Dr. Barnett believes that all babies can be taught how to sleep. Sleep is not necessarily something that comes naturally to babies and many need to be gently but consistently taught new sleep habits. Her methods are all based on scientific literature by Jodi Mindell, PhD, Judith Owens, MD MPH, Stephen Sheldon, DO and others. She believes that teaching babies to sleep requires consistency and preparation and she will guide you through the entire process. She also believes that it is the support as much as the information that is the most valuable to parents. The follow-up support is a key component of the sleep training process. We are all tech-savvy and easily able to find a lot of information quickly but Dr. Barnett is able to sort through that information for you and help you give your baby one of the greatest gifts you will ever give- the gift of sleep.
Jodi Mindell and others(1) reported that behavioral sleep interventions generally produced clinically significant improvements in bedtime resistance and night wakings. Dr. Mindell analyzed over 50 studies and found that in over 94% of cases, behavioral interventions (like those provided by Dr. Barnett) were effective. They also found that this clinical improvement in sleep was usually maintained for long periods of time. Dr. Barnett has found that in all of the families she has worked with, there has been improvement in their baby’s sleep.
In an American Academy of Sleep Medicine report, Timothy Morgenthaler, MD, recommended that parent sleep education is an effective therapy in the treatment of infant sleep problems(2). Dr Barnett believes that parent education is crucial to the success of her methods and aims to empower parents with enough sleep knowledge that they will be able to eventually analyze their baby’s sleep behavior and then be able to respond to various sleep issues as they arise.
Dr. Mindell and others(3) found that good sleep hygiene practices and routines were associated with better sleep in infants and children. Their findings supported the recommendation that children of all ages should fall asleep independently, go to bed early and have a well-established nighttime routine. Dr. Barnett will develop a good daytime and bedtime routine for your baby and work with you and ensure that your baby is able to fall asleep by him/herself.
Studies have shown that improving infant sleep improves maternal health and wellbeing(4,5). When your baby is sleeping through the night, you are also able to get a good nights’ sleep. Sleep deprivation can exacerbate some of the symptoms of post-partum depression and behavioral sleep interventions can help alleviate these symptoms(5). Dr. Barnett understands how a lack of sleep can affect postpartum depression. She will happily work in conjunction with your psychiatrist or psychologist during the sleep training process to ensure that everyones needs are being met. Dr. Barnett is particularly cognizant of the needs of new moms and knows how important it is for the whole family to be sleeping. Getting your baby to sleep so that you are able to catch up on sleep is a great non-pharmacological way to treat some of the symptoms of postpartum depression.
1A Review by Mindell JA, Kuhn B, Lewin DS et al. Behavioral treatment of bedtime problems and night wakings in infants and young children. SLEEP 2006;29(10):1263-1276.
2 Morgenthaler TI, Owens J, Alessi C et al. Practice parameters for behavioral treatment of bedtime problems and night wakings in infants and young children. SLEEP 2006;29(10):1277-1281.
3Mindell, JA and Meltzer, LJ. Behavioural Sleep Disorders in Children and Adolescents. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2008;37:722-8.
4Hiscock H, Bayer J, Gold L, Hampton A, Ukoumunne OC, Wake M. Improving infant sleep and maternal mental health: a cluster randomised trial. Arch Dis Child. 2007 Nov;92(11):952-8
5 Hiscock H, Bayer JK, Hampton A, Ukoumunne OC, Wake M. Long-term mother and child mental health effects of a population-based infant sleep intervention: cluster-randomized, controlled trial. Pediatrics. 2008 Sep;122(3):621-7.