Ahhh great sleep, you continue to elude me, not because I’m a workaholic or have a bad case of insomnia, but because of my sweet baby boy – the baby who doesn’t sleep!
My son slept through the night from birth until he was 3.5 months old, which also happened to be when he cut his first tooth. There hasn’t been a full night’s sleep since then and my son will be a one year old in less than 2 weeks!
So, how have I been coping for the past 8 months? What have I tried? What strategies have I used? Well, it’s been a mixture of many things like:
- tips from family members
- tips from our pediatrician
- tips from parenting websites
- banging my head against the wall
Just to name a few!
And then it happened. An opportunity that came to me at the perfect time. I was offered the chance to review “The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep” written by Dr. Harvey Karp, a famous American pediatrician and child development specialist.
The book states that Dr. Karp provides simple sleep solutions for kids from birth to 5 years. I was curious to see if any of these solutions would work for our baby boy.
The book is split up into four sections:
- Sweet Sleep for Little Babies – Birth to Three Months
- Sidestepping Infant Sleep Problems – Three to Twelve Months
- Sleep Solutions in the Toddler and Preschool Years – One to Five Years
- Tips to Create Happy Naps and to Handle Special Situations
I decided to focus on section 2 as that was primarily where our situation fit the best and I was clearly too late for the learnings of section 1.
Each chapter begins with key points about your baby’s sleep development as it relates to the topic of that chapter. As you continue to read through, Dr. Karp explains things that are normal behaviour and he also dispels many common myths associated with the chapter topic. At the end of each chapter there are “Crib Notes”, a quick review of notable take-aways from the chapter.
Chapters 7 and 8 drew me in as they were about a) helping your infant get to sleep and b) helping your infant stay asleep – two huge challenges in our house! The biggest take-aways for me from these chapters are:
- Routine, routine, routine!
- It’s so imperative to try and keep the same schedule with your baby as they love predictability. Routines aren’t just for mornings
- Create the right sleep environment
- No tv’s blaring! Send the older kids to another room in the house. Dim the lights, give baby a nice bath, read a book and perhaps give your baby a massage.
- Know your baby’s sleep cues
- Babies need their sleep but they will fight it, know how to recognize the signs and act accordingly
- Find the root cause (s)as to why your baby won’t stay asleep
- Night waking, bed-sharing/co-sleeping and nursing are major culprits in our house. The tips in this chapter have been my focus for the past couple of weeks since I received the book. We’re getting there but still need more time to get to where we’d like to be.
Overall, the learnings from this book were excellent. I believe that’s due to the fact that most of the information is repetitive but worded in several different ways. Since receiving the book, I have had success with a couple of the tips provided as it relates to our family routine and habits. As for constructive feedback, I would have liked the age ranges for the sections of the book broken down even further (i.e. 3 mths to 5 mths, 6 mths to 8 mths, 9 mths to 12 mths). I still have many more tips to try!