I was recently asked by publishing house Pinter and Martin to review a copy of a new book about baby and toddler sleep: Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family.
I love this book. Despite the plethora of baby and child sleep-help books on the market, it is rare to find one that doesn’t suggest strategies that go against most parents’ instincts. Before reading this book, the closest I had found was ‘The No-Cry Sleep Solution’, which has many helpful tips but I felt uncomfortable with the suggestion that it was unfavourable to nurse your baby to sleep. Reading ‘Sweet Sleep’ was like a breath of fresh air: finally, I had found a book that not only told me my parental instincts were OK, but actually advised following them.
‘Sweet Sleep’ has been written with breastfeeding families in mind, although I did not find it preachy about breastfeeding, nor disparaging about other feeding methods. In fact, many of the suggestions put forward would be easy to adapt if you are not breastfeeding. The basic premise of the book is that, if you are breastfeeding, safe bedsharing with your child/ren (no matter how young they are) will allow you to respond quickly to their nighttime needs and can allow the entire family to maximise sleep – an attractive proposition!
The book is very in-depth, covering various scenarios including: nights, naps, alternative arrangements, meeting your own needs, and working parents. There is extensive information on expectations of ‘normal’ baby/toddler sleep at various ages and stages, a discussion of SIDS and risks, and concerns around sleep training methods.
Despite the breadth and depth of topics it covers, it is not a difficult or ‘heavy’ read, and I found it easy to dip in and out when I had a few minutes free. It’s also incredibly handy as a reference guide and I imagine we will turn to it frequently in the next few months, as we are expecting twins (the book has a section on multiples).
I really cannot recommend this book highly enough, and I have already pressed it upon several friends. I will also be petitioning our local library service to add it to their catalogue!