I was given the opportunity to read Elizabeth Pantley's The No-Cry Nap Solution this past month.
I don't normally read sleep books. In fact, this is the first one I've read. Margaret has been a pretty good sleeper, so I haven't had the need for sleep books yet. However, I have heard moms, whom I hold in the highest regard, repeatedly recommend her book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution. If Margaret had sleeping problems, that would have been the book I would have tried first because of its acclaim; I looked forward to reading the Nap Solution.
The No-Cry Nap Solution starts out explaining the importance of naps and describing the sleep cycles of babies and young children. This was pretty interesting to read; it made me wonder if I should pay better attention to making sure Margaret gets naps. She talks about the hormones in the brain and how missing naps can affect those. She doesn't really get into the science of why it's important to find non-crying solutions to naps, though I think it would have enhanced this section of the book, especially since there are studies that relate prolonged crying and brain hormones. It would have been interesting to connect the two here.
The book then continues on describing newborn sleep and tips specifically for newborns. The sections in this part of the book have titles including, "Newborns do not need to be 'taught' how to sleep" and "Newborn babies cannot be spoiled." I definitely agree with these. She also describes the difference between newborn sleep cycles and sleep cycles of an older baby or toddler whose sleep is more like an adult's, which I think would help a lot of parents starting out those first few weeks.
There are a few things that I find a little inconsistent, specifically refering to letting the newborn fall asleep in your arms, "the hitch here is that your baby will easily become accustomed to being held as she falls asleep. She'll soon be unable to fall asleep on her own." Pantley then recommends that you make sure you give your baby chances to fall asleep not in your arms. The inconsistency I see here is that just a few pages back, Pantley emphasizes that you can't spoil a newborn and then here, she makes it sound like you can. It isn't until much later in the book that she adds the caveat,
"If you really love having your sleeping baby in your arms and your daily schedule allows this pleasure, then continue on as you are with my blessings. . . . Don't change what works today for some fear of future problems. It will likely be no harder or easier for your baby to make a change now or later."Ideally, I'd like to see this mentioned nearer the front of the book and specifically in the newborn section. Parents of newborns can be really occupied in making sure they do everything "right." I, myself, was worried with how much Margaret was sleeping and eating to the point of stressing too much. I wouldn't want other parents to be stressing about holding/not holding their baby to sleep especially if their baby has colic or other problems and probably needs the sleep more than needing to get used to falling asleep in other positions.
The last third of the book is the longest and is set up to address napping changes and specific needs of naps. This is where all the tips are. I really enjoyed reading these tips- a lot of them are for older babies and toddlers and it's nice to have access to various options when it comes to helping your child nap. I especially liked Pantley's "Hush Hour" suggestion. Although I don't need it now, I can see where I'll probably need it in the future when Margaret's older and when I have more than one child.
Another great tip she suggested was moving dinner and bed time up if children are really cranky- which I think is genius. I never would have thought of it, but having dinner at 4 is probably better for their systems and it'll help them get ready for their bedtime routine earlier and make sure they get their rest. Another thing I really like about this suggestion is that it reminds us that our "schedules" are really fluid. Why not have dinner at 4?
She also mentioned other things- such as different ways to warm your baby's bed so that a transition from in-arms to in-bed would be easier. This is something I always thought about, "My arms are so warm, she's going to wake up if I put her in a cold bed," but for some reason, I hadn't thought of remedying that- it seems so obvious now!
In all, I did really like the book, especially the explanation of sleep cycles and the variety of nap and sleeping suggestions. I think sometimes parents just don't know what other options there are to the cry-it-out (CIO) method and this book gives parents those tools they need. A lot of parenting, and life in general, is knowing what your options are. If you don't know what your options are, then you have none. I would like to see more books like this available to parents.
Pantley also has a variety of books on other subjects, too.