Oh, sweet sleep. As new mothers, sleep can become an obsession for us, especially when we get so little of it! When my son was a newborn, I was consistently reading and trying to find any information or magic hack to get him to sleep longer than 3 nights. Then, someone in my due date group mentioned Taking Cara Babies. Another mom and then another would praise of her newborn sleep course. So, it had to be worth it, right?
I scoured the Taking Cara Babies Instagram and then read and re-read her blog. My son still wasn’t sleeping well and I was desperate to not wake up so frequently. So, I bought it. I bought the 4-hour $72 miracle course, “Will I Ever Sleep Again?” with the promise of a baby that could sleep through the night!
I put Cara’s suggestions to practice for several weeks and still had a newborn that woke up 3 times a night. I decided to ask for a refund. This post is detailing why you should put that money back in your pocket!
The Taking Cara Babies Information is already free to you!
Yes, I believe that Taking Cara Babies already gave you the valuable information she sells at a premium – for free. While some people might enjoy that it is a nice and concise package, I personally wasn’t impressed. I watched and rewatched, hoping for that “Aha!” moment, and didn’t get it.
I do however, think that her blog, and especially her instagram, is a wonderful resource that can get you started on the right path.
Cara Teaches You What Other Sleep Experts Have Taught!
Cara is worth it if you don’t want to spend hours on google. However, if you are sleep-deprived and want to find the quickest way to a good night’s sleep, you probably are spending much of your time googling the solution, anyways!
However, you will find she takes other’s ideas, changes the pneumonic and calls it hers. And I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Harvey Karp’s 5S Method to Calm a Newborn
Cara takes Harvey Karp’s “5S of Soothing a Baby” and renamed it “C.R.I.E.S.” Dr. Karp is the author of The Happiest Baby on the Block and the inventor of the Snoo. This method involves swaddling your baby, rotating your baby on its side, making a rhythmic “Shh” sound, introducing movement, and placing a suckie in your child’s mouth.
The E.A.S.Y. Routine from Tracey Hogg
Tracey Hogg, also known as the ‘Baby Whisperer’ is another sleep expert Taking Cara Babies borrowed information from. In Tracey Hogg’s book, “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer,” she teaches you about the “E.A.S.Y. Routine.”
This routine means baby’s routine is Eat – Awake Time – Sleep – (You time). You should practice separating eating from falling asleep so that your child does not associate eating with falling asleep (and thus becoming dependent on the association). Once your little one is asleep, you get some time to yourself!
This Eat, Play, Sleep routine is to be followed following your baby’s wake windows. Wake windows are the appropriate amount of time an infant should be awake before sleeping again. Although you should also be looking out for sleepy cues, too!
Approximate Wake Windows
Newborns to 2 Months 60 – 90 minutes
3-4 months 3 – 4 naps 75 – 120 minutes
5 – 8 months 2 – 3 naps 2 – 3 hours
8 – 14 months 2 – 1 naps 3 – 4 hours
I highly recommend the Huckleberry App to track feedings and eating. It is a free sleep tracking app that will recommend your nap times after a week of information and I have found it to be highly accurate! (iOs | Android)
The French “Le Pause”
I believe that the french “Le Pause” and french parenting has been glorified due to author Pamela Druckerman. Mrs. Druckerman wrote a book titled Bringing Up Bebe in 2012. After learning about, Le Pause, or the act of intentionally waiting to see if an infant truly needed you or if they were settling themselves, I was interested in reading more about Druckerman’s time in France. (Honestly, it’s an excellent book and I highly recommend it, if only to make you consider another way to raise your child.)
Anyways, Cara recommends Le Pause without even crediting the author she learned the term from! Dirty!
When your child wakes from sleep, you should wait to see if it is a true cry (is he hungry?) or if he is trying to settle. As a newborn, this should be about a minute, lengthening the time once you are comfortable. If your baby is truly crying, it is recommended to start a soothing ladder.
The Core Night Method
Cara has an acronym for her soothing ladder, but there are many online. I personally prefer to wait until my child is crying. I then honestly move straight to giving him a binky and “Shhh”-ing him. If that doesn’t work, I put a hand on his chest. Then I might lightly pat his chest. If he is still crying, I pick him up to cuddle him.
I personally only use the soothing ladder if I know my baby shouldn’t be hungry. For example, if he has a false start to sleep and wakes an hour after I put him down, I know it wasn’t hunger that woke him. However, Taking Cara Babies wants you to practice the soothing ladder to specifically lengthen your baby’s feeds, essentially weaning them from night feeds.
Specifically, Cara ties the soothing ladder with Gina Ford’s Core Night Method. This method assumes that the longest stretch of not eating is one that your baby should be held standard to. So, let’s assume that your child goes five hours through the night. It’s expected that you hold that five hours, because your child “proved” he could go that long. I’m personally not a fan, but that’s how Taking Cara Babies sells you on your newborn sleeping through the night.
The Taking Cara Babies Method implements some questionable practices
Night weaning at too young an age.
