When I chatted with Pregnant in Heels star Rosie Pope, I had to ask her the number one question on every new parent's mind: How do I get my baby to sleep well? While there's no one surefire solution, the maternity mogul did have some helpful suggestions that have worked in her own life and for her clients. Considering first-time parents Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are entering into that early phase of sleepless nights with a newborn, there's no better time to share Rosie's wise words with the world. Consider it a baby gift, Kimye!
"Parents have to understand is you can’t even begin to sleep train, even if you want to, until the baby is at least four months old and 14 pounds," explains Rosie. "If they’re prematurely born you have to factor that in, so that’s the first thing. The second is you can’t sleep train until your baby is eating enough food during the day, and people often don’t realize because they’ve been feeding during the night that they’re not getting all of their calories during the day. You have to make that transition so they’re getting all of their food in the day hours."
Once all of those stars have aligned, Rosie says parents can start sleep training…if they want. Sleep training, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the process of letting your baby "cry it out" in his or her crib during the night instead of picking them up for an extra feeding. In essence by allowing baby to cry it out, your little one then has to self-soothe and learn how to fall back to sleep on his or her own. The process can be agonizing to say the least.
"It’s a hard decision for a lot of people," she says. "Any conclusive research that’s done shows that kids are not damaged in the long-term by sleep training, but it’s not easy."
There are different sleep training methods, but Rosie prefers the one called Extinction Method.
"It's an awful term but basically once you’ve established a good nighttime routine, once they’re the right weight, once they’re eating during the day, you put them to bed and you don’t go back until the morning," she explains. "It takes about two or three days and it’s gut-wrenching and then they can sleep. But you often have to revisit it because they get sick or you travel or whatever else happens."
Rosie finds that most of her clients aren't ready to start the process until their baby is between six and eight months old. But there is a small window of opportunity that parents should keep in mind.
"(If) you wait longer than that it’s kind of impossible because they can stand up in their crib and they can yell and they can hurt themselves," she says. "So there is really a window where you’ve got to get it done otherwise you’re falling into much more difficulty. Either you’re going to wait it out and at some point, probably around 18 months, they’re going to do it by themselves, or you’re going to have to do stuff that’s really hard. That’s why we try to encourage people to do it sooner rather than later."
Are you on board with sleep training? Tell me your thoughts on the methods in the comments below or tweet @OKMagazine.