Thursday, April 22, 2010


There might be nothing more essential to life (okay, water and food are important too). But. job is reminding me how crucial it is to how you feel, act, think, and ARE everyday. It's also probably one of the biggest frustrations for parents.

Why won't my baby sleep through the night? What can I do to get my toddler to go to sleep easier? and on and on. We've already talked about CIO and how that's NOT a good idea....but what do we do from there? How can we encourage healthy sleep without resorting to sticking the kid in his room and booking it with earplugs? Haha...

Elisabeth Pantley is one of my favorite authors on this issue. Her books, No Cry Sleep Solution and No Cry Sleep Solutions for Toddlers and Preschoolers are super in depth and well written and encouraging! She talks about how the sleeping through the night myth is really just that, a myth. Many children do NOT sleep through the night until much later than societies expectations.  She also offers FREE downloadable booklets on sleep and other parenting issues that have such helpful info in them. She also has a new book on separation anxiety called The No Cry Separation Anxiety Solution - excited for this one! Here is a link to all of her books.
Dr. Dettwyler also conducts research on this and has done some good studies on how sleeping through the night is purely developmental. ( She also has GREAT breastfeeding commentary) Some children STTN at 10 months, some at 3 years... it just depends on the child. Just as you can't force a child to be ready to eat solids or walk or get all 20 teeth earlier than they actually do, the same is with sleep. There are of course things you can do to encourage healthy sleep as well as unhealthy sleep but in general, they with sleep through when they do!

In Noah's case - he has never truly "slept through the night" for 12 hours. I think we've have a couple of 7 hour stretches but in general is he up to nurse or be comforted at least every 3-4 hours (or more if teething, etc). Sleep experts also say that a stretch of 5-6 hours is considering sleeping through the night so many parents have VERY unrealistic expectations of their babies and children. Right now, he wakes to nurse and I think he is ready to night wean and learn how to soothe himself to sleep without rocking or nursing. I am going to tread lightly in this area and take it slow. We haven't started this yet but as soon as his molars are in and he is feeling well, we are probably going to try Dr. Jay Gordan's Night Weaning Plan.

I highly recommend the books and sites above and hope you'll check them out!

"Our children's early years represent the most important and influential time of their lives. It passes all too quickly. But meeting your child's needs during these first few years will pay off in many ways in the years to come." -Katherine A. Dettwyler, Ph.D.

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