Had Goop been around in 2006, Gwyneth Paltrow would have surely penned a glowing newsletter about her maternity nurse, Rachel Waddilove. “Using Rachel’s technique, Apple was sleeping through the night in a six- to seven-hour stretch by six weeks,” Paltrow, 43, raves in Waddilove’s must-read guide, The Baby Book. Can’t afford the guru’s $418-a-day rate? Britain’s modern-day Mary Poppins — who cared for Minnie Driver’s son, Henry — shares her sleep secrets (for free!) with Us Weekly:
1. “Make sure your baby has a full tummy or he won’t sleep for long,” says Waddilove. Also key: burping. “Babies with gas will not settle,” explains the childcare expert. Can’t get your little one to wind? “Sit him up straight on your lap,” instructs Waddilove, “then put one hand on his back and the other on his tummy and gently pat his back.”
2. Swaddle your bundle of joy before placing him on his back in the crib, says the British sleep guru. Wrapping a baby like a little burrito makes him feel secure and also controls jerky movements that can startle him. Dr. Rachel Moon, chair of the task force that wrote the American Academy of Pediatrics’ sleep guide suggests parents stop swaddling by the age of 2 months, before the infant intentionally starts to roll.
3. An overtired baby makes for a fussy baby! Waddilove recommends that a baby — between the ages of birth and 12 weeks — nap every 90 minutes.
4. It’s important to establish a bedtime routine. “Play a musical toy with a gentle lullaby that she will associate with sleep,” says Waddlilove. “Then turn off the light and leave the room.” This will teach the baby how to self-settle.