Esther Anderson and her husband, Thad, have seen more than one of their infant daughter Ellia’s naptimes cut short by an accidental wake-up. From stepping on a creaking floor to their dog making drum noises on the crib with his wagging tail, Anderson says they have learned the importance of nap time and of not waking a sleeping little one.
The 29-year-old stay-at-home mom told TODAY Parents that a recent botched nap time prompted her to create Escaping a Sleeping Baby, a YouTube short that jokingly breaks down four methods parents can use to sneak away from a sleeping child without waking them.
To be sure, these videos are meant for amusement value only and are NOT meant to show safe sleeping practices, which include always putting babies on their backs to sleep and not using soft bedding, blankets or pillows in the baby's sleeping area.
A spokesman from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission emphasized that while the Anderson's showed their daughter, who is nearly 1, sleeping on her stomach on a bed near pillows, that's not the safest sleep environment. "Placing a baby to sleep in a safe crib, on his/her back, is the safest place for a young child," says the CPSC's Scott Wolfson. "We also say "Bare is Best" when it comes to your baby and your crib." The CPSC website has more safe sleep information.
“The idea for the video popped into my head one day after an unsuccessful attempt at the ninja. I had spent what seemed like forever trying to get her asleep and when it finally looked like it had worked, I kicked something on the floor during my escape and woke her up,” said Anderson.
“The ninja” is an escape method shown in Anderson’s video, during which she places sleeping Ellia into the crib and then exits the room using crawls, backflips and other stealth moves to avoid waking her.
Other methods shown include “the replacement,” where Anderson’s husband slips a stuffed bear under Ellia’s arm before escaping the bed, leaving the infant to believe she’s still snuggling her daddy, and “the creaky floor,” where the Andersons show carefully placed marks made with black tape, indicating where to step on the nursery floor to avoid unwanted noises from loose flooring.
Anderson, who lives in Lubbock, Texas with her family, has made several videos, published on her YouTube channel, about parenting, and says that the real purpose behind her videos is letting other moms know they’re not alone in their struggles.
“I’ve decided that any parent that thinks they have parenting all figured out is either lying or just full of themselves. And, I think we’re getting to the point in our society where it’s okay to accept the fact that we’re human and we make mistakes—and we make them a lot! There’s comfort (through videos like this) in knowing that we’re not the only ones out there who deal with the same frustrations that come along with such an important job.”
As for parents who are struggling to keep baby asleep? Anderson says her best advice is to keep a routine in place when possible, but to remember that things happen and flexibility is the key. And, she adds, it never hurts to brush up on your ninja skills.