Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up HappyWritten by: Kim West, Joanne Kenen
Reviewed by: J. Cherwak
Download "The Sleep Lady''s Good Night, Sleep Tight" to PDF from Google Books
I acquired "The Sleep Lady''s Good Night, Sleep Tight" along with Pantley''s The No-cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Via the Night out of desperation to find some way to help my then 8 month old son sleep for more than 3-4 hours at a time. Some background data: my son is an extremely high energy, high spirited, self-determined little man. He''s a very excited child but not the kind who will be data to sit in a swing and relax for more than a couple of minutes.
We phased out night feedings, with the Ok from our ped, at about 5 months. After only a couple of rough nights at that, he was going to sleep rather simply and would sleep from about 7:30pm until 12am, get up once and have to be patted back to sleep (for about 10 minutes) then back to sleep until 6am. We had a bedtime routine in place at about 4 months- turn down Tv, dim lights, feeding, bath, quiet play time, books, rocking and to bed drowsy but not sleeping. Getting up once wasn''t that difficult and we were data with our nighttime timetable and our son was getting enough sleep and very excited during the day.
Then at about 6 months he began to get ear infections- one after the other and the total time handling ear infections was about 2 straight months. Right after that he got his first cold which lasted about a week and a half. During this time his sleep timetable was actually bad. We had to hold him most of the night because it hurt him too much to lay flat in his crib and he would wake plenty from the pain.
After he was no longer sick, he became used to my husband or me holding him at night and being constantly with us. So, he began waking up 3-4 times a night and it would take patting his back for about 10-25 minutes each time to get him to go to sleep again and sometimes he''d get so upset I''d have to pick him up and walk him around the house for 30 minutes or so before he''d fall asleep again. After many months of actually poor broken up sleep I was desperate to find a system. We tried Pantley''s book first because I was extremely opposed to any sleep system that allowed my child to cry for Any length of time.
We implemented All the techniques in The No-cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Via the Night for just over 2 months. At the end, the result for us was that it made our son need us even More to go to bed and during the night. He really would no longer go to sleep on his own- if we put him to bed drowsy but not 100% asleep, as soon as he touched the crib he''d jerk himself awake and start to get hysterical if we didn''t immediately pick him up. To even get him into his crib we''d have to feed him a bottle until he was almost asleep and stand and bounce him for at least 15 minutes each night until he was 100% asleep and he would wake up and cry for us 6-8 times a night and it would take rocking, patting, walking him around for a total of about 3-4 hours each night.
My husband and I were beyond exhausted and so was my son. We were crabby. He was crabby. We even took him to the physician to make confident there was no health situation causing his lack of sleep (which I would definitely advise every mother do before implementing Any sleep solution- make confident there are zero health problems hindering their opportunity to go and stay asleep).
He checked out perfectly healthy. (the techniques in Pantley''s book may work for many kids and families and I''d hoped that it would for our baby/family but it didn''t. Every kid is various and there actually is no one size fits all system when it comes to them. )so, desperate for sleep, I decided to give in and try the sleep lady shuffle as described in Kim West''s book (basically, put the child in the crib drowsy, sit in a chair next to the crib, soothe him briefly by touch/words if he gets upset then sit back down and do this until he falls asleep.
After 3 nights next to the crib, move a bit away from the crib/closer to the door and do the same thing etc. ) I knew to hope some crying but by this point my son was just over 10 months old and I''d found out what his various cry meant- hysterical when he had a bad dream or fell down while practicing walking, whine type crying when he was tired or hungry, mad crying when he couldn''t get what he wanted etc. Beforehand, my husband and I agreed that if my son got hysterical we would end it right away and we''d only try it for an hour- if he was still not sleeping and was upset/cranky/crying after 60 minutes, we''d end it and look for another system. Personally I could never feel nice about anything that made my son so upset he became hysterical (as in Ferber''s Cio until you puke method- that''s just me.
) I made my husband do the first night as I did not wish to hear my son cry. The first thing we did (after his normal bottle/bath/book bedtime routine) was explain to him what was going to happen- he''s a large boy now and needs to go to sleep so he can get large and strong but daddy will be in the room the whole time until he falls asleep etc. We also gave him his most loved stuffed toy to sleep with. I listened/watched on and off from our video track.
My husband put our son in his crib, covered him and sat in the chair next to the crib. initially there was no crying- he just stood up and looked at my husband as if confused on why he wasn''t being patted to sleep. Then he began to cry. My husband just stayed completely calm and sat next to the crib.
I was surprised to hear his cry sounded more annoyed than actually upset. He''d cry for a bit then stop and listen to hear if we were going to get him. Cry again, stop for a couple minutes, cry for half a minute etc. Then he''d lie down, whimper, stop and listen, cry, stand up, lay down etc.
This lasted just under 30 minutes and he fell asleep and slept via the entire night without waking Once- until 6:30am- 10. 5 hours. The next night it was the same except he cried for 20 minutes (and slept via the night). By night 3 he cried for 6 minutes then fell asleep. He did wake up once at 2am and my husband went to check on him to make confident he was Ok- hadn''t peed via his diaper, wasn''t unhealthy etc.
He was fine, so my husband told him it was sleepy time, gently laid him back down, sat next to the crib and my son whimpered for less than one minute and fell back asleep for the rest of the night. Night 4 was even better. One thing we are doing though- which is what we do with All parenting books/advice - is take what we like and throw out the rest. Try what we liked, if it doesn''t work, modify it or abandon it.
I thought that only 3 days next to the crib and then moving to the door was too quickly a transition so we''re staying next to the crib longer and only moving a foot away at a time. I noticed that when I leaned over my son''s crib to hug him, he''d cry harder after I let go - I found it best to just lightly pat his back or briefly rub his head and tell him It''s Ok. I''m here. Go to sleep now.
and shh. shh.
You just have to pay attention to your own child''s signs and find out what operates for them. Note: After about a week of this method, my whole family came down with the flu. Of course during this time, we did not use any method to get my son to sleep as he needed our touch and closeness to sleep since he didn''t feel well. Once he was 100%, we began over with Step 1 of the shuffle and it worked again- fell asleep with minimal whine type crying and then slept via the night. I was actually against enabling my son to cry at bedtime- even slightly- even for a moment, but when my settings boiled down to starting to irrationally resent being a mom because I was so sleep deprived I could barely see straight or my son shedding a few Non-hysterical, I''m mad at you type tears for a few nights only and then sleep wonderfully and wake up extremely happy- that was the lesser evil for me.
With our next child, if he/she is not as high needs as our son, I will try Pantley''s methods again first (but not for 2 months this time). If they don''t work with the new child, I won''t hesitate to use the sleep lady shuffle - as a couple of semi-rough nights are worth a child (and mother and father. ) who is excited and healthy because he/she is getting enough rest. The bottom line is: every kid is different- some things will work for one kid but not at all for another. So use common sense, follow your instincts as a mother, try out advice/solutions that you, as the mother, are Ok with for That specific kid and if it doesn''t work, try something else.
One of my buddies has a 2 year old son who is very chill and calm. They tried Ferber''s method when he was 7 months old and her son only cried a little for less than 10 minutes, for less than 5 days and then went to bed actually excited with no drawbacks and slept via the night ever since. She had also gone with her instincts as a mother and decided that if her son got too upset or cried longer than 15 minutes that she would get him - going against the Ferber technique. She took the parts that she thought helpful to her and threw out the rest.
I know for confident that method would not have worked with my son so I didn''t even try it. Not every system will work for every single kid but the sleep shuffle technique did work for our son.
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- Thinking in Pictures
- An Early Start for Your Child with Autism