In April we began reviewing books that discuss infant sleep methods. There are firm methods like Ferberizing (and Gina Ford disussed in the April 2010 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter) and gentle methods like Attachment Parenting with a whole lot of methods in between the two extremes.
Today we continue the series with The Sleep Lady Kim West and her book and workbook Good Night, Sleep Tight series. We particularly like that she publishes a workbook along with the book. Her method is somewhere between the strict and gentle methods in that she thinks babies need to learn to settle themselves, that they need schedules and routines, but she does not encourage letting a baby cry-it-out for long periods of time.
Good Night, Sleep Tight: The Sleep Lady's Gentle Guide to Helping Your Child Go to Sleep, Stay Asleep, and Wake Up Happy By Kim West and Joanne Kenen
Kim West has been given the nickname ‘The Sleep Lady." Her infant sleep approach recommends routines and schedules but is a more gentle method than Feberizing. She does not advise caregivers leave a baby to cry-it-out for long periods of time.
The first four chapters provide a great foundation for understanding how children sleep and why it is so important to help teach them to self-soothe and to not rely on their parents to help them get to sleep in the middle of the night.
She recommends developing routines to help the child know when it is time to eat, sleep, and play. This gives the child a sense of security in knowing what is coming and what is expected of them. The author acknowledges the need for some flexibility and directs parents to follow their instincts about what will work best for their child. The author believes that sleep is a learned skill and in this book she explains how parents can teach their infants to sleep.
She starts with newborns, showing parents how to avoid sleep problems from the beginning. She has solutions for older babies, and children who have developed poor bedtime, nighttime, or nap time habits too. The Sleep Lady method includes a gentle, practical, step-by-step program called The Sleep Lady Shuffle. The Sleep Lady Shuffle has proven effective for hundreds of families.
Good Night, Sleep Tight also discusses co-sleeping, bedtime strategies for twins and siblings, and dealing with nightmares and illnesses. She offers tips on how to minimize sleep disruption when families travel or experience other breaks in routine.
Also included in the book are stories from parents about how the Sleep Lady method has worked for them. The stories are not only supportive to parents, but show how easily the Sleep Lady Method can be adapted for different parenting styles.
Good Night, Sleep Tight offers a practical, gentle, easy-to-follow remedy that will work for all families in need of nights of peaceful slumber.
The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook
The Workbook is a great companion to the book. The Workbook includes a step-by-step guide. It is organized by age and by process. The Workbook can be used as a stand alone guide with an essential to-do list, sleep plans, tear out sleep logs, sleep manner sticker charts, and a certificate of completion for celebrating success.
There are several sample plans with specific times for waking up, feedings, naps, bath, and bed times. There are plans for babies who need feedings during the night, and older kids who do not. Then there is a section with blank spaces which the reader could fill in to create their own plan. These are thirteen-day plans (they could however, take longer). At the end of the book, there is a sleep log where you can record your progress.
In chapter 12, there is a list of resources containing bedtime stories, books with information on childcare, books for new siblings, bedtime music, websites related to sleep, and information on postpartum depression.
What has worked for you? Do you prefer the strict or gentle methods of getting infants to sleep?