Product review: My sleep "bible"

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Categories Infants, Napping, Overnight, Products, Sleep

Someone asked me about sleep the other night, and why my kids go to sleep so early. (Oh, they do….it’s fantastic! By 7pm, they are tucked into bed and I am happily figuring out what us adults are going to have for dinner and whether American Idol is on tv tonight). Anyway, when it comes to sleep, I consult my sleep “bible”, Weissbluth’s Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

I don’t think there is any question more important to twin moms than “How do you get them to sleep?”. Because really, is there anything we miss more during those first few months than a full night (or even four straight hours?) of sleep? I certainly fantasized about it. And, even owning (and reading) this book didn’t get me sleep then. Oh, it so didn’t. But, by nine months, my kids were happily going down between 6:15pm and 6:45pm and sleeping almost 12 hours. I don’t do everything Weissbluth says you should do….I do go replace pacifiers on occasion (or poke my husband until he gets up to do it) and I have been known to lie down with Abigail so she’ll fall back asleep. But, Weissbluth provides a good outline (if a bit wordy in places) of how babies sleep and how to help them develop structured, regular naps and nighttime sleep.

And, with twins, I’ve found you can’t be flexible about nap times. The rule in my house is “If one baby’s going down for a nap, that other baby better be right behind him/her!” (said in a threatening voice to whomever might be considering breaking one of my rules. Yep, having twins has made me a bit obsessive.) Weissbluth explains when babies are naturally ready to nap during the day and how to help them develop this routine. The book was especially helpful where it talked about how to help colicky babies develop a schedule, since my Danny was a colicky, screamy mess for much of his first three months.

There are other good books out there. I’ve skimmed through parts of Ferber’s book, I really didn’t find Babywise helpful, but I think I was thrown by the VERY detailed schedule for twins in the appendix. I mean, I’m obsessive, but that schedule surpassed even my post-twins OCD. But, some moms have found it quite helpful. What books helped you help your kids sleep? Which ones do you swear by?

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15 thoughts on “Product review: My sleep "bible"”

  1. I swear by “The Sleep Easy Solution.” It’s essentially the “Weissbluth for Dummies” book, strong on implementing the structure and laying out the “how tos” and action plan, without all the “I’m a sleep doctor” speak. We used this book when the boys hit 4 months for night sleep, and within a week they were sleeping at least 10 hours a night. Once we got that set, we started working on naps, which they boys didn’t really “get” for another month or two (and now at 14 months, I’m still wondering when they’ll fully get it!). I also have Weissbluth’s book to fill in the gaps and think it’s an excellent resource.

    Our boys went to bed by 6pm until they hit the recent daylight savings switch. Now they’re at 7pm. We, too, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the early bedtime and when I hear folks say their baby goes down at 9pm, I cringe. It’s just so darn nice to have some alone time with the hubby!

  2. We practice Attachment Parenting with our twins and have never regretted it. We never followed any specified sleep regimen. The only book that I liked and thought useful and reasonable was Pantley’s, No Cry Sleep Solution and her follow up for toddlers.

  3. i have used all those books as references in the past and i think the most essential part of the sleep deal is the bedtime routine and the napping cues. i too implement a regimented nap schedule, one down with the other, whether they stay that way is questionable. mine do not really ‘get’ it either, tracey. but, yes, bed at 7….and i know this will pay off big time when school days come around. now, if i could just train myself to stay asleep through the night and mason to stay asleep past 430-500 (new phase, help….any suggestions for early wakings?) life would be peaches. smiles to all the mamas craving sleep.

  4. I definitely swear by the Weissbluth/Ferber combo. Weissbluth’s idea of CIO (if you’re going to let them cry, which he doesn’t quite insist on) is much more harsh, as he basically says that you should put them down at bedtime and go get them in the morning, no checking in between. That’s where I was more into Ferber’s method of periodic check-ins, and I swear by his ideas about sleep associations. On the other hand, Ferber thinks the 3rd nap should be gone by 6 months, and that the morning nap can start as late as 10:30. NOT SO MUCH!
    And I’m so with you and Tracey. I do not get these people who say their kids go to bed at 10pm. Mine are asleep by 7:30, and would completely melt if they went any longer than that.

  5. Were any of you also breastfeeding? My girls are 6 months and we co-sleep, but they are getting a little big. I can’t figure out any other way to sleep with them, then on the nursing pillow. I also usually nurse them to sleep, anyone do that? I did it this way with my singles and it worked great…but with two is starting to become a problem. Have I set myself up for a long road of no sleep?

  6. i breastfed my guys until just a few weeks ago – they are 14 months. sure i would let them nurse themselves to sleep, but only in the early months. we’d all catch a nap on the nursing pillow. by the time they hit 4 months we decided to do a bottle at bedtime so both my husband and i could feed them simultaneously, and more importantly, that i could have one break from breastfeeding. i pumped and we gave them EBM, or sometimes formula if we didn’t have any on hand. this bottle was an important part of our bedtime routine, so my guys never associated nursing with falling asleep. i think this is key.

    we did ferber at 4 months – meaning supportive check-ins while they were learning to get to sleep. they got it on the 3rd night and it’s been bliss ever since. they would wake up around 4-5am and i would tandem nurse them, we’d change them, and put them right back to sleep. they have been in separate cribs since 3 months because they are such active sleepers. they would wake up screaming because one had kicked the other in the face, etc. but their cribs abut one another.

    i think you need to do what works best for you! for me, i can’t imagine having to nurse them to get them to sleep every time, especially for naps and in the middle of the night. not when they learned how to put themselves to sleep so quickly and easily. being a SAHM, those naps and night sleeps were crucial for me to recharge myself!

