A new parenting book is aiming to change the narrative around baby sleep.
BBC TV and radio presenter Cat Cubie and baby and child sleep expert Sarah Carpenter, who host The Sleep Mums podcast, have released Sleep Better Baby in an effort to empower parents with the skills and confidence to help their baby sleep.
The book, which Cat and Sarah started writing around three years ago, “goes against the grain” of other parenting books as it is “honest” and “real”.
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Sarah, who trained at Norland College, said: “I have read so many parenting books. My book list when I went to college had like 32 books on it.
“I have read and read and read but none of the books I’ve read I’ve come away from thinking ‘yeah, that actually does tell you what to do when things go wrong’.
“The biggest part of parenting is that things are not going to go to plan every day, they’re not going to be clean cut, but all these other books tell you what you can do when it’s perfect and they never ever tell you what to do when it’s not perfect, and ours does.”
Cat, who gave birth to her third child at the start of the year, also says their book has a sense of intimacy because she was going through the experience of having a newborn while they were completing it.
She said: “We want parents to feel empowered and to make decisions themselves because a lot of the parenting books tend to say ‘you must do this and if you don’t do this it’s not going to work out for you’.
“They’re very dictatorial and we feel that by passing back some of that confidence to parents, we’re encouraging them to work with their intuition but also giving them really simple guidelines that will actually help.
“Then at the end, they can to some extent choose the ones that work for them as a family, because all our families look different.
“We feel it’s a much more rounded book because it doesn’t tell you how you’re going to be feeling at that particular time and that you must feel like that. It says ‘you might feel like this but you also might feel like that’ and both of those things are okay.”
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Cat and Sarah decided to start The Sleep Mums podcast, which the book acts as a companion guide to, during lockdown to reach out to people who were struggling and found a community quickly built up around it.
Sarah said: “So many resources were taken away from new families and people who were starting to seek help before lockdown started and everything just came to a standstill, so it was really a way of us reaching out and supporting people.
“We had started to talk about the book a long time before that and that obviously came to a standstill as well at that point because Cat and I couldn’t continue to meet and write the book so then the podcast was born.
“The feedback we got was just incredible and it was really encouraging and reassuring to know that we were hitting the nail on the head, filling a gap that needed to be filled because it was such a difficult time for so many.”
While they originally planned for the podcast to have only six episodes, there are now 60 and more than 100,000 downloads.
Cat said: “We are speaking to all parents, even though our podcast is called The Sleep Mums, we call ourselves that because we are mums, and a really important part of the book is very much wanting to speak to everyone who is involved in a wee baby’s life.”
You can find out more about The Sleep Mums and Sleep Better Baby HERE.