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The Sleep Book That Saved My Life

>> Tuesday, May 15, 2012

(This title might sound like an exaggeration, but I promise, it's not.)(And this post might seem a little long, but I promise, if you need sleep, you should read this post.)

Ahhhh...our babies. So sweet. So angelic. So adorable and perfect. So awake at 1 a.m. And 3 a.m. And 4 a.m. And 6 a.m.

Lack of sleep when you have a baby is just something that you don't fully comprehend until you are right there in the thick of it. I was warned about it, but how was I to really know until I was there? I was one of those mothers that said I wasn't going to let my baby sleep in our bed....until I brought him home and I was soooo tired and the only way he would sleep was if I held him. And there he slept, in our bed, until 7 months old. When he started waking up every hour to nurse during the night, I knew it was time to figure out a better solution. Not to mention his naps during the day lasted about 20 minutes. I was tired. Scratch that, I was a walking zombie.

Figuring out how to solve this problem best is one of those personal decisions that everyone has to figure out on their own. Cry it out, no cry sleep solutions, attachment parenting...so many choices to look at. There seems to be no right answer, just what works best for your child's individual needs.

Someone recommended "On Becoming Babywise." I read it, but it just didn't have all of the information I needed, and I didn't completely agree with all of it. When I was done reading it, I was left feeling like I needed to know a little more, given my child's age and temperament. I know many people swear by it, but it just wasn't for me.
Then someone suggested Dr. Ferber's "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems." With the lack of sleep I was getting, the book appeared to be about 4,572 pages long, and I just didn't know how I was supposed to make time to read it.

So I went to the bookstore and looked through every single baby sleep book they had in stock. I read several pages of each, weighed my options, thought long and hard, and finally decided to buy "The Sleep Easy Solution" by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack. It turned out to be everything I needed and more.

Their approach is referred to as "The least cry method". The book was sympathetic to how difficult it was going to be to get my child to sleep through the night, in his own crib.** It let me know how much my child should be sleeping and it had step by step instructions on getting him there. It walked me through everything, step by step, and let me know that as hard as it might seem, I would get through it. I read it, (It helped that it wasn't a huge book that I felt too overwhelmed to read.), I read what I thought was most important to my husband, and we put the plan in action.

The very first night, he cried for approximately 20 minutes, and then fell asleep....FOR THE ENTIRE NIGHT!! I don't know if that is normal, and it didn't happen that way every night, but now I knew it was possible.

The napping part was a little trickier to get a handle on, but it walked me through all of that, too. And even let me know that this would be the trickier part, but that it would get better. After about a week/week and a half, both night time sleeping and nap time were all worked out and we were all finally able to sleep again. No joke, I would have gone absolutely insane if it weren't for this book and getting the sleeping schedule worked out.

I liked that this book had an age by age guide, not a one size fits all attitude, on training your baby/child to sleep. I like that it doesn't start the sleep training process until 4 months, which seemed a much better age to me than from birth. I like that it covers different scenarios. I like that it talks about how to best handle time changes, traveling, etc. And it doesn't just cover sleeping for babies, but talks about a wide spectrum of things up to the age of 5. How much sleep they should be getting at each age, transitioning to a bed, nightmares/night terrors, separation anxiety, birth of a new baby, potty training...it covers it all and more!

So if you are having problems in this area, I HIGHLY recommend this book! I have recommended it to many people, and everyone that has read it and used it has absolutely loved it, too. Good luck!! We all need our sleep!

**The book did have a section on slowly transitioning a baby from co-sleeping to sleeping in a crib in their own room, involving sleeping on their floor. I choose to fore-go this and dive right into getting him in there on his own, and it worked out just fine.

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Delanea May 18, 2012 at 8:54 AM  

Wow, really? I have to call you out on this post because this is just another "controlled crying" book like Ferberizing. I didn't find this book to be baby friendly AT ALL. :/ It is NORMAL for babies to wake up multiple times in the night at this age because they have legitimate needs that they cannot meet themselves. My 8.5-month-old wakes frequently and I wouldn't have it any other way (and yes, some nights he'll sleep 8 full hours). We still need to attend to our children's needs at night. Did you know night waking protects against SIDS? None of the books mentioned here are baby-friendly, and in fact the book "On Becoming Babywise" is warned against by the American Academy of Pediatrics because it is a danger to infants and has led to the death of many infants.

Sleep training is just a bad idea from a biological standpoint, period. Here is why:



I highly recommend Elizabeth Pantley's "No Cry Sleep Solution"


Another post from an expert on why babies should not sleep alone:

and here is a complete sleep resource page for new and expecting mothers/fathers:


Any book that claims to know how much sleep your child needs is a scheme. Every baby is different, and they're only young for a short time. Night parenting is just a much a part of parenting as day time parenting. You can still tend to baby's needs and get plenty of sleep without employing potentially harmful "controlled crying" situations.

It's too bad you endorse non-baby-friendly books because I really like Milan Maternity products. :(

aniC,  May 21, 2012 at 6:19 AM  

I obviously didn't express myself completely clearly (as I was trying not to have a super long post), but my son slept through the first night, but did wake after that only sleeping through the night a few more times until after he was a year. I most definitely attended to him. He was still nursing regularly at that point, and I did get up with him and nurse him. But like I said, him waking literally every hour was not normal. I am aware of all of the points you made and agree. Not all babies are the same, etc, but it helps to have some idea of how to help them, and to do what we each think is best. One of the hardest parts about being a mom is making decisions for our child and hoping they are the best, but we each have to make our own educated decisions. I would NEVER, though, say to leave your baby completely alone at night and not attend to them, and I don't believe at all that this book says to do that, either.
I was only expressing my opinions, and I apologize if they seemed offensive or seemed to suggest that you shouldn't attend to a baby during the night.

cms87 May 24, 2012 at 7:00 AM  

Hi! I know this is an old post but I thought I would add my two cents anyway. I have to disagree with Delanea. It is very important that babies learn to sleep through the night. If you research long term studies, you will find that babies that learn to sleep through the night when they are young, have much better sleep habits when they are older. I personally used the book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth. There are tons of methods out there for teaching a baby to sleep because, lets face it, it is not only good for the babies but good for the moms as well. It seems so intuitive to me that a well rested mom is a better mom. I know that everyone has to make their own parenting choices and I know that each mom is different. I don’t judge anyone for their sleep choices. . . However, I do think it is important for the sleep deprived mom to know that teaching your child to sleep is not a bad thing and in fact, is important for their health. I would hate for someone to feel bad that they are lovingly helping their baby develop an important life skill.

Anna May 24, 2012 at 10:16 AM  

The author was not suggesting abandoning a newborn. When a baby is older, yes they may still have needs that occur in the middle of the night but they are also capable of sleeping for longer stretches and getting into routines. There is nothing harmful about helping an older baby learn to self-soothe and sleep for longer stretches of time.

Delanea,  June 16, 2012 at 1:05 PM  

Wow. That's all I have to say. Opinions are one thing; evidence based medical studies are another. Babies are not meant to self soothe. This is not a judgment; this is what medical evidence shows to be fact.

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