This is the sleep book I wish I'd had when my kids were babies.
Being a new parent is tough! Adjusting to a new sleep schedule and meeting the seemingly-constant needs of a new baby is exhausting. Worst of all, when you Google anything about baby sleep, you get experts on all sides disagreeing about the best way to teach kids to sleep! No matter how you proceed in trying to get some more sleep for you and your baby, someone out there will tell you that you're doing it wrong.
As a new parent, I also struggled with guilt when we resorted to cry-it-out methods, desperate to get more sleep for our babies (we started with twins) and ourselves. While one or both of my babies cried themselves to sleep in their room, I, myself, was crying in our room, wishing there was a better way to get everyone some more sleep!
I wish I'd heard then about The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. That's what I needed! No tears, for either of us.
The book begins with important information for getting started, like basic sleep facts for newborns through two years, and safe sleep practices for newborns. (If you're reading the first edition, which I have in my library, some of the safe sleep recommendations do need updating. I've annotated my copies with sticky notes.) Pantley then describes the in-depth process of creating sleep logs, then reviewing your sleep logs and choosing solutions to improve your baby's sleep patterns. Solutions are divided into those for newborn babies (up to four months) and those for older babies (four months to two years). Pantley cautions that, in order to have an impact, you have to try out new solutions for at least two or three weeks. This approach to a better night's sleep isn't a quick fix, and will require dedication and persistence.
Pantley recommends continuing to keep detailed sleep logs and analyzing them every ten days and making any necessary changes. Throughout the book, she gives examples of possible solutions, when they are likely to be effective, and alternatives to try if they are not. And she ends with a reminder that sleep patterns continue to change as children grow up, so keeping these tools and the book handy in coming months and years will continue to be helpful!
Although I can't vouch for the efficacy of this baby sleep approach from personal experience, I've heard this book highly recommended by a very experienced postpartum doula I trust. And, though I didn't get the chance to try out any No-Cry strategies on my newborns, I did use its wisdom to navigate a sleep problem with my four-year-old, who still slept with a pacifier.
I knew it was time for him to quit the pacifier habit, but all of my ideas of how to do it without lots of crying (from everyone!) were falling short. Then, using an idea from The No-Cry Sleep Solution, I wrote him a picture book--starring him, as the main character. It told the story of him growing up and saying goodbye to his pacifier (with compensation prizes to salve the hurt). When I read it to him, he did cry a bit about having to say goodbye to his pacifier, but only briefly. He didn't stormily protest (as he was in the habit of doing), and the whole transition went far, far better than I imagined it would.
This experience, plus recommendations from professionals I trust, gives me confidence that Elizabeth Pantley knows what she's talking about when she writes about no-cry (or low-cry) sleep solutions. Ready for your baby to sleep better? Or preparing to have a baby and wanting to get things right from the get-go? I'd love to lend you my copy of The No-Cry Sleep Solution in my Lending Library.
Penny Simkin writes, "How a woman gives birth matters--to her baby's long-term health, to her family (including her relationship with her partner), and to her mental and physical health and her self-confidence and self-esteem as a woman and a mother" (The Birth Partner, Fourth Edition, p. xi). Because this is true, Simkin also asserts that "How a woman is cared for and supported during birth is a major influence, not only in how she gives birth but also in how she feels about it" (p. xi). Quality support during birth is important. The way women are supported during birth affects how they birth, how they feel about it, and how the experience impacts their roles and relationships for a lifetime.
Given the importance of high-quality support during birth, wouldn't it be nice if support people (husbands, partners, family, and doulas) had a manual for how to give high-quality support? The Birth Partner answers this call. The book is a comprehensive go-to for support people during the last week's of pregnancy and birth. It's written by Penny Simkin, the co-founder of DONA International, the largest and oldest doula training and certifying organization.
In The Birth Partner, Simkin writes to spouses and partners to help them prepare to be an active and supportive participant in the birth process. She describes in detail what to expect in the final weeks of pregnancy and through each stage of labor, and how birth partners can be helpful at each stage, while also caring for their own physical and emotional needs. Throughout the book, Simkin also briefly discusses the doula's role during labor and birth and how it complements the husband/partner's role.
She then describes some of the common tests, interventions, and procedures that may be recommended during pregnancy and labor and gives a framework for making informed decisions. In this section, Simkin does normalize some interventions that aren't necessary in many healthy pregnancies, but that's my biggest (and most nit-picky) complaint about the book. The book closes with a section on the first few days postpartum, and Simkin again shares helpful information and tips about how to be a supportive help at home in the days after birth.
In all, The Birth Partner is an info-packed and accessible guide for preparing to support someone through the experience of giving birth. I keep multiple copies of it in my Lending Library so that my clients can benefit from reading it! If you'd like to get a taste for an abridged version of The Birth Partner, Penny Simkin also published a pamphlet, "Comfort in Labor," that touches on many of the same topics covered in The Birth Partner. If, after reading "Comfort in Labor," you feel that you want more, then The Birth Partner is probably for you!
Hi, I'm Sara. I'm a childbirth educator and birth + postpartum doula serving Utah county. I'm a twin mom (plus one!), natural VBACer, and birth lover!