on October 1, 2002
OK, I admit it. I bought all of them. Here's how they compare:
Ferber: Advocates crying to sleep with parent soothing on a time schedule. Put your baby in the crib. Come back to pat and say soothing words at 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, etc. Increase the times every night. Hopefully your baby will stop crying and go to sleep. Lots of scientific discussion about sleep.
Weissbluth: Advocates crying to sleep without parent soothing. Open-ended time - no limit. You are "leaving him alone to forget the expectation to be picked up." Has a section on children over 7 years old.
Mindell: Advocates crying to sleep with parent soothing, on a schedule similar to Ferber but with more frequent checks on the baby.
Pantley: Advocates using gentle techniques to avoid crying. Focus on understanding why baby is waking and fixing problems with routines, new associations, and gradual changes in patterns. Supportive of breastfeeding and co-sleeping as well as crib sleeping and bottle feeding.
on July 2, 2007
First off, this is a great book, and has some really great suggestions for parents that don't want to let their baby cry it out (I guess if you are reading this, that is you too).
There is really a couple of key concepts here - how to reduce the length of nighttime feedings, and how to reduce the frequency. We, like most parents, nursed (I say we, I obviously mean my wife) our baby when he woke up crying, and he nursed back to sleep.
Eventually the little bloke kept waking up every 1.5 hours, mainly just to nurse. Plantley's solution for reducing the time it takes to nurse at night worked really well, and we were able to reduce the amount of time it took to nurse him back to sleep considerably.
However, her next key routine didn't work for us at all - how to sooth him, and put him down slightly awake.. You are meant to pick him up, sooth him, and put him down drowsy. If he starts crying, pick him up, and do it all over again. In her book she states "you might need to do this five times, but that is OK, really". Well, 1 hour later, and he still wasn't going back to sleep. I must have done this at least 50 times. As soon as he hit the crib he would startle, and start crying and fussing.
Our baby is now pretty much sleeping through the night though! And I wanted to share what we learnt, and did.
1) feeding solid food (baby food). Our baby is six months, and we started giving him baby food morning and night. I know that every sleep book says that giving solids makes no difference, but I also know that every parent will tell you otherwise. A full baby is a baby that sleeps better.
2) Stopping nursing at night, and finding another way to sooth him. This was key for us. Instead of my wife nursing our son, I would go in, pick him up, and rock him back to sleep. The sooner I got in there, the easier it was. The first couple of nights, I might be rocking him for 5 minutes each time, and then I would put him back in his crib, asleep for the most part. If he stired a bit when I put him down, I would rub his head, and gently hold his legs (if he starts kicking, he completely wakes up).
After only two nights it would take less than a minute to get him back to sleep by rocking and bouncing. Much better than a 20 minute feed all the time! He was also waking up much less, most likely because he was now understanding that he would be nursed at night.
Now, after only 4 days, I just have to go in there, rub his head (with him still in his crib), and he goes right back to sleep. On average I might do that once, maybe twice a night now! A long way from having to nurse him every hour.
3) Some kind of bedtime routine does help. We found that a mellow stroller ride helped calm him down, then a bath, then bed.
Some of this we obviously got from her book - she suggests a bedtime routine, and that does help for sure. She also suggests ways to cut our nursing as well. The one thing we have never been able to do however is put him down drowsy but not asleep. This routine above however is teaching him to go back to sleep on his own.
on January 27, 2005
At 3 months, my son was sleeping 7pm-4am, waking up to feed, then back down until 7-8am. Then the holidays hit, and everything fell apart. Suddenly he was waking up no less than 12-15 times between 10pm-6am. After 10 days of getting less than 4 hours of (interrupted) sleep each night, my husband and I determined we needed to take action to help the poor kid get back on track. We bought three books - Ferber, "Healthy Sleep Habits" and this one.
Of course we wanted to follow the no-cry solution. Who wants to put their child (and themselves) through the misery of cry it out? I truly believed that cry it out was the wrong thing to do and was positive this plan would work. My husband and I committed to the program and agreed we'd follow it "as long as it takes."
It took all of our energy to read the book cover-to-cover, put together a sleep log and then lay out our sleep plan. The author instructs you to have "patience" and to celebrate even the smallest improvements. What she doesn't really acknowledge is that, when serious sleep deprivation has you at each others' throats, weeping hysterically at the drop of a hat and feeling resentful towards your poor innocent baby, "patience" is something nearly impossible to come by.
After 4 weeks of working with our sleep plan - following the guidelines 'round-the-clock - our son was still waking up 6-8 times a night and napping poorly during the day. This was an improvement over waking a dozen times a night, but still he had huge dark circles under his eyes, startled easily, cried at nothing. He was miserable. We all were.
