Jessica Biel on How to Get More Sleep as a New Parent
Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake are serious #relationshipgoals. Whether Biel is fangirling hard over her husband while he works or he’s keeping it real about their life as parents, there’s something refreshingly real about their family life. Biel opened her kid-friendly and super adorable restaurantAu Fudge in 2016, and since then, has hosted several events in the space for parenting gurus she admires and trusts, such as her nanny Connie Simpson who helped raise son Silas, and Dr. Harvey Karp, a well-known pediatrician and bestselling author who has literally written the book on baby sleep. His proven techniques and products have a huge celebrity following; Khloé Kardashian, Ashton Kutcher, Dax Shepard, Molly Sims, Scarlett Johansson, and Zoe Saldana are just a few of the A-list fans who sing his praises.
At a recent event at Au Fudge hosted by Jessica Biel, she interviewed Dr. Karp about his latest invention, The SNOO Smart Sleeper. During the talk, Biel and Karp discussed the struggles of modern parents raising kids on their own. Karp pointed out that most people think a “normal family” is two parents and a child, but for many years, children were raised by a village of extended families, with Biel chiming in, “Back in the day, with aunties, friends, godmothers, and godfathers!” They both agreed that support is so critical for parents to manage those early months with a newborn.
Biel shared her own trials and tribulations as a first-time mom with hubby JT, as well as her suggestions for getting the most sleep. She even admitted that Silas still uses a pacifier and they struggle with weaning him off it (which so many parents can relate to!). Here are Biel’s best tips for new parents and their babies to get as much shut-eye as possible.
1. Sleep when you can. “Sleep deprivation is torture,” said Biel. “I have a three-year-old, and it’s pretty common for him to not sleep through the night. The first six months, if you can sleep, sleep.”
2. Know that you’re going to have fears as new parents. “There’s so many fears. You’re leaning over, looking at them, and thinking, ‘Are they breathing?’ It’s so intense,” Biel said. Rest assured, you’re not alone.
3. Check out her favorite book on baby sleep. A friend of Biel’s gave her a copy of Karp’s bestselling book Happiest Baby on the Block ($10), which features his famous techniques, which he calls the “Five Ss” — swaddling, side, shushing, swinging, and sucking. These techniques help soothe newborn babies and lull them to sleep. Biel shared, “I would go through the list of the five Ss, and just check. Tried that. Okay, not that one. Not that one. Oh, that one. Today. In an hour, it’s different, or maybe you start to see a pattern.”
4. Try white noise. Karp’s main theory is that your baby has spent nine months listening to the sounds in your belly, like amniotic fluid swishing and you talking, so using white noise mimics the sounds your infant heard in the womb. Biel swears by it for her son Silas, and even for herself. “I couldn’t sleep without it. I don’t know what I’d do,” she said.
5. Master the swaddle. Out of all of Karp’s techniques, Biel counts swaddling as her favorite. “If you can master the swaddle, you are set,” she said. The Sleepea, a five-second swaddle blanket ($24), is another product from Karp’s brand Happiest Baby.
6. Invest in a SNOO. Karp invented the SNOO Smart Sleeper ($1,160) in 2016; it prevents rolling and provides safe swaddling for babies up to six months old. When a baby fusses, the SNOO responds with the best level of sound and jiggly rocking and will alert parents if more needs to be done. “There’s that saying that moms and dads sleep with one ear open, one eye open, but just knowing that there’s another set of hands, like a security, there’s something that is sort of with your child in their room or next to your bed, wherever you have the SNOO, that makes such the difference,” Biel said. “If I have a second one, you know I’m first on the list for one of these.”
What are some ways you help your baby get better sleep at night or during naps? Let us know @BritandCo.
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(Event photos via Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images; Sleepea product photo via Alex Aldana/Happiest Baby)