Elizabeth Pantley has returned again with her newest “No-Cry” installment, this time in the form of a newborn sleep book. If you don’t know Ms. Pantley, she is the famed author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution, a book that has hit mythical proportions and is revered by those who feel our societal push to “sleep train” our infants is misguided at best. I quite like The No-Cry Sleep Solution and think her other books are excellent options for those that are looking for alternatives to what they are told that crying-it-out is just part of what you have to do. However, I’m going to say that I think I like this one more. It may be the only No-Cry book you need when it comes to sleep and it’s rare for an author to write something that for many families will make her other books obsolete.
I won’t go too much into the specific advice given in this book because that’s really for you to find out from reading it, but there are a few things that put this book as a leader for new parents (in my humble opinion). The first is the structure of the book (probably not what you expected to read). In The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns, the first part is dedicated to the very quick overview of each of her 15 key points for newborn sleep. For anyone who’s been there with a newborn, you know you have the attention span of a fruit fly and the idea of reading an entire book during the newborn period (and really taking it all in) is unlikely to happen. This summary gives you the chance to get the gist then elaborate on all (or some) of the points as needed. New, tired, and overwhelmed parents are likely to appreciate this greatly.
The second is the setting of realistic expectations about infant sleep and the focus on building attachment through responsiveness. Although all her books provide appropriate sleep expectations, people go to the books when already “in trouble” (often due to expectations, but not always) so it’s harder to set the stage. Getting families early on means you can help shape their entire approach to sleep which can minimize all kinds of “problems” down the line because the unrealistic expectations just aren’t there. In The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns, there’s not only a whole section on expectations, but Ms. Pantley does a wonderful job of peppering in comments that suggest what kinds of expectations parents should – and shouldn’t – have throughout the entire book.
However, the key element for me is that this book really helps do what I preach to families on a regular basis – set the environment to facilitate sleep instead of trying to teach it. There are things we can do from the start to help our children’s circadian rhythm develop and ways we can gently provide opportunities for them to try out independent sleep if we want to. This is the crux of this book and why it can help so many families if they get their hands on it early. That said, I don’t think it’s a book that needs to be limited to newborns because much of the advice can be applicable at various ages so long as they are introduced with responsiveness.
Now, this said, it doesn’t mean every key point will work for every family. Interestingly, my own children have shown me – in different ways – that some of these key points just weren’t for them. My daughter, for example, just wouldn’t do any sleep out of arms no matter how much I tried at the start. It wasn’t until she was 9-10 months old that that started. My son, on the other hand, would only sleep out of arms (for naps) starting at around 6 months but then decided arms were best at around 11 months again. When each of them were in an “in-arms” stage, no matter how much I tried to put them down, they’d wake within 5 minutes (usually more like 1). But that’s okay. And Ms. Pantley doesn’t give you doom-and-gloom stories to tell you that you must have your baby following all of her points. In fact, her main approach is to simply take what you like and feel comfortable with and ditch the rest. Although this is often what many people claim to do, it’s not the stated intent of most parenting “experts” and Ms. Pantley’s take on it is such a refreshing change.
What if you don’t really feel the need to do anything but cuddled your baby and continue as is? If you’re comfortable with how sleep is going for you, no need to change anything. I would still say the book is worth a read, just to get a good understanding of how infant sleep works and to keep in mind there are simple things you can do if sleep stops being wonderful for you.
The conclusion? This is an excellent read and one I can safely say I would recommend to new parents.
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