  7. At 10 Months, our sleep schedule is:
    Up and out of cribs around 7:45
    Morning Nap starting at 10-10:30 until 12-12:30
    Afternoon Nap starting between 3:00 and 4:00 for about 1 hour, sometimes only 45 minutes
    Bedtime around 7:15-7:30

    Every time I think we’ve “got it,” the kids switch something up on me. My son used to go to sleep very well, and now he is screaming for up to an hour and a half about 5 nights a week. My daughter is still going to sleep very well, and thankfully can sleep through her brother and our attempts to get him to sleep.

    I didn’t really read any books, but always put the kids down at the same time, and I do let them cry for a time if I am certain no body parts are wedged between crib slats, etc. I read on someone’s blog that good naps=good night time sleep, and that has been very true for us. When my kids are overtired, they don’t fall asleep, they become more hysterical.

    I too love the early bedtime. But my husband doesn’t get home until at least 6, so I put them to bed by myself frequently. When we were training them to fall asleep, it was really hard to listen to them cry when I was here by myself. My husband was much better at letting them cry for a while before checking on them. I was/am not the best at that. Just recently we pushed back their 7pm bedtime by 15-30 minutes due to daylight savings. You wouldn’t think 15 minutes could make a difference, but it does!

  8. I am still breastfeeding my guys. We did breastfeed to sleep for the first few monhts, and continued to do so when I was feeding them at night. They eventually grew out of it and I would put them down in the crib sleepy, but awake. I didn’t tandem feed my kids–at night, I would rock one and feed him/her in the rocking chair, then put in the crib. Now I feed them, and then they each get a story in the chair—it’s a nice time for one on one mommy snuggles.

    We did CIO for Danny when he was 6 months old and the pedi said he was fine not eating at night. More weissbluth, less Ferber on the CIO—-it simply worked better for all of us that way. He would get totally riled up again if we went in to check on him. We never did CIO for Abigail. Happily, by 8 months or so, they were both going down with no crying. The CIO was necessary for us, but so sad.

  9. Well we tried the ferber method last night and I’m happy to report that it went really well. One of my girls didn’t cry at all. The other cried for almost 45 minutes at bed time. Then I went back to feed them at 11pm and again at 3:30am and one cried for a few minutes the other not at all when I put them back down. I haven’t slept alone in 6 months-it was awesome and so needed!

  10. I love all the comments and i’m taking all of them to heart. We’ve had some really rough mornings lately…the girls are both getting up at 430a ish! They are 15 months old and should be sleeping for 12 hours and they are sleeping about 8 at night! I was going crazy…crazy! So i emailed my handy dandy MOMS Yahoo group and thanfully one lady brought up a good idea for us. We were putting them to bed asleep. My husband and I would both grab one…get her ready for bed…feed her a bottle and after she ate she’d fall right to sleep…we’d tippy toe into their room and put them down. THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA! At 15 months they have NOT learned to soothe themselves back to sleep. NOW, since i finally figured it out..TWO whole nights in a row we’ve put them to bed awake and just moved their night time bottle up earlier. They have both slept till almost 6am! HALLELUIA! I can’t belive i have a 3.5 year old and never knew you should put them to sleep awake! I thought it’d be ok to put them to sleep after they feel asleep in my arms! O well, i’ve learned from my mistakes and will keep up with this and hope it gets even better by the day!

  11. What I took from Dr. Weissbluth is that sometimes, earlier to bed means better sleep. Plenty of our friends have tried keeping their kids up later so they sleep later in the morning, but that wasn’t the case with us. Bed by 7 means happiest kids the next day.

  12. What about when the kids are sick with colds? I’m at a loss here. We’ve been using the Weissbluth method (for the most part), but now, knowing they are sick, it’s hard to know how to handle. Any thoughts?

  13. we’ve always stuck by the rule that if their sleep is being interrupted by them being sick, in pain (i.e. teething), or going through a MAJOR milestone (like starting to walk, etc.), we do whatever we can to help them get and stay to sleep. we’ve been lucky and haven’t had to do it too much, but when they were recently sick with RSV we took them for LOTS of drives because it was the only way they could comfortably nap. as far as night, we’d go in right away if they woke up and were upset and helped them back to sleep by rocking/bouncing/motrin/etc. as soon as we felt they were on the up and up, we went back to our routine. sometimes it’s tough call to make, but you just have to use your best judgment and intuition.

  14. We did Babywise for the most part with my daughter and then had to modify the principles for the boys (sleep, eat, play, then back to sleep–basic routine). When the boys came along, one was on an apnea monitor, so we pretty much jumped at each peep he made. But I was RELIGIOUS about naptimes–same time for both boys, no questions asked. By 14 weeks, they were sleeping 8+ hours at night and now (11 mos), they’re down by 7/7:30 and up around 12 hours later; two naps: 1 1/2 hours in the morning and 1 1/2-2 hours in the afternoon.

    All three of my kids went through a phase during which they woke up at 5 a.m. (after they’d been sleeping through the night). I usually let them fuss for 15 minutes or so to see if they’d go back to sleep. Once I’d determined they weren’t hungry/going through a growth spurt, or sick, then they got to CIO. After a week or so, whoever was waking up early just talked and played and now they all go back to sleep if they wake up (which they don’t do much anymore). Letting them CIO at that time of the morning is a real pain because it’s likely that you won’t get any more sleep yourself that day, but it is so worth it to let your children learn to put themselves to sleep!!!!!!

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