KNWA & Your Family: Parenting Roles & Sleep Loss

In this week's KNWA and Your Family, the way parents spend their time in and out of the home is changing dramatically. And you might be surprised how many days of sleep you lose a year if you're a new parent.

A new Pew Research study shows dads are doing more housework while more moms are bringing home the bacon. It does also say of parents who work that dads value a high paying salary  while moms want a more flexible schedule.

And if you are a parent, you probably know all too well what a lack of sleep feels like. Now, new research out of the UK says new parents lose roughly 44 days of sleep in a year after they have a baby. Some companies now even offer new parents sleep training to teach them how to help their children sleep well.

Here are some "sleep training" tips to help get some 'z's' yourself, courtesy of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The one key word here is 'consistency.'

The full "cry it out" method. You let your baby cry herself to sleep without comforting her (also known as the extinction method).

The modified "cry it out" method. You let your baby cry but reassure her at regular intervals (also known as graduated extinction).
Soothing bedtime routines. You establish routines that help your baby wind down, then turn out the lights and don't respond to any crying.

Parent education. Before your baby arrives or right after, you learn about infant sleep and how to help your baby establish healthy sleep habits, such as putting her to bed sleepy but awake.

Scheduled awakenings. This rarely used tactic involves waking your baby before she would normally get up on her own. The awakenings get fewer and further between as you progress, until finally they're phased out altogether.

Researchers say all five methods cut down on bedtime tears and middle-of-the-night wakings. And while a few of the studies pitted one sleep-training method against another, no one method had an edge.

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