Baby Sleep Books: A Review

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This post has been put on hold for quite a while. First, it was because I was in the depths of sleep training hell, then when that got better I was waiting to finish up several chapters, and after that, well… I guess I just started to feel like I was writing a book report for school or something. But though I know these books have already been reviewed in the archives of HDYDI, I think the insight I’ve gained from them may possibly help some new MoMs. So here we go:

Weissbluth

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This is the book I started with, because it is more specific to twins, and I just needed a refresher since I already read a friend’s copy before the babies were born. It’s a very easy read, comprised of extremely intuitive advice that completely makes sense to me. I think it helped validate exactly how I’ve always felt about sleep for babies. There are a couple chapters in the beginning regarding his research and theories that are very interesting. If you’re looking for a quick fix for a common problem (e.g. how to create a schedule for both babies, how to stop bedtime crying, etc.), this is probably a good book to start with. The best gem of this book: “Sleep begets sleep.”

Pantley

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I bought this one because I wanted to get a perspective that wasn’t “cry it out” related. This book is geared towards parents who are opposed to letting their babies cry themselves to sleep. I was never really one of those parents, even with my first singleton, but now that I have two more babies, Pantley’s strategies really wouldn’t work for me. This book requires creating some pretty extensive sleep logs and QUITE a bit a patience. By that I mean, probably no one desperate for sleep would be able to hang in there for what may take weeks, if not months. But if the sound of your child crying is making you miserable, or if your baby requires a slower approach, you might want to give this a try. It really is a much gentler way.

Ferber

ferberbook

This is by far the most comprehensive book of the three. It includes very detailed information about sleep and virtually every sleep disorder there can be. Definitely some interesting reading in the later chapters (head banging, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, etc.), but you really only need to read half of Part II and Part III (Chapters 4-6, 9-12). Ferber is known for “cry it out”, but in his book it’s called “progressive waiting”, and I don’t find it particularly harsh at all. In fact, this method is probably the one that works the best and quickest. It’s written in a case study format, with some great charts for reference. There are also some great instructions for shifting nap schedules. I think this is the one I will come back to if I run into trouble transitioning my babies to new schedules in the future.

 …………….

So, while going insane with my babies not on any kind of feed/sleep schedule, I scoured the internet and bought these 3 books after reading some Amazon reviews. I believe they pretty decently represent the different schools of thought that are out there (except Sears’ attachment parenting, which I am not interested in). A word of warning: Most of the content of these books can be found on the internet, often even verbatim. I’m sure it’s copyright infringement, as the text is not quoted or cited. I probably could have read enough online to piece together what I needed, but the books definitely lay it out nicer and I feel better that I didn’t “steal”. Ultimately I cobbled together a bit from here and there. I don’t really even know what came from where because I took what made sense to me from different sources and internalized them. I think once you read enough you just start to allow your instincts take over.

The other thing I’ve noticed that really helped with my babies was when became able to find their own sleep positions around 4 or 5 months. Both my babies are stomach sleepers. More often than not, they will find a comfortable position face down sucking on a blanket (Baby Girl), or the two forefingers of his left hand (Baby Boy). And for those of you following my sleep training journey, she’s been good through morning for well over a month now. And they do sleep day/night in side-by-side cribs in the same bedroom. We’ve come a long way from these days. Fellow new MoMs, there is hope!

lunchldyd is mom to 6mo b/g twins and their 3yo big sis, happy to take compliments on her now-well-sleeping twins.

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Christian Parenting Handbook

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Over at my blog this week I had the privilege of being apart of a “Launch Week” for a new parenting book called The Christian Parenting Handbook: 50 Heart-Based Strategies for All the Stages of Your Child’s Life by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller R.N.

I received a free copy of the book and in return gave an honest review of the book.  You can see my full review HERE on my blog.  But, I have to say, it’s a great resource for all parents, even if you aren’t Christian.  So, that’s why I thought I would tell all you HDYDI readers about it, too!  It’s great for all parents because it focused on long-term goals with your children.  It emphasizes the heart of your child and helping them develop character qualities, and how to strengthen their character flaws.  The book addresses controversial topics and issues like spanking, helps you understand the difference between things like discipline and punishment, and does so in a non-judgmental way.  It’s not a “do-it-my-way-or-else” parenting book.  It gives you guiding principles and examples.  It shares the “how” of  Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

I’ve applied some of the principles and ideas taught in it with my twin three year-olds and it has made a difference.  Most of the difference made in our home from reading this book has been in how I approach my parenting and discipline.  We’ve been happier because of it.

