Sleep baby, sleep

Leading baby care and sleep consultant, DOROTHY WAIDE, has recently released a follow-up to her bestselling book You Simply Can’t Spoil a Newborn. Family Times editor, ANNA SCAIFE, caught up with Dorothy to talk about her new book, Simply Parenting, From 12 weeks to 12 months.

With over 30 years’ experience in post-partum care and child management, Dorothy qualified as a Karitane Mothercraft nurse in New Zealand in 1973. She has a background in hospital care for maternity and children’s wards, daycare centres and in-home 24 hours, 7 days a week care.

After training and working in New Zealand, Dorothy travelled to the United Kingdom and then on to the United States where she became highly sought after as a newborn nurse, helping parents with feeding and sleep during the crucial first months. She spent 20 years abroad as a live-in maternity nurse before returning home and establishing her business here as a baby sleep consultant.

What support do you provide for your clients with their newborns as a consultant?
I help parents by offering video consultations and email support. I work with them to help babies latch on for feeding, settling babies off to sleep and getting those basics sorted. I also offer in-home consultations, and I do a lot of speaking to groups as well.

What work did you do during your time overseas?
I worked as a live-in maternity nurse. I would move into the home and help the family during that newborn phase. I was there to be the mother’s left arm, really.

That sounds wonderful. I understand you worked for some pretty famous parents?
Yes, I worked for Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones when they had their babies, Dylan and Carys. I also worked for Russell Crowe and Danielle Spence helping with their newborn.

What are the key messages for parents in your latest book?

  1. What’s important is to try not to do anything out of the cot that you can’t replicate in the cot. I’m talking about movement; rocking, walking, jiggling to get baby off to sleep.
  2. Crying is natural. It’s communication, so when your baby cries, you need to stop, listen and act. They are telling you something, so you need to think about where you are when your baby is crying and what you need to do for them.
  3. Babies need a dark room to sleep in. Melatonin is only produced in pitch black. 

What would you say to mums and dads who are starting out with parenting?
No rule fits all babies. You are the sleep whisperer. You’re the expert. I can only give you tools that will help. Parenting is a lifelong journey, and parenting to sleep is just part of that. I don’t call it sleep training because we are not training a dog or a cat.

My books don’t tell parents what to do; they are just there to give guidelines based on the things I know can help.

What about babies who won’t settle?
If you’ve got a baby with reflux or a colicky baby and they’re crying, and in pain, then you need to go and see someone and keep at it until things improve. Your baby needs to be seen by someone who is an expert in that area.

Will you write another book?
Yes. I have made a start on the third book. Simply Parenting was meant to be from 12 weeks to three years, but it was becoming huge, so that book takes you up to 12 months. The next book will cover 12 months and beyond.

“In a loving family there are two nutrients a baby needs: sleep and food. If your baby is not receiving sufficient of one of these, it will affect the other, and this is stressful for the whole household.”

We have a copy of Dorothy Waide’s new book, Simply Parenting, From 12 weeks to 12 months to giveaway to a lucky winner. Follow us for your chance to win @familytimesnewzealand