When I was pregnant I ordered a few "baby sleep" books that I found recommended by others moms and bloggers. When they arrived, I joyfully opened them, but the joy didn't last long. I found that each of these books left me with two main ideas:
- Getting babies to sleep was more of a sophisticated formula than a natural process. There were just so many things that could interrupt sleep and a different solution for each one. I was left with the feeling that I would have to keep the books at the ready and consult them each and every night to figure out what was wrong with my child's ability to sleep and find the appropriate fix.
- I was never going to sleep again.
I quickly gave up on reading these thick books and put them away to be consulted once our baby was born and old enough for me to be able to figure out her particular sleep issues.
Our daughter was born and I soon realized that she had no problems sleeping. She began to sleep through the night at six weeks without us once consulting the sleep books. They stayed tucked away until we moved to Colorado when Lucia was six months old. Perhaps it was the move - the time change or unfamiliar surroundings - or maybe it was that she had just started teething, but all of a sudden our great sleeper was up all night. I pulled out the sleep books but once again found them to be daunting. They were all divided by age, yet each chapter was still very long and very dense. It seemed there were vastly different solutions for each issue and not necessarily one cohesive "sleep philosophy". Those books are once again collecting dust in a box.
In the midst of our sleep chaos, someone (a guardian angel?) sent me an email asking if I would review (and giveaway!) a copy of Sweet Dreams: How to establish and maintain good sleep habits for your baby by Arna Skula, R.N. A little skeptical that any book would help us, I agreed.
When I received Sweet Dreams in the mail, I noticed a few things right away: I was shorter than other baby sleep books I had read. I wasn't nearly as dense, containing pictures of adorable sleeping babies, information boxes and lists in the margins, and large quotes throughout to sum up the most important points. Clearly this book was different and these differences make it a book that I love and consider a true parenting resource. Here are a few of its unique features and why I love them:
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- Sleep and wake cycle charts: These charts are circles that represent a 24 hour period that is divided into various-sized white and blue wedges. The white wedges represent sleep and the blue signifies waking time. These charts are scattered throughout the different sections to show what a "typical" sleep pattern is at each age. While the times of day might change a bit from those is the chart, the main focus is not when, but how long, sleep and wake periods are. It's so helpful to see a visual illustration of how long your child should be sleeping, the length of naps, the amount of wakeful time between naps, etc. Although I saw tables in other books that tried to present this information, the circular chart make visualization of sleep patterns much easier to grasp. The last page of the book has several blank sleep and wake cycle charts that you can photocopy to record your child's own sleep pattern.
- Only half the book is "Your baby's sleep at different ages." That means that the first half of the book addresses the bigger issues: an overview of how babies sleep and sleep problems. The first half of the book is filled with succinct information on important topics and much of the information is presented in easy-to-digest forms, especially lists and tables.
- Each section is short. You can get the information you need without being bogged down by it. Instead of long, dense chapters of paragraph after paragraph, this book is divided into many short sections with appropriate headings to help you find the topic you need. This makes it a true resource instead of a book you need to read cover to cover in order to find the appropriate info.
- Letters from real parents. Each section devoted to a specific age includes several letters from real parents whose babies are experiencing sleep problems., as well at the author's responses. When I received the book, I turned to the chapter for babies 9-14 months and found a letter that could have been written by me! Apparently the issue we're having with Lucia waking in the middle of the night and nursing non-stop until morning is not that uncommon. I was happy to not only have advice for our specific situation, but to also know we're not alone. In case you are wondering, the advice has helped tremendously as well!
I would suggest Sweet Dreams to any parents needing for advice to help their little one to sleep well. You can purchase the book from Amazon or enter to win a copy:
As part of the Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! giveaway event,
enter to win a copy of Sweet Dreams:
How to establish and maintain good sleep habits for your baby!
Giveaway runs November 25-Dec. 2. Enter here.
I received a copy of the book to facilitate this review. I was not required to write a positive review. Opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.