Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby Book Reviews

There isn't really anything more precious than a sleeping baby.  They are so peaceful and cute.  A bonus is, a well rested baby also makes for an adorably alert and happy baby during awake periods too.

Over the last 18 months I've done way too much reading on pregnancy and babies.  First it was books on getting pregnant, followed by books on being pregnant, books on baby products, books on labor and delivery, breasfeeding, post partum and infant care and now the main focus has been on baby sleep.  That is A LOT of reading folks!

Aside from taking charge of your fertility which I read when I was trying to conceive, in hindsight I should have skipped straight to baby sleep books.  I expected sleepless nights and just assumed it is par for the course.   Then 6 months into motherhood, I realized what sleep deprivation was and how hard it was on me and my family.  Educating myself through reading has been the one tool that has been priceless as I've adapted to life as Sammy's mom.  I have learned that no baby and book are made for each other, there is no manual or remote control (ha, 2 am mute button anyone?! jk..sorta), and that the best thing you can do is educate yourself on babies in general and trust your intuition aka a mother's sixth sense (God's best gift to moms).

These are the books I read in order from favorite to least favorite.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.
This was by far the most frequently recommended book by veteran moms.  Two different moms of twins even told me this was their go to sleep book.  I loved this book because it gave a clinical overview of sleep and it's importance.  Dr. Weissbluth offers three sleep solutions which involve your choice of full blown cry it out called extinction, some cry and no cry sleep solutions.  I consider this to be the bible of sleep books because it truly empowers parents through medical knowledge to make a decision to be your child's advocate for a healthy life through sleep.  Dr. Weissbluth analogy that we wouldn't let our kids eat junk food all day, but we allow them to have junk sleep (swing, car, stroller, quick naps, non consolidated night sleep) really hit home.

Until I read this book I was really getting irritated with everyone including my pediatrician for only giving me a cry it out solution to our sleepless nights.  Crying it out felt cruel and selfish and just plain disgusting to me.  I could barely let Sam cry for a minute without feeling like I was killing my son.  I realize now that no child ever died from crying.  What I liked about this book was that it taught me what effects of sleep deprivations were for infants (whom we all expect not to sleep well).  I had only been considering my sleep needs up until I learned about what the lack of sleep was doing to Sam.  Crying it out became more of a way to help him vs helping me.

This book also helped me to just trust my gut.  I realized that a lot of the things I had been doing and had begun to doubt because they went against some of the other books suggestions were A OK.   Nursing before sleeping, helping Sammy by going to him when he cried during naps, etc. 

We did the extinction method and within a week Sam was sleeping much better.  Still waking twice at night to eat, but that was far better than every 1-2 hours for hand holding.  

Happiest Baby on the Block
I wrote about this book and accompanying DVD being a life saver once Sam hit the peak of crying at 6 weeks.  The five S's (swaddling, swaying, shushing, side lying and sucking) were like baby crack for Sam.  They worked and worked and worked.  What a life saver.  My strong willed baby had a set of lungs on him!  Now that he is older what we really use from this book is the white noise.  Sam still sleeps with it every night thru an iPod playing in his room.

The Sleep Easy Solution 
This was the second book I read on baby sleep and it was helpful for teaching about putting baby down drowsy but awake as well as setting up sample schedules for each stage in a babies life.  I liked that it gave me a general time frame for how long a baby of a certain age should be awake and asleep for.  One issue though is that for me, it was hard to remember that the author isn't Sam's mother, I am.  Just because a baby Sam's age should be doing so and so, doesn't mean it is going to happen.  This is where you have to trust your gut and realize you know your baby best.

The Baby Whisperer
I liked Tracy's Hogg's no cry approach to helping babies sleep.  There were several things I liked about this book.  Her acronym E.A.S.Y (Eat, Awake, Sleep, You time), her advice to start as you'd like to go on (start doing what you know you should be doing in the first place, place baby in the crib for naps vs in the swing), description of personality types(angel, textbook, touchy, spirited and grumpy (sam is textbook/touchy), and her pick up put down no cry sleep solution.  I tried EASY and it makes great sense.  Unfortunately that wasn't how I started and it has been close to impossible to get a good nap without feeding him first.  I have waived the white flag of surrender on that one, it's just not that important to me since I doubt he will be 3 and wanting to nurse before a nap (hello time magazine cover).  I couldn't agree more with the start as you'd like to go on.  COMMON SENSE.  Maybe I was just too sleep deprived to think of it on my own.  Any no cry method that actually works, is my friend.  I do a variation of this is for naps and it works.

I honestly am not sure whether or not this book was really that helpful for me.  I liked that she had a feed/wake/nap routine laid out and explains the 45 minute intruder which plagued our house for two long months.  However Sam didn't do well on feed/wake/nap.  It not feeding him before going to sleep was almost what perpetuated the 45 minute naps.  Ever since I started nursing him before naps again, he is knock on wood, sleeping MUCH better for naps.

Also some helpful baby sleep websites:

Hope this helps!  Does anyone have helpful sleeping tips or books they'd like to share?  I'm trying to stay ahead of the game too, so any toddler books I should read now before I have an out of control two year old on my hands?


AndreaBai @ Glam Hungry Mom said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one that was obsessed about reading parenting books. I still am. My son is almost three and I have to say the 2's weren't that bad. I can feel the 3's are going to be my "terrible twos".

P.S. My nail color was O.P.I. Red by O.P.I. :)

Mimi said...

Thanks Andrea. Glad to know I'm not the only one! I've moved on to toddler books now, do you have any recs?

Your make up post was really great! You've almost got me convinced to go get the Naked palette I've been eyeing since last christmas!

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