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on February 21, 2012
As a physician who treats postpartum mothers and a mother of two, I have read every sleep book out there. I listen to exhausted, and often suffering, mothers struggle to strike a balance between feeling physically and emotionally available to their babies and caring for themselves. I believe that, whether you choose to nurse your baby at every peep or facilitate self-soothing, you are actively teaching your baby in both instances. There are only parent-led approaches, despite what many would have you believe about distinctions between parent vs baby-led. In this guide (and through private consultation with the author), you learn to appreciate the opportunity for your baby to sleep soundly, restfully, and without imposition from the parent.
We went from having a crying, frustrated, exhausted baby who seemingly required hair dryers, bouncing, and an extended middle of the night ritual to one who slept 12.5 hours with less crying on the first night of training than she had done when we were at her every beck and call. We learned to understand the nuances of her vocalizations. As is stated in the book, if your child resisted being buckled in a car seat, would you acquiesce? After one night of seeing that my daughter could and would sleep 12.5 hours, I felt amazed that we had been colluding in her sleep deprivation. I marvel at how they divined such an effective and replicable method.
Absolutely, a must read for every parent of a 3+ month old looking for a structured approach to allowing their children to sleep.
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on February 20, 2012
This book and the authors' methods are very effective. I read a number of books on infant sleep and I found this book the most user-friendly and helpful. Using the methods and schedules outlined in the book, I was able to get my 3.5 month old son sleeping 12 hours a night and on a regular nap schedule within less than a week of starting sleep teaching. I am a breastfeeding mom and following the tips and the schedules in this book did not affect my ability to breastfeed nor my son's milk intake. On the contrary, his appetite has remained quite robust. At eight months, my son is still sleeping through the night and thriving. I've often turned back to this book for advice when dealing with sleep disrupting events (shots, sickness, travel) and the advice has been spot-on every time. Knowing that once I put my son to sleep at night, I won't hear from him until morning is a great feeling. I know he's getting the rest he needs and lets a working mom like me get some uninterrupted shut-eye. I highly recommend this book.
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VINE VOICEon January 11, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I just finished reading this book, and I have to say that I am very surprised at the negative reviews it has received thus far. I found this book to be very well-written, well-thought-out, well-organized and informative, and their method of sleep-teaching for the most part makes a lot of sense to me. It is very easy to read, has enough science in it to back up their methods but isn't dry and boring to read at all. It must be noted that only one-third of the book is focused on the specifics of the authors' particular sleep-teaching method, while the other two-thirds of the book is chock-full of helpful information, ideas and suggestions for prepping baby for sleep-teaching of any method.

I appreciate that the authors worked with a whole panel of professionals (including a pediatrician, a neurologist, a psychologist, a lactation consultant who is also an RN and holds a master's degree in maternal child health nursing AND has over 30 years of experience, a behavior analyst, and a nurse practitioner) on the development of their method and the writing of their book.

To read my review in the right context, you must know that I am a stay-at-home mom of two kids; I don't like to let my baby cry for long periods of time but am fine with some crying and don't feel that I am a bad parent if I allow my daughter to cry it out a little bit. I exclusively breastfeed my baby and love to hold and cuddle her a LOT, and we sometimes co-sleep. So I am somewhere in the middle of the cry-it-out versus attachment parenting spectrum. :)

Some things I liked about this book:

-I loved the emphasis on seeing sleep as a 24-hour process: they discuss at length how the activities of an entire day can affect a baby's sleep, including naps, feedings, parenting consistency, etc.

-I found the information on sleep associations to be super informative and it totally makes sense to me - replacing baby's "negative sleep associations" or "sleep crutches" (or things they do NOT have control over, such as being rocked to sleep, nursed to sleep, etc.) with "positive sleep associations" (or things they DO have control over, such as sucking their thumb to self-soothe) will help baby to become an independent sleeper. (I must say, though, that I don't like the term "negative" sleep association for things that to me are nurturing.)

-I loved the emphasis on PREPARING baby, the whole family, and the sleeping environment BEFORE you begin sleep teaching. This includes things such as getting baby on a good daytime feeding schedule (spaced out enough but enough feedings to get all the sustenance they need to sleep well at night), clearing with your baby's pediatrician if baby is able to go all night without a feeding, making the sleep environment dark, etc.