As I am part of the launch team of this book, I have the privilege of giving away a copy of this book and its companion guide!  You can enter to win it over on my blog HERE.  I hope you will!  There aren’t that many entries yet, so the odds are in your favor!  Yeah!

I also want to let you know that the publishers of the book are hosting a Mega Multi-Blogger Giveaway (no purchase necessary) where you can enter for a chance to win some awesome prizes, including an iPad and $200 Amazon gift card!  Feel free to enter that HERE.

And finally, if you buy a copy of the book this week, they will give you $400 worth in additional resources for FREE!  But you have to buy a copy before Sunday at midnight.  Unfortunately, since they’ve been pushing so hard this week, everybody is sold out of physical copies of the book except for the National Center for Biblical ParentingThey are selling it at 25% off.  BUT, you can still buy electronic version of the book from your favorite outlets, like Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and get the extra resources for free still.  Full details about this deal HERE.

I love reading parenting books as I know I am an imperfect person and always can use some good advice on how to raise great kids and enjoy my time with them, too!  What are some of your favorite parenting books?  What have you read lately that has helped you with your multiples?

ldskatelyn is a wife and a mother of fraternal twin three-year olds and 6-week old son.  She loves reading books and then reviewing them. She blogs about her life over at whatsupfagans.blogspot.com.  Her affiliate links are used above.

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Guest Post: Review and Giveaway – One and the Same

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Hello, dear HDYDI readers!  We have a special treat for you today.  A guest post from the super-awesome twin mom and blogger, Sadia, of Double the Fun.  Sadia has given us a very thoughtful review of One and the Same, by Abigail Pogrebin.  Even better still, the author is letting us give away a signed copy of the book!  Don’t forget to leave a comment that includes a valid email address in the form (email is never made public, never passed out or sold to anyone) so that we can contact you if you win. One entry per person, please.  Comments will close this Friday, July 9, at 5PM EDT and a winner will be chosen at random.

And now, here’s Sadia!

– – – – –

The other day my husband said, “You’ve been reading a lot of parenting books. Don’t you think you’re a good mom?”

“It’s not that,” I told him. “I think I’m a pretty good mother to Jessica and Melody. I read these books because I want to stay ten steps ahead of them. I want to be challenged by other people’s ideas. They’ll either help me recommit to the parenting philosophies and practices I already subscribe to, or they’ll make me rethink how I parent.”

Abigail Pogrebin’s One and the Same is a book that has challenged me as a mother of twins, causing me to change my parenting in some ways and dig in my heels in others. I hadn’t yet heard of the book when Abby asked me to review it several months ago, but I’m sure I would have bought and devoured it by now even if she hadn’t.

Abby is a journalist and an identical twin herself. She set out to write about twinship, and explores the myriad experiences of twinhood in depth. One and the Same balances intimate stories of individual sets of twins with patterns identified by researchers who study twins. Much of the writing is intensely personal, but it speaks to the mystery, joy and challenges of the universal twin experience.

I was particularly intrigued by the way that twinship can impact marriage. Abby describes it beautifully. She says that being Robin’s twin has given her, “a congenital clarity of what it is to be wholly close to another human being.” Some of the twins Abby interviewed drew parallels between the twin relationship and marriage. I hope that the compromise skills that my daughters are learning to survive life with one another serve them well should they choose to marry. On the flip-side, Abby points out that during her time at the Twinsburg convention, she notices a high number of twins, mostly male, who have never been married. Might women be put off by the intimacy and affection that twin brothers share?

I wept my way through the chapter on twin death. Abby interviewed a man who lost his twin in the Twin Towers on 9/11. She also found a number of people who thought they were singletons and developed an inexplicable fascination with twins, only to discover that they were the sole survivors of twin pregnancies. I look at my daughters and can’t imagine how one could navigate her life without the other.

The only part of the book that I didn’t like was, ironically enough, the one that dealt with parenting twins. Whereas Abby spent the rest of the book showing us how different and unique each experience of twinship is, this chapter spoke in generalities, many of which failed to resonate with my experience as a mother of twins. Like Abby, I take exception to the experts’ assertion that every mother of multiples has a favourite child. From time to time, each of my kids drives me nuts, and from time to time, one needs more of my attention. The love, though, is equally infinite. The takeaway of the chapter was that the challenges of raising twins, especially in the early years, outweigh the joys. I disagree. Yes, it’s often hard, but good parenting is hard, no matter how many kids you have.

