I was easily drawn to this book because of it's no-nonsense title. It tells you exactly what the plan is from the get-go: get your kid to sleep without having to "cry it out." It's kind of refreshing after all of the other baby sleep books with titles that sound like they're going to deliver, but then you find out that it's just another proponent of the tired, old "cry it out" advice--new title, different packaging, same message.
However, before presuming that this book is going to solve all of your problems, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- This plan is going to take time. Many of the other baby sleep plans suggest that their methods will only take 3-5 days. This plan truly will take 1-3 months to see the results you're searching for. Good news is that the author tells you this from the very beginning so there are no surprises.
- She's an attachment parenting mama. For me, that's wonderful. I really agree with a lot of the philosophies and practices behind attachment parenting. In fact, I even credit this book for helping to solidify some of my thoughts on parenting. But, if attachment parenting really isn't your thing, this book might not be for you.
- "Sleeping through the night" is defined by the medical definition of 5 consecutive hours of nighttime sleep. She promises that by following and adjusting your personal sleep plan, you can help your baby to achieve this milestone. If you're looking for a plan this promises 12 hours of consecutive sleep by next week, again, probably not for you.
- Proper perspective. The author writes from the perspective of a mother. The large majority of sleep books are based on charts, faceless statistics, and graphs. This book is written by a mother who implemented these sleep strategies with her own children and oversaw their implementation with a large number of test-mommies and babies.
- Informative. Contains a lot of information about sleep facts and sleep needs for babies, children, and adults. Her research is well-founded and well-documented.
- Personalized approach. A large number of suggestions are given and families are instructed to develop their own, personalized sleep plan based off of these suggestions. This allows families to pick and choose those things that are possible for them and options they feel the most comfortable with (see the con associated with this). She also clearly marks which suggestions are geared toward crib vs. co-sleeping and breast vs. bottle feeding babies.
- Reasonable approach. Throughout the book, she constantly reminds families, "if you're getting frustrated or you just can't do it tonight, try next time." Also, for those parents who are dangerously sleep deprived or otherwise unable to follow their prescribed sleep plans, she gives some great suggestions to ensure a more gentle approach should you chose to "cry-it-out."
- Parenting philosophy. As I mentioned before, she's an attachment mama. If that's not your cup of tea, this book may come across as "preachy."
- Overwhelming number of suggestions. Since there are a large number of sleep solutions, some families may become overwhelmed by all of the options and may try all of them at once. This may lead to burn-out.
- Time. This program takes weeks to months of implementation before results (large or small) may be seen. For dangerously sleep-deprived families, this may be too long of a time for safety reasons.
- Anxiety inducing. Maybe this one is just for me, but she suggests keeping track of your baby's sleep every 10 or more days. For me, it just made me more anxious about my baby's night wakings.
- Less sleep now. No matter what sleep solution you choose, cry-it-out or otherwise, this solution may result in less sleep for mom (or dad) while the sleep solutions are being implemented
One of the main things that I really appreciated is how reasonable the author is. So many books present "if you don't do it my way, your kid is going to have problems forever" mentality. This book is not one of them. The author acknowledges that parents have choices and those choices do have consequences; but for the most part, you're not going to destroy your child. In fact, from the get-go she talks to parents about their willingness to give up the night wakings. For some people (me included), they're really not a big deal and are even enjoyed at times. That being considered, we've made the choice to implement some suggestions but not worry too much about it. For the most part, our baby is sleeping better. He still wakes a few times a night but that's definitely manageable.
For me, the best part about this book was how I walked away with greater perspective. The author presents it as a book about helping your baby to sleep better, not a parenting program. As such, I've been able to see sleep as just one component of my life and my baby's life. My foremost goals for my baby are to help him feel secure, loved, and respected. This book helped me to see that I can hold true to those goals while still working towards a full-night's sleep.