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Book Review: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth

by Amanda on October 15, 2007
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),Product Reviews

hshhc-cover.jpg Regardless of your own theories about sleep and children, every parent can learn something from Dr. Marc Weissbluth’s ‘Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child’ (HSHHC). You don’t have to agree with the author on every point to learn something about healthy sleep habits for your child. This book is great resource book to read and keep on your shelf.

As the title suggests the book is about creating healthy sleep habits, so your child can be a happy child. I know I am that I am a much happier person when I get all the sleep I need. It makes sense. The book goes on to explain how to put your child to bed without crying, how much they should be sleeping, their quality of sleep, and what time they should go to bed. All things a new parent wants to know.

I learned how my child could get to an overtired state, if I don’t put her down right when she gets sleepy. It is when she reaches this overtired state that it becomes difficult for her to fall asleep on her own and she usually cries. I love it when I can find that magical moment and put my daughter down for her nap with absolutely no crying.

The author describes the cues that your child is moving into the sleep zone: becoming drowsy, decreased activity, slower motions, less vocal, sucking is weaker or slower, quieter, calmer, appears disinterested in surroundings, eyes are less focused, eyelids drooping, yawning.

The fatigue signs that your baby is entering the overtired zone: becoming overtired, fussing, rubbing eyes, irritable, and cranky (p.63).

The book also explains how many naps your child should be having and at what age. I honestly didn’t know that my daughter should have three regular naps a day. It seems like three naps a day is common knowledge among moms, but I didn’t know that. Also, the author suggests being diligent about protecting those nap times. He really encourages parents to respect their child’s sleep schedule, no matter what. There can be exceptions, but they should not be the rule.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from the book is to put my baby down to bed earlier. I tried it and it worked! The book explains that sleep begets sleep. The earlier you put your child to bed, the later they sleep. It dispels the myth that you should put them to bed later, so they will sleep in. It is hard, because my husband does not get to see much of our daughter in the evenings, but we know it is for her good. Our baby getting good sleep is just as important as her getting enough food.

The author suggests that bedtimes should be consistent and have a routine. We now have a routine with our daughter. She knows that after she gets her kisses, she is going to be laid down in her crib. I like the author’s theory that my baby cries, because she wants to play with me rather than being in a boring, dark room. It makes me feel good that my child wants to be with me.

Readers may not agree with Dr. Weissbluth Pro-Cry It Out stance. He gives parents two options to crying it out, one is gradual and one is cold turkey. The method is to correct any unhealthy sleep habits and to help establish routines. The cold turkey method could be really hard to, but supposedly has the fastest results. I am not sure if I could let my daughter cry and wail for an hour. I think you just have to know what you and your child can handle.

The book offers solutions and suggestions for many sleep problems and focuses a lot on colicky babies. Almost any sleep problem you could think of is addressed in HSHHC.

The book is organized very well, but some of the chapters are long. There are stories from real life parents of their actual experience. Some of the information can be technical at times, but the overall points are clearly explained.

I especially like this book, because it does not make me feel like a bad parent. I am an event-oriented person and it is very difficult for me to stick to a rigid schedule. HSHHC suggests that babies have biological rhythms. They will go to sleep one to two hours after waking up. It’s easy for me to go with the flow of my child’s schedule throughout the day. As opposed to other sleep theories, I like how the book says it is okay to feed my baby right before I lay her down for a nap. I have a peace of mind knowing that my baby has been changed, she has eaten, and burped when I lay her down. So if she does cry, I know it is not for any of those three reasons.

There is so much more to this book than what I mentioned in this book review. I honestly feel like a sleep expert after finishing the book. No matter what age your children are, I believe you can learn something new about establishing healthy sleep habits. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

4 Responses to Book Review: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth

  • Comment by McKenna
    October 15, 2007 @ 10:31 am

    I also love this book! I got so much out of it. My favorite “Ah-ha” moment was learning that earlier bedtimes do not mean earlier wake up times. I’m a big believer in early bedtimes and have two kids who are great sleepers because of the tips I’ve learned in this book!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kristi
    October 16, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

    I need that book! Alissa wakes up every night around 3am and cries until we let her sleep on the sofa. Maybe I can find out why. Thanks!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by kari
    July 31, 2009 @ 8:51 am

    This book was so helpful to me. I followed the advice and he has been sleeping great ever since. It took one night of crying for 1 1/2 hrs, which was very difficult, but it taught him sooo much. He now falls asleep with very little crying and stays asleep 10 hrs!!! He also naps in his crib 2x daily. I highly reccomend this book.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Britt Borremans
    December 5, 2012 @ 10:52 am

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