Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West

The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up HappyTitle: The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight
Authors: Kim West, LCSW-C with Joanne Kenen
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Publication Date: January 2010 (revised & expanded edition)
Format:  Paperback, 440 pages
Age Group: Adult, non-fiction

In The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight, Kim West provides a lot of information on the science of sleep as well as a program to teach children from newborn to age five how to sleep better on their own.  The first four chapters provide a great foundation for understanding how children sleep and why it is so important to help teach them to self-soothe and to not rely on their parents to help them get to sleep in the middle of the night.  Although I read the majority of the book for the purpose of doing this review, most people could then skip to the chapter that corresponds to the age of their child as much of that information is repetitive, simply adapted slightly for different age groups.  The last section of the book also has some chapters that everyone should probably read on medical issues that can cause sleep difficulty, dealing with breaks in the normal routine, and taking care of mom and dad.  The chapters about co-sleeping and twins and siblings will also be helpful for many families.

My daughter, Elizabeth, will be seventeen months old next week and we've gone through our share of sleep issues.  I worry quite a bit about her sleep because I have major issues with insomnia and I really don't want her to go through that.  I wish that I had known about the Sleep Lady and her Sleep Lady Shuffle when Elizabeth was born!  Reading the chapter on newborns and infants, I was feeling like we had done everything wrong from the start.  From the first nights in the hospital, Elizabeth wanted to be held constantly to sleep.  Since that was the only way that any of us were getting any sleep, that is what we ended up doing.  We continued to do it when we got home and one of us often fell asleep in the chair in her room with her on our lap.  She seemed to have a lot of trouble with a gassy belly in the evenings so we would hold her and then I often held her for naps during the day.  Then we traveled to visit the grandparents when she was six weeks old and she hated the bed so I brought her to bed with us so she would settle down and not disturb the rest of the house.  When we got home, I thought it would be a fight to get her back in her bed so she just continued sleeping with us and no one was getting much sleep.  We finally got her back in the crib with much less fuss than I thought there would be but she was still waking up a lot at night.  We finally ended up trying the Ferber method of letting her cry it out for a period of time and that did work in only a few nights.  Those nights were SO hard on me though.  I absolutely hated hearing her cry.  Although I know there would have been tears with the Sleep Lady Shuffle as well, I wonder if Elizabeth and I would have done a bit better with that method since it is more gradual with the parent moving away from the crib over a period of nights.

One thing I loved about this book was all the stories from parents about how the Sleep Lady method has worked for them.  It helped me know that I was not alone in not starting out quite right and showing me that we can still work with Elizabeth to develop better sleep habits.  The stories also show how easily the Sleep Lady Method can be adapted for different parenting styles.

West places a heavy emphasis on having a schedule and routines to help the child know when it is time to eat, sleep, and play.  This gives the child a sense of security in knowing what is coming and what is expected of them  West also acknowledges the need for some flexibility in these schedules and often directs parents to follow their instincts about what will work best for their child.  I wish that I had developed more of a schedule with Elizabeth earlier, although for a period of time she seemed to fall into one on her own.  We are now in the transition phase between needing two naps a day or only one and I think having a schedule before this would have made it a little easier.  So now we are working to change the nap pattern and set up a schedule at the same time.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book for new parents or for parents who need help with their child's sleeping.  Obviously, the earlier you start working on a child's sleep the easier it will be but West demonstrates success with her method with preschoolers as well.  She packs a lot of information and advice into the book and it may be hard to remember it all for a sleep deprived parent but West breaks it down and makes it sound manageable.

I received this book from Caitlin at FSB Associates for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Links to Amazon.com are affiliate links and I do earn a small percentage for each item purchased through those links. Any other referral or associate links will be noted within the post.

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