-I LOVED and very much appreciated the chapter on feeding. I think it makes a lot of sense to feed baby after they wake up, rather than right before sleeping. I especially appreciated the section on how and when to transition baby from breastmilk/formula to solids to the same things mom and dad are eating.

-The discussion on recognizing types of cries was excellent - they discuss listening for highs and lows and pauses in the crying to know if baby really has a problem or if they are just frustrated and trying to fall asleep on their own. They often refer to it as "controlled crying" and mention a couple of times not to let baby cry for more than an hour at once. I loved the part that talked about allowing your child a few moments to cry and try and fix things on their own, and how this is not neglecting them but being a "thoughtful parent."

-I think their idea of a "wake-up party" is smart, in that it distinguishes the daytime (light, fun, play, stimulation, social activities) from the nighttime (dark, boring, no stimulation, quiet, sleep).

-It makes total sense to me to put baby down WHILE STILL AWAKE. I already do this with my baby and she cries a bit, then sucks her thumb and falls asleep on her own.

A few things I did NOT like about this book:

-I thought the white noise machine that they recommend over and over, and refer to as a "positive sleep association" seems more like a crutch to me (especially when reading testimonials of parents who take their white noise machine wherever they go so baby can sleep - what a hassle!).

-While their overall method makes a lot of sense to me, I am still not a fan of the longer periods of crying (although they never really specifically say to let your child cry and cry and cry for a long period of time - but to do crib checks as often as you need to to make sure everything is fine).

-While part of me LOVES the idea of their schedule (for sleeping, eating, etc.) I do wonder about messing up baby's natural sleep rhythms, and I would never want to wake a sleeping baby just because it is the scheduled "wake-up time." Some things to think about! (In fact, along with this book I'd highly recommend reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, which addresses some of these issues and is VERY thorough and helpful).

-I do wonder if my 5 1/2 month old baby still needs one nighttime feeding - so I have my concerns with taking out all of them for sleep teaching (however, I note that they specifically say to talk with your baby's pediatrician and discuss this BEFORE beginning sleep teaching - which I appreciate!).

Overall, I thought this was an EXCELLENT book, a wonderful resource for any thoughtful parent who has their baby's health and happiness in their best interest. This book is all about consistency in parenting, and if you get nothing else out of it then I think it is still a wonderful read. If nothing else, I will be more aware of my baby's "sleep crutches" and will aim to get rid of them, so my baby will become a better sleeper and more "empowered, confident, relaxed, and happy."
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on May 20, 2013
Parents must make their own decisions based on what they know about their own children as to how they want to handle the sleep issue (and many others). For us, this book provided excellent advice. I know many parents who used the authors as sleep consultants with really good results so we decided to try the book first. I should add that he is breastfed/pump bottle fed (no formula).

The first two nights were very hard for us- yes, there is crying it out in this method, but within 3-4 days, our son was sleeping 12 hours at night (instead of waking up 2-3 times) and taking good naps. It took about 2 weeks for the 5 minutes of crying at nap time to stop. But we now have a great routine and by the time we get to the bedroom, he knows it is bedtime and if I take too long to say goodnight will just grab his crib and insist on being put in it. When I put him down, he just rolls over, gets comfortable and goes to sleep.

Once he started sleeping better, he became a much less fussy baby during the daytime and his learning seemed to speed up a bit. He is now very happy with sleeping when it is sleep time. And we are much much much happier that we can sleep.

We did this around 6 months, and he seemed to figure out what was going on pretty quickly - we felt that he understood a lot of what we were saying and that explaining it helped. It also helped to get a "bedtime" book that has toys going to sleep so he knows what is coming. He seems happy to have routine and know what is coming next. It's amazing what a trigger the bedtime book is for yawning.

I understand this is not right for all parents. But for us, we wanted to trust our son to learn how to do this on his own and he did. This book makes no bones about the fact that letting your baby cry is part of this method - so the ratings that judge based on the crying part - to me that is the same as rating a vegan cookbook poorly because it doesn't have any meat recipes.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Conner Herman and Kira Ryan, <strong>The Dream Sleeper: A Three-Part Plan for Getting Your Baby to Love Sleep</strong> (Jossey-Bass, 2012)

Full disclosure: this book was provided to me free of charge by Amazon Vine.

