Customer Reviews: The Complete Sleep Guide for Contented Babies & Toddlers
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on January 29, 2008
This is an excellent book to help you with any sleep issues your baby/toddler is having. There is common sense step by step guides to multiple sleep situations, and sensible case studies that one can easily relate too and follow the advice for their own situation. My baby is 7 months and happily sleeps from 6.45pm to when I wake her at 7.30ish the next morning. Based on Gina's advice, my husband and I have our evenings together, and a happy contented baby during the day. Perfect! This book helped iron out the kinks in our schedule and I am sure it will be a handy reference guide for the future if any other sleep situations arise.
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on December 15, 2009
Overall the book is worth reading. Gina Ford can be a little harsh/strict in her practices. The lesson to take away from this book is the need for a schedule/routine.
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on January 1, 2016
Haven't tried any of the methods yet, but I don't care for the three feedings schedule. Our daughter is on the small side and still needs to nurse 8 times a day. I don't care about her waking up to eat at night, I just want her to fall asleep earlier so we'll see if any of the routines work.
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on April 10, 2016

Cry It Out: You read so much about it on the internet, you’d think it’s a thing.

Is it?

Cry it Out IS a Thing. Sort of.

Every day, on internet forums, there will be dozens of discussions of “CIO”, as it’s referred to. Almost without exception, CIO is help up as a sinister element that lurks out there in the world. I’m almost tempted to read CIA.

Sometimes I wish I could send a group message to the tens of thousands of mothers (and fathers): STOP IT!

But then I have to stop myself and think: Thousands of mothers on the internet refer to CIO, so whether I like it or not, Cry It Out exists. Sort of.

Cry It Out did exist. Once upon a time. 1894, to be exact, with the publication of “The Care and Feeding of Children” by Luther Emmett Holt. Here is what Holt had to say on the subject, in its entirety:

How is an infant to be managed that cries from temper, habit, or to be indulged?

It should simply be allowed to “cry it out.” This often requires an hour, and in extreme cases, two or three hours. A second struggle will seldom last more than ten or fifteen minutes, and a third will rarely be necessary. Such discipline is not to be carried out unless one is sure as to the cause of the habitual crying.

Note that Holt places the expression in quotation marks. This suggests to me that the phrase had some currency in the late 19th century. Perhaps CIO was the preferred method? But now read closely: Holt recommended CIO only in the case of an infant who already has a sleep problem that was the result of what we’d call today a bad “sleep association“. I’m speculating as to the meaning of “temper”.

Okay, so this is now the 21st century. Does any modern sleep expert recommend Cry It Out as a sleep training method? Again the answer is ‘No. Sort of.”cry it out

Meet Gina Ford
Gina Ford, the author of over 30 parenting books, is a Scottish-born former maternity nurse. In 1999, she published “The Contented Little Baby Book“. The major distinguishing feature of “CLB”, as it became known, was Ford’s recommendation of strict scheduling, down to chunks of five minutes. Despite scathing criticism, CLB has become a best seller. The closest Ford comes to recommending Cry It Out is her reference to something called “crying down”.

Prior to reading Ford, I was unaware of the expression crying down as a troubleshooting method. Perhaps it’s a Scottish phenomenon. I can’t be sure. Here’s what Ford has to say about “crying down”:

Crying down can be particularly helpful when feeding problems have been resolved and a baby or toddler has only mild sleep association problems or has difficulty falling asleep because he is over-tired or over-stimulated… Reassurance must be kept to a maximum of one to two minutes. Parents should then wait a further 10– 15 minutes before returning. For this technique to work it is essential that the baby is not picked up and that he is allowed to settle by himself in his cot… Provided a baby has been well fed and is ready to sleep, I believe he should be allowed to settle himself. [Crying down] works not only for over-tired babies but also for babies who fight sleep…It is my belief that, in the long-term, allowing your baby to develop the wrong sleep associations and therefore denying him the sound night’s sleep he needs in order to develop both mentally and physically is a worse option than hearing him cry for a short while. Allowing your baby to learn to go to sleep unassisted is your aim, and it is important to remember that this will prevent much greater upset and more crying if waking in the night is due to your baby not knowing how to go back to sleep after having woken in light sleep (emphasis added).

I’ve quoted Ford at some length because I wanted to highlight three things. First, Ford’s similarities to Holt’s advice (already cited) emphasizing that crying to sleep might be necessary only for a baby with a bad sleep association or who was overstimulated (I regard “over-tiredness” and overstimulation as the same thing). Second, Ford emphasizes that neither a hungry baby, nor a baby who is not tired, should be put down to sleep. Finally, Ford places herself firmly in favor of good sleep associations, over most other considerations.cry it out

So is there really such a thing as “Cry It Out”?
Gina Ford tells us, correctly in my view, that crying down should not be necessary in the first place. Ford identifies the “need” crying down as bad sleep associations and allowing a baby to become overstimulated. She believes both could be avoided if the baby were put on a schedule from the get-go. Ford truly does not want your baby to cry to sleep. I don’t believe anyone want this, including Luther Emmett Holt.

In fact, if you read closely, Gina Ford is more of a “combination scheduler” than you might think at first blush. It’s true that she advocates a fairly strict schedule. But notice also that Ford insists that you make sure the baby is well fed. Notice also that she doesn’t recommend putting down a baby that isn’t tired!

