We spoke to baby sleep expert Cara Dumaplin of Taking Cara Babies about how her class "Will I Ever Sleep Again" has become a must-attend for new parents and why both her and her pediatrician husband love DockATot for infant sleep.
What led you to a career as a baby sleep consultant?
I had been a nurse for many years when I brought my first baby home from the hospital. I believed my background in neonatal nursing and being married to a pediatrician would equate to new parenting bliss. I must admit, when it came to sleep, we were clueless. Life was incredibly difficult. We were both so exhausted. We knew sleep was important for our baby (and OURSELVES), but how to get sleep? We had no idea. Sleep deprivation and a desire for a rested family set me on my journey to research infant sleep.
I found that healthy sleep habits are so much easier to CREATE than trying to CORRECT infant sleep problems. Fortunately, my last three babies were born in four years and I got lots of practice. Over the years, I became known as the “Baby Sleep Expert” among my friends and in our circles.
I created Taking Cara Babies with the mission to educate, encourage, and empower new families. While working in an OB office I witnessed first-hand how tired new moms are in those first few months. I could totally relate to their experience. I knew I could make a difference in their lives. My passion is to show parents that healthy sleep habits aren’t hard to create if you started in the first 12 weeks of life. When the entire family is rested, the most effective bonding possible can occur.
Why is sleep so important for babies/ moms?
Sleep is vital for the entire family. For babies it aids in growth, learning, and restoration. Furthermore, sleep helps during a baby’s wake-time. Rested babies are less irritable and more content. This increases the family’s ability to bond ten-fold. Babies who have more consolidated night sleep were shown to have higher cognitive scores in research studies.
We know sleep deprivation in moms leads to a higher incidence of postpartum depression, maternal anxiety, and marital difficulty. Sleep fosters development, well being and bonding.
(Baby sleep expert Cara Dumaplin demonstrating a DockATot to new parents in her class "Will I Ever Sleep Again?")
Tell us about your class "Will I Ever Sleep Again?"
“Will I Ever Sleep Again” is a class that discusses healthy sleep habits from the very beginning. It fits with all parenting styles. Parents learn about feedings, naps, bedtimes, night awakenings and how to fit them all together so the entire family gets more sleep. This class is specifically for expectant families or those with newborns less than 12 weeks of age.
The "Will I Ever Sleep Again" class was born out of a mom's desire to help her pregnant friends. A new mom of twins hired me to assist her directly after coming home from the hospital. I offered practical tips for daytime and nighttime care. By eight weeks of age, both babies were sleeping eight hours EVERY night. There was no need for "cry it out", sleep training, or rigid feeding schedules. The mother simply implemented my seven tips. Others were in awe, but really it was quite simple. When this mother gathered her pregnant friends together to hear the seven tips, the first class was created and has been in high demand since! It is actually the top prenatal/newborn class in the Phoenix Metro area (and is now available online).
Why do you love DockATot?
I first fell in love with the DockATot while teaching my class. I had two fussy newborns and demonstrated my techniques to a sold out classroom. The baby in the DockATot fell asleep in a matter of minutes and was less restless than the baby next to him. Everyone in the room was amazed and left in awe. I became a DockATot believer instantly as did everyone in the building. I love how it can be easily transported to maintain the same sleeping experience both day and night. I encourage parents of newborns to set it on the floor next to their bed or on a large ottoman pushed up against the parents’ bed. My husband has seen many baby products over his 25+ years as a board certified pediatrician, but the DockATot is one that actually excites him. Together, we are amazed at the safety standards it exceeds.
What are some of the biggest sleep misconceptions that you address in your class?
There are three big ones!
A. A big misconception is that newborns need to be “sleep trained”. This is SO NOT TRUE! Setting up healthy sleep habits in the beginning helps prevent possible sleep barriers throughout infancy. “Will I Ever Sleep Again” is a newborn class that teaches healthy habits and many will naturally begin sleeping through the night, but it is NOT sleep training.
B. Another big misconception is that breast fed babies won’t sleep and we need to offer formula or cereal. We know that breast milk is more easily digested, but that doesn’t mean that adding formula or cereal is necessary. The research simply does not support this in order for babies to sleep longer. Setting up healthy sleep habits does promote longer sleep.
C. Finally, the one that saddens me most: Babywearing and rocking a newborn to sleep is NEVER encouraged if you want to set up healthy sleep habits. Again, this is NOT TRUE. My class shows how you can have both by creating balance.
How do your classes differ from other methodologies?
My newborn class, “Will I Ever Sleep Again” is not sleep training. There is no crying involved. I teach how to set the baby up for sleep success without crying. Every baby is unique so I can’t guarantee 100% that all babies will magically sleep through the night, but I can guarantee that if you implement the tips learned, you will set up a strong sleep foundation that will make the first two years of a baby’s life so much easier.
What are some tips you would give to new parents who are struggling with sleep and their newborn?
My best pieces of advice are: Watch/attend the newborn sleep class and order your DockATot TODAY. Within a few nights to a week, parents are seeing success. So many new moms and dads are saying it is the “Life-Changing Combo”.
What's the best parenting advice you've received?
“Enjoy the journey” is my parenting motto and the best advice I have received about parenting in general. Although the days (and some nights) feel never ending, I never want to miss the joy in today with my babies. Often times we are living for certain milestones- sleeping through the night, walking, talking, potty training, beginning preschool, etc. Sure, these are all wonderful, but I really encourage parents (myself included) not to miss the joy in TODAY!
These words hang on my wall for me to read each morning:
“Today is important because you are exchanging a day in your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever. In its place is something that you have left behind. Let it be something good.”
Cara Dumaplin, founder of Taking Cara Babies, is a registered nurse with 18 years experience in neonatal ICU, labor and delivery, antepartum and postpartum care. Cara is married to a pediatrician and is a mom to four. She is an educator and sleep consultant who helps families all across the nation. Read more about why Cara and other baby expert moms love DockATot in our press and praise section.