I don't want to say this book has talismanic properties, but I will mention that the baby, who was just shy of three months old at the time, began sleeping through the night the day the book arrived in the mail, days before I began reading it. Coincidence? Most likely. But still, desperation will drive people to absurd lengths. And as I'm on my second trip through having an infant, I can attest that there are few quotidian things that can drive a parent to desperation with the speed and efficiency of a baby who won't sleep through the night. (My older child is now sixteen. She still doesn't sleep through the night, but she can at least amuse herself.)

As the authors of the book tell you, there are basically two camps (though like any problem approached with almost religious fervor, there are any number of variations on the basic themes) when it comes to trying to teach your kid to sleep through the night: there's the cry-it-out camp, and there's the crying-is-bad camp. The authors are up front about being of the former denomination. (One thinks that perhaps they could have saved themselves some bad reviews by noting this information somewhere in the jacket copy; I can personally attest to being unaware this was a cry-it-out book, and a few of the reviews I skimmed when I was about to start reading it also mentioned this particular lack.) The simple, and somewhat flip, answer is this: if you are of the cry-it-out camp, grab a copy of this at the library and see if there's sufficient new info for you to want to add it to your permanent library; after all, it is far from the first cry-it-out book out there. If you're not, avoid it like the plague, for you will find the information contained herein anything from counterproductive to your style of parenting to flat-out offensive (the latter is conjecture based on one particularly scathing review...). All of this being a long-winded way of saying that this review is going to be somewhat cavalier in ignoring the crying-is-bad folks from here on out, because the book is obviously aimed in a different direction. The rest of you lot can stop reading now and safely avoid this book.

As for the rest of you: while I was obviously joking in the opening paragraph about the book having magical properties, I wasn't joking about the fact that the baby DID start sleeping through the night the day the book arrived, and so I haven't actually had the chance to put any of this to the test yet. (Also, the kid is not quite four months old yet, so I haven't actually gotten to the point where I COULD, as of the writing of this review.) Even more damning to anything I would have to say about this, I come from a mixed marriage: my wife is of the crying-is-bad camp. This is my second kid, her first, and when I had my first kid, I was of the crying-is-bad camp too, so I get that. I also know my wife well enough to know that Herman and Ryan's advice for dealing with mixed marriages would be a dead issue (and even if it weren't, her, shall we say, more strong-willed relatives would not react in ways predicted by the "here's how you get the relatives on board" sections) in my household. So I can sit here and spout theory all day, but at no point will I ever be able to give you practice. So I'm not even going to try and go down that path. Instead, I'll tell you it's quite a well-written book, with all the attractive qualities of a good how-to guide: it's well-organized, doesn't mind taking a detour every once in a while for interesting-if-not-entirely relevant info (note: I do know that's a matter of personal taste and drives some folks up the wall, so be aware), and communicates the basic tenets of its system in simple, easy-to-understand language that the average sleep-deprived parent will have no trouble at all digesting.

On the other hand, the fallout of the religious-fervor debates is to be found everywhere here, most notably in the not-so-subtle manipulation that sounds more like an ideological sales pitch than inspirational writing. I can't remember all the testimonials with perfect clarity, but all of those I remember were of the sales-pitch variety. Folks, you're preaching to the choir, and if you're not, you're going to change as many people's minds on crying as you would proselytizing the virtues of steak tartare at a PETA convention. After a while, it gets tiring.

So, given all that, a summation: by no means a perfect book, with the codicil that it's not possible to write a perfect book (in the sense of one-size-fits-all) for this topic. But for those who will find it of use, it is clear, well-organized, and thoughtful. ***
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on February 19, 2012
We were fortunate to have Conner and Kira from Dream Team Baby consult us when we were desperate for sleep with our eight month-old first son, William, nearly five years ago. Their disciplined, yet loving approach really appealed to our sensibilities and we were so grateful to have a plan to get our family on track. We put their daytime eating and napping schedule into place first - it was very straightforward and William took to it easily. We approached the first night of sleep teaching with some apprehension, but took their advice to support each other and believe in our baby ... and it worked in just one night! William went from waking two-three times per night to sleeping 12 hours straight overnight. It felt like a miracle. And we felt like new people. And sweet, happy William was even happier than he'd ever been because he was getting enough sleep and being taken care of by parents who were getting enough sleep!