Despite the 300 other reviews here that say basically "if you really love your baby, you won't let him cry it out" ... I LOVE MY BABY. And we finally decided to let him cry it out. And now? Now I have a happy, well-rested baby. And we have our sanity back.
This book has some good ideas. I'm sure that if my son were waking up only 2-4 times a night, I would have been able to stick with the plan as long as necessary to make it work. But when my child was waking up every 45-60 minutes all night long, night after night, I finally decided that - for our entire family's sake - we required a more radical, doctor-approved intervention.
My point in writing this review is not to defend my actions. It's to offer a different viewpoint amongst the crowd and to bear witness for other exhausted parents ... if this doesn't work for you, YOU ARE NOT A BAD OR SELFISH PARENT. Choose the method that fits your situation and follow it to the letter. And congratulations for wanting to help your baby get the restorative sleep he or she desperately needs.
on November 3, 2002
Ask any parent what the biggest challenge is in raising babies and young children, and most will say, "getting enough sleep." The most common question of new parents is, "is he or she a good baby," which actually means, "is he or she sleeping well?" As the mother of some very good children, who were not good sleepers, I can certainly vouch for the pain of sleeplessness and the frustration of the equation of 'good' with 'sleep.' With my first child, I sought help wherever it was offered, and visited two separate sleep clinics, specialists, took a wide range of advice offered by other parents and read every book on the subject I could find. They were all united in their advice - the only thing which works is to let your child "cry it out." There were a wide variety of techniques for doing this - with differing intervals between comfort sessions ranging from letting them cry all night to going into to pat or talk to your child every few minutes, slowly increasing the interval, but they all amounted to allowing your child to cry. In my desperation I tried "controlled crying" as it was commonly called, and partly because neither my husband nor I had the stomach for it, and partly because my son was rather stubborn, it didn't work at all for me. In fact it made things considerably worse. The only thing which did work was a lot of reassurance (to undo the damage of my aborted experiments) and time, since my now 5 year old son is sleeping through the night almost every night, and even puts himself to bed.
I didn't know about Elizabeth Pantley. Her book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution is the only book I've come across which doesn't advocate crying as a solution to sleep problems, and which still provides a set of potential and practical attachment based solutions to help ease your child into better sleeping patterns. Most of the ideas are based on both Pantley's considerable experience as a parent, a lot of research and testing with other parents, and a hefty dose of common sense. None of her ideas are meant to work overnight (and believe me, neither does 'crying') - they are long term and permanent solutions with enough flexibility to handle things like illness, teething and vaccination. None of the suggestions offered in this book will traumatise you or your child, and if you are consistent and persistent, your chances of success are high.
The book has chapters on safety, including SIDs precautions, general sleeping precautions, precautions for cradles and ribs and for co-sleeping. There are chapters containing basic sleep facts, creating sleep logs and working out your own particular patterns of sleeplessness, along with a range of suggested solutions for newborns and older babies. The solutions chapter is the heart of the book, offering a range of different techniques such as ensuring that you put your baby to sleep, sleepy but not sleeping, in his or her own bed (sounds obvious but I suspect this was the heart of my problem, since my children both fell asleep at the breast, in their slings, against me and in my bed most of the time). Other ideas include learning to understand the difference between sleep noises and cries, helping your children distinguish day from night, having appropriate naps, increasing bedtime comfort and most importantly, having realistic expectations.
For older children, solutions include feeding more during the day, sticking to really clear, predictable routine, establishing an early bedtime and perhaps most importantly, techniques for helping your child learn how to fall asleep without your help (but also without hysteria), including providing sleep cues, changing sleep associations and gradually removing your assistance. All of Pantley's ideas are reasonable and her reasoning doesn't conflict with the basis for the "crying" school - it is just a lot slower, a lot more loving and a lot more likely to succeed (since crying is so traumatic for most children that it makes them come to associate their beds with fear rather than comfort, at least that has been my experience). The key to everything in this book is to start off by observing and charting your current situation and then planning where you want to be (creating a personal sleep plan) and how you will get there. There are a range of templates and charts that you can use to make your plans, along with plenty of moral support, anecdotal evidence from Pantley's series of test mothers and personal advice on coping and improving your own sleep.
