Thursday, November 12, 2009

Book Recommendation: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

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I know many of you have long-awaited my review on Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. A friend borrowed it, then I was also wanting to get Baby Whisperer posts done...I have since decided I can't wait for that. Thursday will just be review day and I will rotate through different books to review.

On to the review. This is a great book and a great compliment to Babywise. The book discusses the importance of sleep and the science behind how sleep works. It talks about the benefits of sleep and importance of teaching your child to learn to sleep unassisted.

Weissbluth discusses sleeping norms and what to expect from babies of different ages. He also talks about different methods of how to sleep train your baby.

This book is well worth the read, and I would say well worth the investment. The book is definitely incomplete by itself; it is really only about sleep. There are also many things I disagree with in the book, and things I think should have been clarified better. I will, of course, discuss those things in the future. Weissbluthalso contradicts himself a whole lot, and the book really isn't organized very well.

The book is a hard read. The first 70 pages are great. Then you slam into information that is frankly irrelevant unless your baby has true colic. Then it gets good again a couple hundred pages later. I really think I could take this book down from about 500 pages to 200 at most and still maintain all necessary information. You also really need to read the entire book before you start implementing things because he makes absolute statements early on that he later retracts for certain age groups.

Despite the flaws of the book, I highly recommend it, especially if you are sleep training. It will give you the courage to continue forward.


18 comments:

Val said...

I call this book my sleep bible. I tell my friends to consult baby wise/baby whisperer for sleep the first 5 months and then shift to this book after that. The chapters on age groups after 5 months worked very well for my kids.

Michael and Natalie said...

I agree on the sleep bible comment. I usually recommend BW at the same time as HSHHC becaue if someone isn't 100% committed to do a sleep training program, this book will show them why it is so important. Are you going to do a more extensive review?

Kate Bailey said...

I love the "sleep bible" name, because that's what I call it, too! I love the routine of BabyWise, but there wasn't enough info in there about how to sleep train, and we did have a truly colicky baby, so we needed the tips that Weissbluth offered! Every time we go through a sleep transition or something, I check back to this book and I've always able to resolve the problem within a few days. Thanks to this book, my daughter has been sleeping like a champ since she was 3 1/2 months old! And I love all of the info about the benefits of a healthy sleep schedule... definitely makes you realize why sleep training is so important.

Elise'smum said...

I am not sure if this would be a good place to post a question about sleeping? I haven't read HSHHC yet but might pick it up. My almost 4mth old is a good napper hasn't needed any CIO like my 20mth old did. She began sleeping through the night around 10 weeks old with help of a paci. Now, though she's been waking up ~ every 3 hours after her dream feed at 1030PM not crying but unswaddled and playing. I wake up give her a paci reswaddle and she's back to sleep. I bet she's experiencing a new sleep interruption/transition at night but I'm confused as to wether I should have let her just go without a paci and rewrap and try to get back to sleep her self now perhaps starting CIO at night? She's started into an extended schedule 2.5-3.5 during the day now too. What would you do? I'm tired of getting up to give her the paci/rewrap and mostly nervous I'm developing a bad habit.

Todd and Noelle said...

I have a sleep question, too! and definitely plan on checking out the book. my 4 month old is NOT a good napper. i've read many of your posts on troubleshooting and have tried varying waketimes, nothing with good, consistent results. i'm not sure what to do other than "plug away"! but he has been a great nighttime sleeper - UNTIL the last 10 days or so. nothing terrible, but he wakes up and wants to eat once in the night or very early morning, about 80% of nights. i usually wait 10-15 minutes, then go feed him, not wanting him to wake my other 2 young children. he seems really hungry, but i don't think he's going through a growth spurt becuase he doesn't seem extra hungry during the day. he was going from about 10:15 pm until 7:00 am until 10 days ago. At this age, would you feed him in the night on the nights he wakes up, or not? i don't mind feeding him, its not that hard, but i am so afraid of creating a bad habit!

Jessica and Deric MIller said...

I was given this book as well as Babywise. I really loved the information on sleeping as well as the information given for the first couple months of infancy. I found implementing Babywise and this book very resourceful. My baby was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks and has continued to be a good sleeper.
I wish there was more detailed examples and less personal stories.
I'd recommend reading it and give it to my friends to read! :)

Plowmanators said...

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts on the book!

Plowmanators said...

Michael and Natale, yes, I will be doing several posts on specific things I like and dislike, just like with the other books I have reviewed. More to come in the future!

Plowmanators said...

Elise'smum,

If the swaddle is causing her to wake up, then I would try not swaddling her. Try one arm out and see how she does.

You want to be sure she is waking up because she is unswaddled, and not that she is waking for some other reason and then working out of her swaddle.

Four months is a disruptive time for babies. See the blog label "wonder weeks and the post "four month sleep disruptions"

Plowmanators said...

Todd and Noelle,

He might not be waking in the day more because he is getting what he needs at night. It also might be the four month thing (see above comment). If he was sleeping well before, he will go back to it once the reason for his waking passes.

Joseph said...

What do you think of the Ferber method?

Plowmanators said...

Joseph, I haven't ever used it. I have heard from parents who have used it and it worked well, but I haven't every looked into it.

davidsarah311 said...

Loved HSHHC too! It's my go-to book, but I agree with you. The book can be a little confusing. He & his son have started a blog & he answers sleep questions. (His answers are usually one sentence long, nothing like yours!) weissbluthmethod.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/my-problem-with-dr-sears-by-dr-weissbluth-5/

Plowmanators said...

oh yeah I looked at that a while ago. Thanks for reminding me!

Tiffany Larson said...

I have a 3 week old and am working on getting him to go down for a nap without needing to be held or rocked. I'm hoping to not need to do a CIO session down the road. For every nap, I try to put him down as soon as I see sleep cues (usually yawning) and he will lay quiet in his crib for a couple minutes but then start wailing. Every time. I then pick him up and let him stay in my arms until he's asleep and then put him back in his crib to sleep. Any suggestions?

Plowmanators said...

Tiffany, if you want to avoid CIO but want to teach self soothe, see the book "The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems." I have a post on the 4 S's (see the label)that will give you an idea of what to do.

You might be putting him down to late. For some babies, yawning is a "too late" cue rather than a "just right" cue.

Also, if you don't swaddle, that is a great thing to do.

D & H said...

I also think the book is a little too detailed...it could easily be shortened which would also make it easier to read. I also am annoyed by how much he contradicts himself; for example that you should NEVER wake a sleeping baby (which I disagree with). Then, he later gives times when you need to wake a sleeping baby. I guess never say never. :) I am only about halfway done reading and looking forward to the more pertinent information later on in the book. All the research reviews are not my favorite.

the Lola Letters said...

Ha ha!

Brilliant observation on the contradictions! I LOVED that book in some ways, but the contradictions nearly drove me batty!

"NEVER, EVER wake a sleeping baby."

{Repeated/reiterated emphatically 10 times}

100 pages later...

"If your baby is sleeping too long, you should maybe wake them so it doesn't interfere with their next nap or bedtime....

WHA?

But you just said...

Ugh!

So confusing!

A lot of great insights though.
And yes, it DEFINITELY could have been 200 pages! Great review.

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