regressions – do you have to start over again or do they retain the ability to self soothe once they’ve passed that phase?
The dreaded sleep regression is something no parent looks forward to. However, this “regression” means your child is learning new skills and is developing like they should be. They are seeing the world in a different light, and this is what causes their sleep patterns to get disrupted. This post on baby sleep regressions will help you navigate through the regression and will help prevent future setbacks.
All the Sleeps “Sleep ‘Regressions’”: https://allthesleeps.com/sleep-regressions/
9. Top 5 baby sleep myths
It is so easy for rumors to spread like wildfire. Carianna has a wonderful post to help debunk some of the most common sleep myths. https://allthesleeps.com/5-baby-sleep-myths/
Top 5 myths:
Myth #1. Sleep training your baby can cause brain damage.
Myth #2. Never wake a sleeping baby.
Myth #3. If your baby wakes at night, it means he is hungry.
Myth #4. A later bedtime will keep your baby from waking too early in the morning.
Myth #5. Rice cereal in a bottle before bed will help your baby sleep longer.
You can find Carianna at the following links:
Australian Sleep Study: “Five-Year Follow-up of Harms and Benefits of Behavioral Infant Sleep Intervention: Randomized Trial” by Anna M.H. Price, Melissa Wake, Obioha C. Ukoumunne and Harriet Hiscock. Pediatrics September 2012: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/09/04/peds.2011-3467?sso=1&sso_redirect_count=1&nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token:
American Academy of Pediatrics “Reducing Sudden Infant Death with ‘Back to Sleep’”: aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/7-great-achievements/Pages/Reducing-Sudden-Infant-Death-with-Back-to-.aspx
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