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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child Paperback – April 12, 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
Baby would fall asleep in my arms or in the baby carrier and as soon as I moved him to the crib, he would cry so I would pick him back up. Hubby cannot stand crying, so he was hesitant to sleep train. Now I realize that Baby will settle into the nap in the crib after a few minutes of crying. We use to rely on the swing as THE go-to go-the-f-to-sleep device, but that doesn't work now -- he loves his crib.
Baby started rolling on his stomach and would always scream if left there. Now he cries for a while but takes great naps on his tummy. I just needed the validation that these maternal instincts were correct. As my mom says, what would they have done in rural China 50 years ago? No swings, no bouncy seats, no time to coddle your baby when you have to work the field in the AM. Just put your kid on the floor (crib) and let them sleep.
This might not work for all babies, but the book does review strategies for different dispositions, and he does not judge parents who are co-sleeping or have alternative lifestyles. Weissbluth advocates putting your baby's sleep needs first but realizes that families have different needs.
I discovered this book 14 years ago when my twins were 8 weeks old and have forever been thankful that I did. I credit my children's good sleeping habits to what I learned from Dr Weissbluth. From the age of 3 months, my kids (who were 8 weeks premature) were sleeping through the night. No "sleep training" was necessary. Instead, I normalized their daytime sleep by following Dr Weissbluth's recommendations and never let my infants become over tired. Once I had this figured out, nighttime sleep followed easily and naturally.
I used to use my kids' sleeping habits as a party trick. No one would ever believe me that I could put my infants down for a nap and have them fall asleep with absolutely no fussing. I would get a huge kick out of demonstrating how they would go straight to sleep when I put them down for nap.
My kids are now teens and they have internalized the mantra that "sleep begets sleep". They protect their sleep at all costs. They've learned that they let themselves become overtired at their own risk. As when they were babies, as soon as they become overtired, they struggle to sleep.
Dr. Weissbluth very apparently knows what he is talking about and gives the reader real-world stories from parents who have used his techniques. He also sites MANY, MANY studies on sleep-training and infant sleep. It is very apparent when reading this book that the author knows his subject front and back, and is an expert.
He differentiates between daytime and night-time sleep, and the methods you use to sleep-train. I personally used the "Let Cry" (also called "extinction") method for night, although you can also use "graduated extinction". It worked just like he said it would: my baby was sleeping through the night for large chunks of time--I'm talking 10-13 hours with only one or two feedings during the night. You have to follow his directions explicitly, and this may not be for every parent, since you do have to endure your child crying. But just like he said, the first night, our kid cried off and on for about an hour; the second night, he cried for about 15 minutes, and the 3rd night he cried right when I put him in the crib and the second I closed the door, he stopped and went to sleep. I have recommended this book to several friends, and it has worked for all of them. The one thing I will mention is that you need to follow Weissbluth's directions for achieving success--primarily, you need to be CONSISTENT. One of my friend's that tried it had great success right away, but then stopped being consistent about bed time and about checking on their son, and now he is not sleeping well. My other friends are now as thrilled with it as I am.
Weissbluth recommends that you start sleep-training between about 4-6 months. I started at 6 months, but if I have another child, I may start at four months. This book is INVALUABLE and if you are consistent you will see immediate results. My son sleeps, on average, thirteen hours a night, and takes three naps a day. Weissbluth also tells you what your child's sleep looks like as they get older and he prepares you for all eventualities. For instance, my baby is 9 months and has essentially dropped his third nap now, just as I was told he would. Also, Weissbluth says that by nine months, your child shouldn't be waking at night, even for a feeding. This is assuming a good eight hour sleep, though, so I don't feel guilty when I do one feeding now, since my son is sleeping thirteen hours, as long as the feeding doesn't come before his eight hours.
All in all, a GREAT BOOK that I would highly recommend to anyone with a baby who is in dire need of some sleep. It is crammed with facts, studies and stories and some of the reading is pretty dense with information, but you won't be sorry you read it. You will feel like you are in on the biggest secret in the world, once you've read it. You'll have the keys to the kingdom.
This is the best book I have read thus far, because it really works.