Just as virtually all 21st century sleep experts, Gina Ford joins the consensus about baby sleep, if perhaps in slightly different form. Like Baby Wise, Ford might say: Provide structure, but follow the baby’s cues. Sears and Spock might say “Follow the baby’s cues, but provide structure”.

Either way we end up with a method that recognizes a broader consensus about all of human behavior. We are not just a bunch of genes (the “Nature” part of “Nature vs. Nurture”). But neither are we blank slates, requiring inscription by good parents (the “Nurture” part). We all are born with certain biological traits that are then molded and shaped by our environments. And for virtually all babies ever born, the first and most important “environmental factor” is mom.
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on June 7, 2016
We have 5 month old twins and were ragged from feeding them every few hours around the clock until a mom suggested this book. Great advice and age appropriate schedules to train your baby to sleep thru the night. I only wish we'd discovered it sooner!
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on May 2, 2013
My daughter had been a good sleeper until she turned 6 weeks. Then suddenly it's like someone flipped a switch, and she became a completely different baby. She started to refuse sleeping during the day and instead would cry constantly - sometimes for hours. She also went from sleeping 5-6 hours at night to waking up every 2 hours. We tried everything to try and get her to nap, but nothing worked. She even started crying while eating because she was so tired. She was exhausted, and I was losing my mind. Even the doctor couldn't figure out what had happened. In desperation I started searching online for suggestions and found a message board where a mom had tried this book. I figured it couldn't hurt, so I decided to order it. I started following the routine the very next day, not holding out much hope. Within two days - two days! - my daughter was back to the easygoing baby she had been. The first day was rough as she had to transition to a new schedule, but the next day was easier and by day 3, she was completely different. She's now napping well during the day and sleeping 7-8 hours straight at night (she's two months). She's also falling to sleep without tears and puts herself back to sleep when she wakes up. We don't follow the schedule to the minute because that's almost impossible, but using it as a guideline has made all the difference in the world.

Something that I like about this book over other baby guides are the age appropriate schedules the author spells out for both sleeping and feeding. No other book I had read had been that specific, and leaving it up to me to figure out wasn't working well at all. The author also talks about the impact over-feeding can have on a baby - an issue I think my little one was having. One word of warning, though, is that you may find this book hard to use if you're not comfortable letting your baby cry herself to sleep. The schedules and guidelines would still be helpful though. For anyone struggling with baby sleep issues, I highly recommend giving it a try.
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on December 7, 2014
I didn't notice much more information than what was in her other book, The Contented Baby. Was a little disappointed.
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on May 20, 2014
i found out that book very helpful - especially for new born children till 6-8 months old. i recommend strongly.
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on April 29, 2009
All my sisters recommended this book and at first I was skeptical....but as a brand new Mum all I can say is works and don't hesitate. I followed the schedule and my baby girl was sleeping through the night within on week. (At 2 months of age). I am all for "demand feeding" at newborn age (the first 2 months) but beyond that I needed to get baby into a routine and encourage longer sleep patterns. The advice in this book was useful, straightforward and had lots of good examples/case studies to learn from. My baby is now 5 months old and sleeps from 7pm to 6am every is heaven!
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on November 15, 2012
Gina Ford is my idol. I am a new mum with an almost 6mth old baby. i was absolutely 100% clueless about having a baby and I can tell you that after implementing Gina's routine, my life with baby has been super easy, relaxing, predictable with a happy, healthy baby who sleeps through the night.

We have followed Gina's advice pretty much with my baby was around 4 weeks (or 10lbs) and my baby started sleeping 8 hours straight around 6 weeks! Her schedule simply works. As a result of getting it right from the start, we have not even hard to resort to any kidn of sleep training, controlled crying or any of those undesirable methods of making baby sleep. Gina talks about those methods as well in her books (which personally am not a fan of)however her schedule is simply a godsent. My husband and I cannot believe how easy it has been for us and I know for a fact that its Gina's schedule and tips that is ensuring out baby stays calm and happy. I have almost never had to wake up in the early am after 4 weeks (baby sleeps till 730am) and the one or two times i woke up was because I deviated from Gina's schedule. In the beginning it will take some work to in getting the schedule implemented however it is so worth it because once the baby is familiar with the routine, its prety much like clockwork.

So my advice to all new mums particularly working mothers such as myself is do yourself a big big favor and buy this book. Try to gently implement the schedule from 4 weeks or when baby reaches roughly 12lbs. When baby is newborn, do try to adopt the good habits like keep night feedings quiet and also to have a consistent bathtime routine early on. This will help immensely in NOT needing to sleep train your baby later on.

I believe so much in Gina that I now bought almost all of her books. The latest being The Contented Book of Weaning as my baby will start solids soon. I fully intend to follow Gina's plan to a tee. I believe she is the only person who really knows a thing about babies. Yes true she is neither a mum nor a doctor (for those who believe the completely unfair critism about her) - just a very talented maternity nurse with significant experiece caring for hundreds and hundreds of babies. I have read quite a few other books and some of them have been downright detrimental in helping baby learn how to sleep the right way over time. Another data point which further gives me confidence that her method is superior to any other is that her babies are not only happy with happy parents but that the babies are all in the top percentile. Makes sense as they are not only well fed, but they spend all their time growing and sleeping well as opposed to being fussy and wasting energy crying all the time.

Bottom line is that all my friends with newborns who are not on Gina's routine are scrambling, sleep deprived and just exasperated whilst my husband and i have our nights off every single night and I don't have to get up until 7am every single day (give me a half hour to get ready before baby wakes at 730am).
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