Hi! I’m Lindsay. And I’m thrilled to posting on this excellent blog!
The first thing you need to know about me is that I’m Jessica’s sister’s husband’s cousin’s wife. (Got that?) Quite the claim to fame, huh? Such a claim that I don’t even think Jessica knows that.
Besides that, I’m a California girl at heart who is happily living in Colorado with the cute little family you see above. My five and three-year old rascals and my one-year old little lady make me crazy-happy, crazy-exhausted and just plain crazy. To stay somewhat sane, I run (I LOVE to run), bake cookies, eat chocolate, read anything and everything, blog and spend time with my patient, supportive, hot and just plain awesome hubby.
As I considered what to share with you all, I kept coming back to the one thing I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this past year and not nearly enough time actually doing: SLEEP.
Please note Exhibit A:
Almost all of the time, I think she’s pretty darn cute. Except when it’s 3 AM and she’s awake. And screaming. We’ve done all sorts of things to get this girl to sleep. And she’s still not having it. But, in the meantime, I’ve read a TON of baby sleep books and I thought I’d give a little review on some of my favorites. I know there are many of you moms who’s babies sleep just fine and you’ve got the whole sleep thing down. But, I’m thinking that there may be a few of you who don’t yet. (I always hope I’m not the only one!) So if you’re looking for a good baby sleep book, here’s my take on a few of them:
Sleepless in America by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
This book is one of my favorites and it’s actually even more helpful for older children than for babies (although her advice applies well to babies, too). Kurcinka writes about the idea that many children with behavioral problems don’t actually have a behavior problem, but rather a sleep problem. Life is way too busy and often parents contribute to their child’s lack of sleep by not allowing them the right conditions for sleep. Kurcinka discusses the factors that affect sleep (time, tension, temperament) and how to work with these factors to promote the best sleeping condition for your child. It gave me a lot of great insight as to how important sleep is, what affects sleep and how sleeps needs to be a priority for my children’s well being.
The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
This is a good one for parents who feel uneasy about letting their baby cry it out. (I’m one of those, although I have tried that, too!) Pantley’s approach is very gradual and very gentle. Her method is more that of sleep teaching rather than training. It involves getting your baby used to less and less parental intervention so that he no longer needs your help to sleep. This method is not quick (think weeks–or even months–rather than days) and it requires a lot of patience and endurance. But I like Pantley’s perspective and the book has a good variety of ideas on how to get your baby sleeping better.
The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program by Polly Moore, Ph.D
Dr. Moore’s book has an interesting concept: all babies follow a 90 minute wake/sleep cycle. Moore references scientific research to theorize that from birth, 90 minutes after they wake, babies are ready to sleep again. As they grow, they start to increase their wakeful periods in 90 minute increments, to 3 hours or 4 1/2 hours. If you put your baby down for sleep according to these intervals, it will be much easier for her to go to sleep and she will get all the sleep she needs. I started this with my babe when she about 9 months old and she does seem ready for sleep about 3 hours after she wakes up. One of Moore’s points that I like most is that a well-rested baby will be much easier to sleep train when the time comes for that. I plan to try her 90 minute plan whenever I have another newborn.
The Baby Sleep Book by William Sears, M.D., Robert Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N.
I have to admit, I’m a big fan of the Sears family. Their ideas are not for everyone, but I think the underlying concept behind them is important for every mom: follow your instincts! The Searses believe that moms (and dads) who are in tune with their babies will know (or learn) the best way to get their babies to sleep. This book is decidedly anti-cry it out, so you’ll have to keep that in mind if you read it. But, I think it explains well why babies sleep the way they do and it helps parents have reasonable expectations. It gives ideas on what to do in variety of situations, like if a baby wants to nurse all night. It also encourages you to consider alternative sleep arrangements so that everyone in the family can get enough sleep.
Sleeping Through the Night by Jodi A. Mindell, Ph.D
Mindell seems to be everywhere–baby websites, on TV, in parenting magazines. She definitely has practical, no-nonsense advice on getting your baby to sleep, which you’ll find in this book. Her method has been said to be a “gentler” cry it out method. Instead of just leaving the baby to cry alone forever, you go check on the baby in intervals that you decide upon. I like that, because it lets you decide what is best for your baby. Mindell stresses the idea that if your baby goes to sleep by himself, he will start sleeping through the night fairly soon. Unfortunately, this has not been the case with my girlie (she goes to sleep without anyone there, but still wakes up frequently), but I know it works for a lot of babies, and I’m hopeful that it will eventually help my baby get there.
Great Expectations: Baby Sleep Guide by Sandy Jones & Marcie Jones
This book is a good overall reference for everything related to a baby’s sleep, from research to methods to products. If you want an overview on several of the different methods out there, this book will give it to you. I like that it doesn’t really promote one idea over another, but instead just gives them all to you, with their pros and cons, and lets you decide what will work for you and your baby.
And there you have it! There are A LOT of other books out there, but I’ve chosen these because I feel that, generally, they don’t promote a “one-size-fits-all” ideology. Every baby is different and every mom is different. You decide what helps your baby (and you!) sleep the best. It’s true what they say–Mother does know best!