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Monday, November 24, 2008

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy MOMMY

See that? That book. Right up there. Yup, that's the one.

That book has changed my life.

And I've had it in my grubby little hands just over a week.

Oodles of friends (and complete strangers, for that matter) recommended it to me, but I had yet to take the bait. I feared with every fibre of my being that it would be exactly like the other sleep books out there . . . and I've read at least a half a dozen of them.

When Thing 2 was a baby and not sleeping through the night, I purchased The No-Cry Sleep Solution in hopes that it would revolutionize our lives and magically transform my eight month old baby into an all-night sleeper. And while no tears were shed from little Thing 2 - I assure you this crafty mom did cry!

In all my reluctance, I picked up the book while visiting my sister last weekend. She calls the book her sleep bible and has used it successfully with both her children.

As my fingers grazed the first few pages and my eyes and my brain scanned and processed the so-called "sleep words of wisdom", I heaved a gigantic sigh of relief as I knew I had finally found the holy grail. Of sleep.

The book is simple, basic, and makes total sense to me. Everything I read just clicked. Where in other books I may have agreed with several points the authors made, I nearly pulled a ligament in my neck from nodding so vigorously as I read each chapter of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I agreed with everything Weissbluth stated and am fully embracing his philosophy for healthy sleep habits. I'm a convert, plain and simple.

How did I - an intelligent mother of three, an avid reader, and an owner of more parenting books than our local library - not know about this book? I didn't have it recommended to me until I started publicly whining about Thing 3's issues with sleeping and naps.

I am even going to go as far as to say that every parent should read this book. If you have a child, or two, or three, or more, the philosophies in this book will help you understand sleep, it's importance, the parameters around how to get enough, and the difference you will see in a child who is well-rested.

After having read only a couple chapters last week, I had begun putting Thing 3 to bed an hour earlier than normal. Because sleep begets sleep. But somehow I couldn't wrap my head around that . . . until I tried it. She is THRIVING on her earlier bedtime - she is out cold by 7:00 p.m. now, leaving me free for some much-needed mommy time in the evening. It gives me more time to cuddle and read stories to Thing 1 and Thing 2, and we are no longer struggling to "hold her off" for another half hour while I am busy and can't nurse her.

And that?

I'm not nursing her to sleep anymore!

I lie her down in her crib awake and she falls asleep on her own.

Hear that? That's fireworks outside my bedroom window erupting in celebration of this small, but mighty, victory.

For the first few nights she fussed and cried, but it was less than five minutes and I could tell she was tired. And I was in tune with her "sleepy" signs because . . . I had read the book which explained them to me in fine detail. So I was confident in my ability to know when it was time for her to sleep. She sleeps until 7:00 or later the next morning, with no night wake-ups. (Well, with the exception of this morning when she woke up at 6:15 a.m. because she had a cold and a cough . . . hey, no plan is fool-proof, right?)

Have I mentioned I love the book?

Reading subsequent chapters fueled me with with the knowledge that Things 1 and 2 likely needed more sleep as well. They are now successfully in bed asleep 30-45 minutes earlier per night, and are not waking any earlier than they had been. And while they have colds (hey, it's Ottawa in November!) and it's hard to tell how much the extra sleep is assisting in transforming their general moods, overall things are just running smoother over here at the crafty household.

The copy of the book I have now is my sister's and she wants it back. So off fall the diamond earrings from my holiday wish list as I bump Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child up to the top of my list.

Note: I really should be honest and mention that my sleep issues are hardly serious at all - on the whole I have been pretty fortunate to have three kids who all sleep through the night for 11-12 hours. Thing 2 was my only thing who didn't sleep through the night at about 4 months old - he waited until after his first birthday, and even that really wasn't truly stressful for me as he only woke once per night to nurse and always went right back to sleep.


Anti-Supermom said...

I think that this book is great. I've read it and you are right, it is really easy to understand. I loosely follow Baby Wise with my toddler.

I remember when my first was born, I didn't even know/remember that they should have naps, talk about new parenting. Baby Wise easily helped me look for sleeping vs. feeding cues.

Anywho...happy that you are finding such a great sleeper on your hands :)

Phyllis said...

I've never read that book, but am wondering if I should. We've never had horrible sleep issues here. Still, maybe it'd be nice for this Momma to be able to pat herself on the back if/because an expert says she's doing it right. ;)

Heidi said...

Oh, Shannon - I wholeheartedly agree! I love this book, in fact it's the only sleep book I read and it was enough. I was lucky enough to have it recommended to me early on, so I actually started reading it before Ava was born! (LOL - it's hard to remember what it's like to be such an eager first timeer). I didn't recommend it to you because I figured you had already read it and it just didn't work for you. Anyway, yahoo! Hope all the good sleep continues in your house...

Nemeth family said...

Hmmm...this book is in my stack of dusty sleep books. It is the only one I didn't pick up in desperation on Sunday and review. I will definitely do that this weekend. Ms. K was a pretty good night sleeper for the first 4 months and now she is crying when I put her down and waking 2-3 times a night...and I have to nurse her every time to get her back to sleep. Naps are non-existent. I know I need to stop nursing her to sleep and deal w/ the fussing when I put her down...I just need help. Thanks for inspiring me to dust off this book again!

amanda said...

the one and only sleep book i own :)

so glad you are enjoying all your new found mommy time!!

dougnlarry said...

Congrats Mama! I'm glad Miss Leah is sleeping better for you now and you get more time to yourself and with hubby after the kids are in bed. :)

Landerson said...

Sooooo glad it's working for you all:) Enjoy your sleep....Zzzzzzzzzzzz!

tiarastantrums said...

I SUCKETH at instilling good sleep habits for my children! I tried the feber ideal with my son and he cried FOR $ HOURS - me going in the 5 minutes then 10 minutes - then 15 minutes then 20 minutes then 30 minutes then 45 minutes - HE NEVER STOPPED CRYING!!!!!
I gave up after that and just held him and let him sleep on me - that is what worked!

Good for you!

Anonymous said...

I loved this book too!

I need to get better about the early bedtimes, since somehow ours seem to have gotten later and later.

Amanda said...

GREAT book! Why didn't I recommend it to you??? I love it! I'm so glad you found it!

JoeGirl said...

Awesome, Shannon! So glad to hear your sanity is easily returning to a normal level, and that Thing 3 is no longer suckling her way to sleep. Yay for you and your nights out again!!!

Femin Susan said...

Oh, handsome! A Superbly erudite post!
This is amazing!! I am so glad to found your blog!

Unknown said...

I've never seen that book before but it sounds great and in line with my philosophy on babies/kids and sleep. I am so glad it has helped you.

I am lucky in that my children have always been good sleepers and the sleep the better, for everyone! : )

Donna M said...

So glad to hear you are getting such positive results from this book. I know L lived by it from the time she started it with Reese.
Maybe it will help with naps too!

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