Parents who haven’t had any type of quality sleep for weeks know the feeling of desperation associated with complete exhaustion. You feel like you’ll do almost anything just to get more shut-eye. In those moments, it can help to hear reassuring words from those who have gone through the experience and lived to tell the tale. Just knowing that your baby isn’t the only one who wakes up every two hours, resists naps or will only snooze in the stroller can give you perspective. Here are some books that provide information and advice from parents who have lived it.
Sleep Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler and Preschooler
by Ann Douglas (Wiley, $19)
Most books about sleep spend several chapters focusing on the baby—what her needs are, why she may not sleep well, etc. But Douglas takes a different approach, starting off with a realistic look at how lack of sleep can wreak havoc with people’s bodies and minds. Based on interviews with hundreds of parents, Douglas offers tips for coping and then moves into practical suggestions for understanding your baby’s sleep needs and habits. Douglas takes a “no guilt” approach, suggesting that families need to find what works best for them, even if the newest sleep guru tells them it is wrong (she does, of course, outline the basic safety rules like having baby sleep on her back).
The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers
by Elizabeth Pantley (McGraw-Hill, $21)
Once a baby reaches her first year, many parents assume that sleep issues will be settled. So it can be a shock when a previously good sleeper starts waking or demanding to be in a parent’s bed over fears about the dark. Pantley guides parents through the changing habits of young sleepers, offering advice and information based on interviews with parents as well as health professionals. She tackles problems like switching from a crib to a big-person bed, sleep walking, night terrors and other issues that are likely to crop up once a baby starts walking. Pantley encourages parents to have a gentle but firm approach to sleep and to accept that sleep patterns tend to vary greatly from child to child.
The No-Cry Nap Solution
by Elizabeth Pantley (McGraw-Hill, $19)
Pediatricians and other experts extol the importance of naps for kids, but rarely tackle the nitty-gritty of how to get your baby to nap. Many parents let their little ones nap in the car or in a stroller, not realizing that they may be setting themselves up for three (or more) years of driving and walking each afternoon.
Pantley’s book provides an in-depth look at why children need naps and offers some ways parents can encourage little ones to nod off. Quality daytime sleep has a huge influence on nighttime sleep. Her advice about instituting a quiet time for resistant nappers is particularly helpful as is her chapter on what to do about babies who repeatedly take very, very short naps (20 or 30 minutes). This book will be a welcome addition to any parent’s bookshelf.