The No-Cry Sleep Solution is a wonderful book for helping your child gently and calmly learn to sleep through the night. It doesn't promise quick fixes or miracles, nor does it provide a single didactic methodology, but if, like me, you are an attachment oriented parent who doesn't want to put your child through the crying ordeal (or who has tried and failed), you will rejoice at finding a range of options for improving your child's sleep. Of course the best solution of all is to do the "right" things from the start and avoid the sleep problems altogether - in this case, buy the book when pregnant (or as a fantastic gift for a pregnant friend or new parent), and make sure that you create the right associations and patterns from the start.
on October 30, 2003
As a mom of three, including a very high needs infant and then twins, I know sleep deprivation! As a Childbirth Educator and Doula, I have a fairly extensive knowledge of typical infant sleep cycles and behavior. But as any sleep deprived parent can attest, you can be so overwhelmed, exhausted, and desperate for sleep that you are tempted to try anything and need some support and guidance. The two most common suggestions parents are given are to let the baby "cry it out" or to "just deal with it and know this too will eventually pass", neither of which validates the feelings of these desperate parents or gives them practical ideas for trying to meet both their needs and those of their baby, and often, makes them feel worse either because they can't stand to let their baby cry nor feel they can continue to go on being exhausted and sleep deprived, they want and need help NOW.
This book is that help. I bought the No-Cry Sleep Solution when my twin son and daughter were about 9 months old. I was exclusively breastfeeding them and attachment parenting them and did not want to stop that parenting style, but was desperate for sleep. Elizabeth's book was informative, easy to read, easy to follow, and most importantly comprehensive. She does not advocate for any one method of helping babies and parents to sleep, but rather gives weary, exhausted, and overwhelmed parents useful information about what reasonable expectations for sleep are, emphasizes safety, and then gives them easy to use tools they can use to identify sleep issues and many techniques they can choose from to try to bring more sleep to everyone, regardless of sleep arrangements or feeding style! I especially like her sleep logs and analysis tools. Within a few weeks of reading her book we were all sleeping better and I was less stressed as I was able to understand the reasons behind the waking and address them without tears for me or my babies! And yes, we are now all sleeping all night!
I highly recommend this book if you are looking for ways to gently and lovingly help your baby (and yourself) learn to sleep better!
on April 7, 2002
FINALLY, a book that makes sense to sleep-deprived people! I always thought there were only three options when it came to sleeping with a baby in the house: 1) You just get lucky and have a natural-born sleeper; 2) You can let them cry it out; or 3) You can just deal with the constant night waking.
Thanks to Elizabeth Pantley, I realized there is a gentle, loving way to teach my daughter to sleep without a single tear! After a few nights of following our sleep plan, my daughter started sleeping through the night. This was accomplished without ONE single tear!!!!
Unlike in other books, there is no strict format to follow. You can adapt the ideas to fit your child and at your own pace. No more feeling guilty for not just letting her cry it out and being tired all the time. No more guilt about not following the very rigid programs in some other "sleep books."
Thanks for all the sweet dreams, Elizabeth!
on June 15, 2002
This is a very helpful book which includes some of the more useful information included in Wiesbluth and Ferber. I believe her approach can work for most parents with time and patience, though some babies may require months of committed effort.
Let me preface the rest of this review by stating up front that I personally don't think it's permanently harmful if there are some tears shed (by either Moms or babies :-) in the process of helping babies learn how to sleep through the night... That said, even though that's my perspective I loved Elizabeth Pantley's inclusive, compassionate, unjudgemental tone.
I really wish this book had been available when my first daughter was a baby. By the time she was 7 months old and still waking up every hour, I was nearly incapacitated with sleep deprivation. My husband was that one who said that things had to change and that we needed to cry it out. I begged for a few weeks to do some research and ended up reading several sleep books including both Weisbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child and Ferber's book. I thought both books were very well written and contained some excellent information about babies and sleep. Given what I had learned from these books, I put together my own sleep program that was similar to much of Pantleys except that I let my daughter do some crying when she was first put down to sleep for the night. It took about two weeks but she dropped to 2 wakings a night and started being able to nap on her own. But the best was that either my husband or I could put her to bed with a brief routine and she'd drift off to sleep with a smile on her face and wake up the same way. All in all I considered it a success, except that I just hated that two week period when she would cry when she was put down.
So when I had my second daughter I was determined to use what I had learned the first time around to avoid some of the bad habits I had practiced with my oldest and get her to sleep with no crying. Things were much better, she was a great napper, but I was still having trouble getting her to sleep without having a nipple in her mouth, and she was getting up every two hours at night. So I bought Elizabeth's Pantley's book.
As I said earlier, I wish it had been around with my first daughter. I think she culled some of the best information about sleep from some of the other books and I loved her organized approach to finding out what works best for your child. I really wanted to get to the point that we had with our eldest where we could just put her in bed and she would drift off peacefully on her own.
