Many new parents are bothered by their newborn babies’ frequent night awakenings to nurse or crankiness at night. The lack of sleep adversely affects these parents, especially those who are working.
Recently, one parent asked in a forum whether it is appropriate to add baby cereal to his newborn’s milk feed to help him sleep longer at night. Another asked whether she should try the Cry-It-Out method on her baby.
It is time to share this long overdue review on The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley, which I read shortly after The No-Cry Nap Solution.
Sleeping Problems We Faced at Night
- At four months old, Vee suddenly started waking up about every 1 to 2 hours at night. Previously, he woke up for night feeds at about 3.5 hours apart. We ruled out growth spurt as this lasted more than a week and suspected discomforts from teething and minor gastrointestinal reflux.
- Vee started waking up to cry within 30 to 45 minutes after falling asleep at night. Previously, he would sleep for a few hours until his next feed. When I carried him upright, he felt more comfortable.
- It took 1 hour or more to feed, burp and settle Vee back to sleep in his cot at night. He kept fussing and sometimes I had to try up to FIVE times to get him to sleep soundly in his cot. Before I could sleep for long, he was up for the next feed.
- There were times when Vee was asleep after a night feed but I could not get back to sleep because I was stretching out my hand into the cot to rest it on his chest. Sometimes, I was so sure he would awake anytime to fuss that I unintentionally kept myself awake.
I was utterly convinced that Vee was a high-needs baby and a super-light-sleeper who woke up at the end of EVERY sleep cycle. My night-time sleep was extremely disrupted, and I felt tired and miserable. Fortunately, being a Stay-At-Home-Mum, I could take naps with Vee. (The nap problems were solved more easily.)
How The Book Saved Our Sleep
The No-Cry Sleep Solution explains why caregivers should not allow baby to ‘cry it out’ and offers a suite of gentle solutions to help baby sleep through the night. Some of the areas that I found most useful in our circumstances:
- How to co-sleep in a safe manner. Safe co-sleeping allowed me to continue nursing Vee on demand, with both of us falling back to sleep easily. In short, WE FINALLY GAVE UP USING THE COT.
- Ways to create a bedtime routine and condusive sleeping environment. Many sleeping aids that we tried were ideas from the book.
- How to gently wean him off from bouncing or sucking to sleep. The high-needs baby still needs either kind of help to fall asleep, but there were a few occasions when I could go through the bedtime routine and pat him gently to sleep. He’s progressing, albeit at a slow rate.
- Observing him during his brief awakenings at night and giving him opportunities to learn falling back to sleep by himself. If he seriously needs help, then I would carry or nurse him. Recently, on several occasions, he managed to shift his sleeping position and continued sleeping (erm… on my tummy / chest / pillow) while I pretended to sleep. Another major improvement!
Although I have implemented only some of Pantley’s ideas, Vee has been progressing. Even though he is not sleeping through the night yet (i.e. 5 hours straight), we are getting sufficient rest at night, he hardly cries at night, and he is sleeping for stretches of up to 4 hours. My new ‘problem’: there are times when I wake up in the middle of the night while he is sleeping soundly! I am absolutely pleased with the results.
What I like about the book:
- Clarifies common misconceptions about baby’s sleep and related problems
- Offers a suite of gentle solutions to help baby sleep through the night
- Solutions produce visible results; timing of success depends on caregivers’ consistency and baby’s adaptability
As this is the first book in the ‘No-Cry’ series, there are less ideas in some areas than the newer books. If you have an older child, you may consider reading The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers*.
Has your baby slept through the night? Or are you struggling through sleepless nights? Do share your experiences and tips on helping your baby sleep better.
Get Your Own
Pantley’s books are available in most major bookstores such as MPH, Borders, Times and Popular Bookstores. They are hot among parents and often out of stock.
You may also check the price at Amazon.com here: The No-Cry Sleep Solution*