These are the books piled next to my bed. Some I love, and some I hate. Not one had the perfect solution, but many had helpful suggestions. In the end, I took what I felt would work for my baby and my parenting style and threw out the rest.
– Elizabeth Pantley
The best book I ever bought, hands down. I jumped on this book when I read the title. Not only did she provide excellent ideas, and realistic expectations, Elizabeth Pantley made me feel like a good mom. She provides equal comfort to mothers, as she talks about how fast our little babies will grow up to be great sleepers. The best approach with this book is patience, because there are very few overnight solutions. But add all the little suggestions, some that work immediately and others that take a little longer, and you’ll find yourself becoming a better parent. I used a variation of the “Pantley nipple removal” method with great success.
The Baby Whisperer – Tracy Hogg
This woman is amazing! She’s tough with a schedule though, and that’s the only part I don’t really like. I believe you have to feed a baby on demand and not follow a schedule so rigorously. It’s good to have an idea of when a baby should be fed, and when they should sleep, to have some basic structure for your baby to feel comfort in a routine, but you have to use your common sense too. There will be days when your baby is extra hungry or tired. Apart from her schedules, she has great insight on babies. This book looks at all the typical problems and helps you analyze the situation (by asking the right questions). She doesn’t believe in letting a baby “cry it out” and her methods to teach a baby to fall asleep on their own are simple and effective. I used a variation of her idea (the pick-up and put-down) and it worked like a charm!
– Dr. Polly Moore
Mother, pediatrician and sleep researcher, Dr. Moore knows many facets to baby sleep. She bases her method on one study that makes a big difference in baby’s quality of sleep: the Basic Rest and Activity Cycle and understanding the ultradian rhythm.
Just as the circadian rhythm includes a day and night cycle, with the sleep period at night, the ultradian rhythm defines the many periods of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the entire day. The ultradian rhythm is 90-minutes long. Basically, as soon as your baby wakes up, count 90 minutes and you’ll start noticing signs of sleepiness again. Quick, it’s time for a nap! As the baby grows older, 90 minutes extend to 180 minutes (3 hours), and then later to 4.5 hours.
I tried this with my baby early on and getting him to take naps were a breeze. Because I was able to count on his tired cues to happen 90 minutes after he woke up, I could almost always get him to nap again without a fuss. And good naps equals better nights.
Here’s an interview where she explains the method in a nutshell.
The Baby Book – Dr. William Sears
An essential book to own, and not just for the sleep section. Dr. Sears is the guru in Attachment Parenting and a man after my heart, because he places great importance in dad’s involvement. Baby-wearing along with co-sleeping are the cornerstone to his way of parenting. He’s non-judgmental on getting baby in a crib, but he does not advocate letting a baby cry-it-out. His suggestions are helpful and very comforting to parent and child. Think baby zen, and that’s the Sears method.
Sleep Solutions – Ann Douglas
Part of the “Mother of All” book series, Ann Douglas covers all the bases. Thanks to this book, I was fully prepared to accept sleep deprivation as part of life for the first few months. She goes through all the basics to help your baby fall asleep, sprinkled with quotes and advice from many moms, and backed up with studies and studies and more studies. This book covers it all from A to Z and lets you decide which way to go.
Bed Timing – Marc Lewis and Isabela Granic
The authors take a very interesting approach to “sleep training”, which makes a lot of sense. They contend that the most important factor (after consistency) for sleep training success is about the baby’s developmental stage. The most obvious example: if the baby is going through separation anxiety, it’s the wrong time to start a sleep plan. Chances are it will fail miserably. It’s an interesting read also because it helps you understand the different psychological and physical milestones of your baby. This insight may help in many ways aside from sleep issues. At the end of the book, they list and explain several different sleep training methods.
Quite possibly the worst book I ever read on baby sleep. My husband saw the title and thought this might be the miracle we needed. After reading a couple of chapters, I knew we got ripped off. The author’s nickname is “Sergeant Shari”. I think her methods range from dangerous to ridiculous. Dangerous because she encourages a strict feeding schedule, instead of feeding a baby on demand (which is so important for a newborn). Ridiculous because one of her suggestions is to enter a convenience store with loud music so the bass rhythm can lull your baby to sleep. If your baby sleeps after that, it’s out of self-defence. I’m not even including the Amazon link to this review, because I don’t want anyone buying her book.