The parenting lesson I took away from One and the Same is that twinship does not have to compromise individuality. Twins don’t have to choose between their twin identity and their personal identity. A singleton myself, I recently realized that I had assumed that emphasizing my daughters’ twinship would cripple them as they developed their individual identities and interests. Abbie shows us that does not have to be the case. Being a twin is part of what make my daughters, Jessica and Melody, unique. However, One and the Same doesn’t shy away from the reality that there are pairs of twins out there for whom their twinship defines them. For instance, it quotes Debbie Ganz, who, with her sister Lisa used to run a restaurant in which all the waiters were pairs of identical twins. “A guy once said to me, ‘I don’t want to know about your twin thing: what are you like?’ I froze and started to feel upset. Because I couldn’t answer him.”

One and the Same is the most astute book I’ve come across that discusses the twin experience. I would have enjoyed it equally, although differently, if I’d never met a twin in my life.

Q and A with Abigail Pogrebin

Abigail Pogrebin was kind enough to answer a few questions that occurred to me while I was reading One and the Same. This is what she had to say.

Sadia: You share intimate and sometimes heart-breaking details about how you feel about your changing relationship with Robin. Has she read your book? What was her reaction? What about your parents’?

Abby: I didn’t feel I could write this book without Robin’s blessing (and her editing – she’s a formidable journalist) and so I showed her a draft as soon as I finished it. I admit that it wasn’t an easy read for her at times, and she even challenged me in some places, which I think made me revisit certain sections and rethink them. But the truth is that Robin was incredibly supportive of the book, both privately and publicly. I was grateful that she agreed to go on the Today Show with me and that she worked so hard to prepare for a special event we did together last fall in New York in which she interviewed me about the book before an audience of 200-plus; she made it a wonderful evening. Most importantly, this book made us closer in ways I can’t quite explain. It’s like the truth finally was on the table and we could get on with this phase of our relationship.

As for my parents, they were also tremendous boosters, but feel somewhat baffled by why twinship can end up being complicated when it felt so simple to them during our childhoods.

Sadia: You’ve described twin romance beautifully, and have been able to convey how normal and natural that intense relationship is, even if much of society is unable to comprehend it and sometimes views it as pathological. My husband and I see that romance growing in our own daughters. Do you have any advice to parents like us on how to prepare our kids for resistance they may get from others regarding their twin relationship?

Abby: My only advice is to talk about it ahead of time, to discuss the fact that their twin romance can be intimidating, excluding, or off-putting to other people and sometimes they may want to keep their intimacy to themselves, if that makes sense.

Sadia: Many parents of young multiples are careful not to refer to their children as “the twins” or “the boys”, because they want to help the world see their children as individuals, and not just members of a set. If your children had been twins, would you object to them being referred to as “the twins”?

Abby: Yes, if I had twins, I would object to people calling them “the twins,” because I do think it has a cumulative negative effect over time; it  underlines their two-ness as opposed to their singularity. It may seem unimportant, especially when the twins are young, but I know I hated the term growing up. It felt lazy to me when someone called us that; is it really so taxing for them to say our names when they’re talking about us?

Sadia: If you could give parents three pieces of advice on nurturing both their twin’s closeness and their independence, what would they be?

Abby:

  1. Spend separate time with your twins. Even if they resist doing things apart.
  2. Encourage different activities, lessons, playdates, pursuits.
  3. Let their insularity be. It has its own magic, and at the end of the day, the intimacy wins.

Sadia: We have a set of triplets in our extended family. I can’t help wondering how having more than one same-age sibling would affect relationships between multiples. Do you know any higher order multiples? How would you compare their relationships to those of the twins you interviewed?

Abby: I don’t know any triplets myself, but I did interview one in my book and her story is worth reading – it appears in the chapter on competition. It amazed me that a triplet can feel like the third wheel when the other two triplets are twins.

Sadia: You quote Joan Friedman’s distinction between being known and being noticed, as it pertains to twinship. Could you please explain this distinction to HDYDI’s readers? You acknowledge that her distinction resonated with your sister’s experience of being a twin. Do you ever feel less “known” because you were a twin

Abby: As twins, you’re often “noticed” because you stand out – especially if you’re identical. It’s an oddity, a novelty, people notice you, look at you longer, compare you. People are curious, they confer all sorts of ideas about what your bond and relationship must be like. But most of the time, they don’t really get to know you; even the people who see you regularly –relatives, friends, teachers. They don’t necessarily make the effort to get to know who you really separately (and yes, it may take more effort to ascertain those differences.) They seem content with the superficiality of your twinship. So they notice you, yes, but they don’t know you.

* Disclaimer – Although Ms Pogrebin did contact Sadia to ask her to review the book, Sadia purchased her own copy. This review was not influenced in any way by the author.

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