I faithfully followed the program for a month and I was seeing some progress. However the progress was very slow I found it challenging to work the program with a toddler who was already feeling somewhat abandoned. She has a phased approach to getting a child to sleep on their own where you comfort the baby until they are almost asleep, put them in bed, if they get upset comfort some more and repeat the cycle until they are asleep. At least with my daughter, it was taking a huge amount of time to get her down for naps and bed. Time that my toddler had to be quiet in order to not get the baby worked up. I think I could have stuck it out if I hadn't had a toddler who also needed me, but after a month I threw in the towel. I went back to letting her cry to learn how to get to sleep. The difference between this time and three years ago though was that this time it only took a fairly easy three nights. I think the difference was probably due to the month I had been working the Pantley method.
In conclusion, there's great information in here for everyone. If you have the time and patience, I believe the program can work. But I found it difficult to work the whole program while simultaneously tending to a toddler.
Happy sleeping everyone! I wish all of you sleep deprived mommies and daddies who might be reading this sweet dreams and know that whatever you decide to do, take care of yourself, things do get better.
on October 13, 2002
And I've read them all! I have three boys; age 6, 4 1/2 and 13 months. I could never let any of them cry it out and I spent many hours worrying over whether or not I was "ruining" them by not "making them learn to sleep on their own".
This book is one of the very few (Dr. Sears books are the other ones) that helped me to feel validated in my longing to just be a mom 24 hours a day/7 days a week, not just when it was convenient for me or "time" to be. The fact that Mrs. Pantley has done some work with Dr. Sears helped me to know that "the no-cry sleep solution" book was going to be one filled with loving, gentle advice. And, boy was it ever! I really can't recommend it highly enough!
I AM a little tired, and my 13 month old is not the best sleeper, so I am trying some of the solutions in this book. I am glad, however, that I am not feeling the pressure to let my baby cry it out that I felt when I read several other books on the subject. Not many of them applaud the philosophies of co-sleeping or nursing long term. I know in my heart that co-sleeping and nursing is not a "bad habit" but society dumps that pressure on moms not to do it. This book is very encouraging for moms who DO nurse during the night and let their babies sleep with them. What a breath of fresh air!
This is the only book I have read so far that offers useful but gentle advice and gives the parent "permission" to not let their child cry it out all night.
Not only books I have read, but grandparents, other Christian friends, even my pediatrician's office staff, all seem to give me the "guilts" when I admit I am not physically able to let my kids cry it out. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. And I know that "this too shall pass" and I will miss those magical middle of the night hours when I can just breathe in his baby smells and watch him nurse in his sleep. This book also helped me to put that into perspective.
I especially loved the comparison to Mrs. Pantley's sweet son and the other baby at the ballpark. I will treasure that anecdote always because it puts into words so eloquently what I have felt in my heart when I see a "well-behaved" baby who's parents are practicing "detachment parenting" and I feel compelled to compare how our children act.
I will be reading all of Elizabeth Pantley's books to help me be a better mommy to my precious children.
on January 1, 2003
My baby was waking up many times each night, even though she was happy all day. This was about MY needs and there was absolutely NO WAY I was going to make her cry just so that I could get some sleep. I loved that this author tells you that it's OK to want sleep yourself and you are NOT selfish for wanting your baby to sleep better. I found the menu format brilliant -- not every baby is alike and those "one size fits all" answers don't work for human babies. The many different ideas come together to help you decide on the best plan for your own baby. And they all lead you to better sleep. I am so happy that I chose this method to help my baby sleep. No guilt over making her cry just to suit my schedule. A loving, caring, book with ideas that work.
on September 4, 2002
If I would have written this review after my first 10 days following the plan it would have been very different. This program is not a quick-fix solution to sleep. But I don't think there is such a thing. Even my friends who do the crying route take a long time to get to all-night sleep. It took 30 days for me, but my baby went from waking up every hour to breastfeed to sleeping 10 hours all night long. I am proud of myself for not giving in to the advice to let him cry to sleep. He's a happy sleeper now, and so am I. I like the format of this book. It's easy to read and follow - a big plus when you are so sleep deprived that you can hardly read a label let alone a book! Some of the other sleep books are very complicated and require too much thought. This one has a menu of ideas that are clearly explained. You can choose as many as apply to you. I am extremely happy with our results from this book. I suggest you look it over and read the excerpts to get a feel for it. I felt connected to the author, her writing style makes it seem like she really cares about you and your baby. And the solutions are practical and they really work.