A happy family is a well rested one. That’s the central tenet to Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, arguably the most popular baby sleep book of all time.
It is a step-by-step guide to deciphering your baby’s natural sleep patterns and establishing good habits within them. The first several sections of the book are useful for parents of any-age children:
Healthy sleep strategies
The first portion of the book is about recognizing the signs of drowsiness in your child and knowing when to put him or her to bed. There’s also a discussion about breastfeeding before bed, solid food, and feeding habits.
And then, techniques for soothing a baby to sleep, and pointers on establishing a routine that works with your baby’s natural sleeping patterns.
Sleep Problems and How to Address Them
Dr. Weissbluth offers advice for parents of babies that have many of the common sleeping problems, including but not limited to:
- Waking up too early
- Unable to fall asleep
- Refusing to stay in bed
- Afraid of the dark or being alone
- Refusing to take a morning or afternoon nap
- Taking a nap that’s too short, too long, or at the wrong time
- Transitioning from the parents’ bed to the crib.
Special Sleep Issues or Events
In the latter parts of the book, the author tackles less common but nevertheless serious issues which prevent the establishment of healthy sleep habits. These include specific issues like extreme fussiness/colic, night terrors, and bedwetting.
He also offers advice for events that tend to disrupt healthy sleep habits: daylight savings time, the mother’s return to work, the presence of twins or older siblings, etc..
Establishing Healthy Sleep Habits
The remainder of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is devoted to establishing healthy sleep habits for babies, broken down by age group. Of course, every child is different. There’s no magic bullet to getting babies to sleep through the night consistently, or else we wouldn’t all be writing about it. In general, however, Dr. Weissbluth outlines several steps that parents can take toward healthier sleep habits for their baby:
- Watch your child for signs of drowsiness
- As soon as you see signs of drowsiness, put him down to sleep
- Try an early bedtime. Most babies need to go to bed earlier than you think – often around 6:30 or 7:00.
- At bedtime, let your child cry it out for 15-20 minutes before going in to comfort him or her.
Many of the key points of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Childare some of the messages we try to get across at Get Your Baby to Sleep. Establish a routine. Feed your baby enough, and then put him to bed early. Find out what works for your baby, and make that into a routine. This could be bath-bottle-bed, it could be something else. This is a great book, and a must-have for any parent!