Sleep is one of the most misunderstood and confusing aspects of parenthood. While many babies will naturally fall into a good sleeping pattern, latest research shows that the majority do not; leading to months, and sometimes years, of stressful, sleepless nights for children and parents. If your child is one of those who has trouble sleeping or you simply wish to avoid sleep problems for your new baby now, and as it grows older, Gina Ford’s practical step-by-step guide will help you.
Drawing on years of experience helping thousands of parents establish healthy, happy sleeping habits for their children, Gina’s tried and tested methods help parents understand their children’s sleep patterns and give them invaluable advice on how to avoid or resolve the common problems of excessive night time waking, caused by hunger, colic, over-tiredness, nightmares and night-terrors.
The Complete Sleep Guide for Contented Babies and Toddlers is split into six chapters which include ‘Understanding Sleep’, ‘Solutions For Sleepless Nights’ plus four chapters devoted to each developmental stage from birth to three years. Contrary to critical opinion, Gina does not appear to advocate teaching babies to sleep through the night by denying feeds or leaving them to cry but rather teaching parents to recognise their babies’ different needs from a very early age. Although Gina’s methods are sometimes considered controversial, she does back up her advice with current research and case studies leaving it up to the reader to make an educated choice. For example, although she believes that babies should not bed share, she does acknowledge that some research indicates that co-sleeping may actually help reduce the risk of cot death, provided parents follow certain safety precautions.
As with The Contented Little Baby Book of Weaning by Gina Ford, she does expect that a nursing mother will breast feed to a schedule. This does not necessarily mean that the sleep solutions will not be helpful to all parents as many of her suggestions are common sense regardless of your method of feeding. Winding down in the evening and providing a calm and sleep-inducing environment for your baby is a common theme as is a baby who is fed well during the day is less likely to wake at night due to hunger.
Gina breaks down the sleep solutions into different categories and leaves it up to the parent to choose which approach will work best for them and their baby or toddler. For example, ‘crying down’ (from birth to six months), ‘controlled crying’ (babies and toddlers over six months) or ‘gradual withdrawal’ (18 months to 2 and ½ years). The rest of the book consists of detailed routines and suggestions for each age group along with case studies where Gina addresses common sleep problems such as early-morning waking, night feeding and comforter dependency.
The Complete Sleep Guide for Contented Babies and Toddlers is a useful resource for parents who are familiar with Gina’s methods and wish to avoid sleep problems or simply for any parent who wants some ideas to deal with a particular sleep issue.
Book reviewed by Parents Lounge member Slayerkat.