I am excited to have the opportunity to introduce Cara Dumaplin, Founder of Taking Cara Babies. She is a Registered Nurse with 18 years experience in Neonatal ICU, Labor & 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. I was able to spend time with Cara and discuss some of our top questions.
1. Tell us about your background.
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 mean having a new baby would be a cake walk. I must admit, when it came to sleep, we were clueless. 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.
2. Why is sleep so important?
Sleep has shown to be vital for infant brain development. Memory and learning is strengthened during infant sleep. Babies who have more consolidated night sleep were shown to have higher cognitive scores in research studies. Sleep is so much more than just “turning off” for baby brains. We know sleep deprivation in moms leads to a higher incidence of postpartum depression, maternal anxiety, and marital difficulty. Sleep is vital for the entire family. It fosters development, well-being and bonding.
3. 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. 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 breastfeeding 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 available online now at www.TakingCaraBabies.com) Sleep is the best gift you can give your new baby. "As a first time parent or parent of many, this class is the best one ever. Baby sleep is vital for development," said Dr. Matthew Abrams, MD, Medical Director of Neonatology in Scottsdale, Arizona.
4. Tell us why you love The Ollie Swaddle.
Tip #1 in my newborn class is: Swaddle. But, I always go one step further: get The Ollie Swaddle. The Ollie Swaddle is one of the best baby products on the market. I truly believe every new mom needs one. The Ollie helps newborns ease from the womb to the outside world. It helps calm fussy babies and truly enhances infant sleep. The moisture wicking fabric prevents babies from overheating. This swaddle is easy to use and changes lives daily. The Ollie fits babies from birth until they are done being swaddled; therefore, it’s the only swaddle parents need to purchase. It even helps little ones transition out of the swaddle once they are rolling over. I teach parents to just leave one arm out for 3-5 nights and then slowly begin leaving both arms out. It’s the perfect tool to help babies transition out of the swaddle too.
5. What do you tell parents that say "my baby hates to be swaddled?"
While teaching my newborn sleep class over half of new moms say, “my baby hates to be swaddled.” I truly understand why they think this. When a newborn is crying and you swaddle him, he will typically cry harder. In my class, I demonstrate how to calm a baby with swaddling. The trick is what you do once the baby is swaddled. You want to help recreate the womb experience. This technique is taught in all of my classes. Parents who were once against swaddling see that their baby truly loves to be swaddled. Sometimes, seeing is believing.
6. What are some big sleep misconceptions that you address in your class?
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. 2. 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.
7. What are some tips you would give to new parents who are struggling with sleep and their newborn?
My biggest tip: Come to my Newborn Sleep Class (or watch it online) and then get your Ollie Swaddle TODAY. Yesterday, I had a woman stop me in the mall and introduce me to her 19 month old. She said he’s been sleeping 10-12 hours EVERY night since he was 12 weeks old AND…he now uses his Ollie as his security blanket. Every baby is unique so I can’t guarantee the same results for each baby. I can tell you that if a parent implements my seven sleep tips in the first 12 weeks with consistency, he/she will be so much further ahead than if they just sorta “winged it”.
8. What inspires you?
My inspiration in life are people (especially moms) who find their passion and turn it into a career. Those who motivate me are making a difference in their corner of the world simply by doing what they love. These people discover their passion (fitness, decor, nutrition, fashion, beauty, babies, etc) and turn their days into impacting others simply by living out that passion. Women who can do this AND balance motherhood/family ignite a fire within my soul! That's who I strive to be. Joanna Gaines (of HGTV's Fixer Upper) is a perfect example. She has turned her love of design into a career that brings others joy... all while loving her babies and being very intentional about raising her children. The founder of The Ollie World, Hindi, is another fabulous example of one who inspires me. A foster mom who saw a need- a baby who flourished when properly swaddled. She became passionate in her search to nurture him and, in turn, impacts mothers and babies all across the globe.