Getting your infant to sleep is one of the most, if not the most, important challenges for parents. Everything, from eating to a happy disposition, begins and ends with healthy sleep. This would appear to be a simple task: after all, the phrase “sleep like a baby” must comes from somewhere, right? Wrong. My wife and I are on our third baby and we still find managing sleep a difficult task.
The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby — and You by Janet Krone Kennedy proved to be an extremely useful source for parents like us who are sleep training their child. It is not only a great instrument for you and your baby when you are already in deep with sleep trouble, but also a great guide to keep you from getting into the danger zone of an overtired baby.
My wife and I were strong proponents of sleep training and, with our first two children, became huge advocates of Dr. Marc Weissbluth’s book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. To say that it has been our bible for sleep training would be an understatement. With the opportunity to use Kennedy’s book for our newborn, we jumped at the chance to explore a new authority.
Most notably for us, Kennedy’s approach matched ours. We used the “cry it out” method with our older kids and Kennedy stresses that this technique, or as she refers to it — the Extinction Method, is the quickest and most efficient method for teaching your baby how to sleep and self-soothe. While she takes a pretty hard and fast line with that (especially disagreeing with co-sleeping), we found The Good Sleeper to be supportive of other techniques including the Ferber Method or “crying with checks.” This was pleasantly refreshing and reassuring because whether it’s your first baby or third, it is important to feel that your choices as a parent are respected.
Additionally, the structure of The Good Sleeper makes it very accessible. If there was ever a complaint we had about Weissbluth’s book, it is that the structure and arrangement are not intuitive. Let’s be real: parents typically open these books when their child is already in sleep trouble, and so you are operating on a complete lack a sleep. At this point, your brain can barely process a simple conversation, let alone full chapters of sleep techniques. Kennedy seems to have rectified this. While she keeps a similar structure as Weissbluth, she writes in a clear and concise manner that makes it far easier to figure out how to get your child to sleep.
Finally, she does a terrific job of explaining the science of sleep in a way that helped us not only understand the methodology, but also helped us understand our own sleep patterns. We know as parents of infants that sleep begets sleep – though it really seems counterintuitive. Kennedy takes the time to explain these oddities, describing the adrenaline rush that ensues in the human body when it is overtired. She does this with non-technical language, making it simple to follow and easy to comprehend.
All in all, we found Kennedy’s book to be extremely useful and would highly recommend this to any new parent. She truly knows her science and makes it accessible in a way that fosters confidence and skill. We have gotten ahead of this game with our son, and are using Kennedy’s book as a guide in helping our son develop positive sleep habits from the start. We suggest you do the same.