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For tireless tots, her book is a real snoozer

Published April 05. 2010 05:00PM

Family consultant Shari Mezrah says she can get babies to sleep through the night at 9 weeks old.

No, parents; you're not dreaming. Or delirious from lack of sleep.

Mezrah says it can really happen if families commit to the sleep plan outlined in her new book, "The Baby Sleeps Tonight."

The Tampa, Fla., sleep coach wrote the book to help families restore order and regain a sense of control after the life-altering experience of having a baby. She wrote it based on her own experiences with her children, 10-year-old Maxwell and 8-year-old Samantha.

"When I had Max, I had no clue," she said. "They hand you your baby and say, 'Here, go home.' I wanted someone to tell me what to do. I wanted a plan. That's when I started doing research."

A decade later, Mezrah put her plan in print. The result, she says, is a book with a proven system for getting a family back to sleep based on specific sleep and feeding schedules. Do it correctly, and it works every time.

Mezrah, 43, talks about adopting the plan and sleeping, well, like a baby.

Q: I was kind of surprised to read that there's no such thing as a bad sleeper. Is that true?

A: It's very true. My kids love their beds. They love their rooms. They've never slept with us. We've never had issues because we've always dealt with them. We have not been reactionary. We've been proactive and cut off issues at the pass.

Q: You recommend starting a schedule as early as possible, even in the hospital after the baby is born. Can you try it at any time?

A: Yes. I love to educate expectant parents, but I get the desperate phone calls anywhere from 5 weeks to about 3 years out. I have parents whose kids, even at 2-1/2 years old, have never slept through the night. They are in the bed with them. It's affecting intimacy between the parents. So they need a plan on how to get them out.

Q: What do you think of co-sleeping?

A: I'm not a fan at all. I feel that children need to acclimate themselves to their own environment right away. I think it's very healthy for them to know their own bed, as well as for Mom and Dad to be in their own space.

Q: What about letting your kids fall asleep in front of the TV?

A: Ah, no. TV can be very stimulating. But I think music's great. I always recommend music with a beat. My favorite is rap. It's like magic. Anything with a beat is so effective with babies.

Q: One woman in the book refers to you as "Sgt. Shari." What do you think of that?

A: Love her. This was a great client of mine. Her and her husband wanted me to tell them what to do. They wanted their marching orders. As a result, they were so happy.

Q: All of this sounds like a lot of effort.

A: When you get through this, you're on easy street. You have a very well-adjusted child who knows they're loved, who knows when the next meal is coming and knows how to self-soothe. It's a really cool thing.

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