When our second son, Jackson, was born last year, we promised ourselves we wouldn't wait eight months to sleep again this time around. We followed this book's plan practically to the letter and had a four month-old sleeping 12 hours every night. Of course teething, stuffy noses, and milestones do put a wrinkle in our sleep on a regular basis (as with every nine month-old), so of course we give extra love and late-night snuggles for our little guy when he needs it, but once he's feeling better, he now puts himself back on his schedule. It's amazing.

And don't get me started about how incredibly both boys sleep while we're traveling ... The white noise machine is my favorite gift for new parents - and now this book will be accompanying it! I'm giving the combo as a shower gift this coming weekend ...

This method gave us the confidence we needed to know that we were making the right choice for our children to help them learn to sleep well at an early age. They love sleep and are happy, well-behaved, fun little dudes because of it. Helping them learn to sleep was a gift for our whole family!
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on February 18, 2012
As a NYC couples therapist [...], I have seen many a relationship deteriorating due to a lack of sleep. Conner Herman and Kira Ryan have provided parents with a clear, intelligent, and very personalized guide for teaching your baby to sleep. Becoming a new parent is stressful enough!! Teaching your baby to sleep will help you to not only enjoy your baby more, but will also provide you with the time and energy needed to nurture your relationship with your partner.
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on February 17, 2012
We welcomed our fourth baby a little under a year ago. You would think by Baby #4 we would have the sleep thing down. But every parent makes their own mistakes, and every child presents different issues. With each child I had questions - how long should they sleep for at night? when can I expect them to sleep through the night? what should their nap schedule look like at 3 months? at five months? at 9 months? how do i decide when to break the 3 AM breastfeeding pattern we're on? We all love our children deeply and want to do what's best for them. This book was invaluable in helping me make healthy decisions about helping my son sleep, and by proxy, helping ME sleep. It helped me establish a nap schedule, and gave me confidence when I made decisions about when to start letting him cry through his middle of the night wake-ups. We all need a little support, and this book provides ample advice, heartfelt guidance, and trustworthy research to help us make choices we need to for our kids. It's easy to read, and contains great quick-reference pages. I was so glad I had it while I was bringing #4 through his first year. We all slept better as a result.
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on February 23, 2012
This method works! These authors own a sleep consulting business in NYC and have helped thousand of families. They have a team of specialists that include a peditrician and a lactation consultant. It is malarkey that this method is dangerous to breastfeeding families. This is not a traditional CIO method. There is some crying, but after you have removed all encumberances to sleep. We hired a Dream Team Baby consulant (the book had not come out yet) 18 months ago. We were at our rope's end and extremely sleep deprived. Our then 8 month old twins were waking up a combined total of 10 times per night! After two days of sleep training using the Dream Team Baby method, our twins were sleeping for 11-12 hours a night and two 1-2 hour naps a day! Our babies did cry for 23 and 24 mins respectively the first night, but then they put themselves to sleep and slept the whole night through (and napped the next day with no problems!) What a blessing this has been to our family. My wife and I ordered this book for a ready reference.
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VINE VOICEon July 6, 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
After my first child's inability to sleep through the night until she was 18 months, I was looking for anything that might teach me what I did wrong before our second was born. This book's main point is that if you start sleep teaching at the right time (about 4 months), are consistent with the schedule, and allow your child to learn to self-soothe, you will all sleep through the night a lot faster.

Some other good tips in the book include buying blackout curtains to keep the room dark, and making sure your baby learns that the crib is for sleeping, not play time. I also enjoyed the parent testimonials spread throughout the book (though of course they all referred to the methods taught in glowing terms--I imagine if there were any dissenting comments they didn't make the book!).

With the above knowledge, I anxiously awaited the arrival of my son. He arrived, we brought him home, and by the fifth week he was sleeping through the night! Never even got a chance to try what was in here, but seems credible and well written.
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