For example, there are many parents who think that a newborn under 12 weeks of age should not be subjected to the core night method. While there are many infants who begin sleeping through the night on their own at 3-4 months, many doctors do not recommend it until a child is on a steady growth curve and is 5-6 months. It is really something you should bring up to your pediatrician.
Endorsing swaddles past 8 weeks of age.
I am a big advocate for safe sleep (see my post about the ABC’s of sleep HERE). I also originally purchased Cara’s course when Baby G was 5.5 weeks. Because I knew that swaddling had to be stopped at the first signs of rolling or at 8 weeks, I knew our time with the swaddle was coming to an end (Read AAP Publication on it HERE).
I realized that Taking Cara Babies relies heavily on the swaddle. It is one of the first things she recommends when you have a fussy baby. It is the first step of CRIES and is a part of her soothing ladder. I didn’t understand how her techniques would work when my baby would be transitioned to a sleep sack.
So, I emailed customer service and told them my concern. THEY ARGUED THAT THE AAP DID NOT ENDORSE REMOVING THE SWADDLE AT 8 WEEKS. I sent them a screen shot of Dr. Moon’s recommendation and they continued to argue me. That was when I was D O N E. And immediately asked for a refund.
Endorsing questionably unsafe baby products
Cara’s team luckily recommends removing the swaddle once baby rolls over, however they often tout unregulated products as safe alternatives for your baby. Keep in mind, these products are in a safety gray area because there are not specific safety guidelines they have to abide by (such as the CPSC and crib safety, for example).
The Nested Bean Weighted Sleep Sack
This product is meant to allow your baby to feel as if your hand is on their chest, giving them the comfort they need. However, many healthcare professionals agree that this garment could pose a suffocation risk to your baby and that weighted blankets should only be used in the hospital under medical supervision.
The Magic Merlin Suit
The magic merlin suit is like a large marshmallow suit for your baby. It keeps him asleep because it restricts your child’s movement. Besides unnaturally restricting your child’s movement, your baby won’t be able to learn how to self soothe (ie suck their thumb or learn that they love sleeping on their side). It is also extremely hot and there have been concerns of overheating (an increased SIDs risk!)
Playing a white noise machine at too high of decibels
I am upset at myself for not fact-checking this one, as I was using a sound machine for my son for 2.5 months before I found the AAP recommendation for sound machine levels. I have the Hushh by Yogasleep Travel Sound Machine (btw, it is awesome), but I was using it at too high a level by trusting Cara.
Cara does admit that a decibel of above 85 can damage the ears and she recommended downloading a decibel app on your phone. (View her Instagram Story Highlight on it HERE.) HOWEVER it doesn’t take into account that we subject our babies to the sound machine for 12 to 18 hours a day, depending on their age!
In this publication summary by the AAP, they also acknowledge that listening to 85 decibels for 8 hours a day will damage hearing, but they took it a step further. The AAP recommends no more than 50 decibels placed 3 feet from your infant’s sleep space. I was so upset at myself that I didn’t delve into this further and I only hope I did not affect my baby’s long-term hearing!
Using a lovey in the crib.
This recommendation from Taking Cara Babies is not from her newborn course, but is introduced in later courses. However, this goes directly against the AAP and their ABC’s of safe sleep.
Taking Cara Babies is Predatory.
It’s unfortunate to hear, but it is biologically normal to have a child that doesn’t sleep through the night for quite a while. It is absolutely an adjustment, but this is when calling to your tribe can be useful. Take night shifts with a partner or family member if you are able to, so you can get at least one solid 4-hour stretch of sleep yourself. In the meantime, there are plenty of free resources to teach you how to teach your loved one to fall (safely) asleep!
I feel that Cara slaps a guarantee to have your newborn infant sleeping through the night and being the sleep-deprived parent you are, you click that purchase button! While all of her ideas are those of another, simply be aware this information is out there for free, if not for a much cheaper price!
Check these two facebook groups out:
If you are looking for great resources to teach your child how to sleep through the night, I highly recommend these two facebook groups:
When you are approved to join these groups, look for their “Files” tabs. There is so much information in these groups on how to teach your child to self soothe in an age-appropriate way. I read these files and honestly felt cheated by paying for a course that condones some unsafe sleep practices!
Opinion: The Taking Cara Babies Newborn Course is not worth it.
Of course, you may take my recommendations with a grain of salt. I watched and rewatched her course and followed it for a few weeks with little success – and then I had the safe swaddling argument with her customer service and Karen’d my way outta there.
I’ll admit, my child is not the best sleeper. We still regularly wake up 1-2 times a night. However, he is a safe sleeper and we have had great success with teaching him to put himself to sleep with minimal crying!
I also am a huge advocate for evidence-based baby care. I prefer to know what is safest, versus what is most convenient. If there are changes in the future, I am also willing to adapt – just show me the evidence!
Teaching your loved one how to sleep is a process – some methods works for some babies while other methods work for others. If I were you, I’d join the Facebook groups I suggested and then I’d follow my blog for the insights I am learning as a first-time mother!
Until next time!