book review

Book Review: Baby Sleep Solutions- Plus a Giveaway!

I am excited to let you know that Katrina Villegas has kindly provided me with an extra copy of her fabulous new book Baby Sleep Solutions: Exhausted? How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night in 6 Easy Steps to giveaway to one of my readers!

My kids have never been good sleepers. My daughter did not sleep all night long consistently until she was two-years-old. My two-year-old son will still wake sometimes one to three times a night. Needless to say, the past four years have been pretty tiring.

When we came home from the hospital I tried to establish a routine right away but as hard as I tried to stick to it, it never worked. At two months old, Abby was always a holdout at bedtime. Sometimes it felt like a war of attrition, seeing how long she could stay awake and who would fall asleep first. She didn’t want to rock in our glider, she didn’t want to be walked or swayed, she wouldn’t just lay in her bassinet or Pack ‘n Play to sleep, she didn’t even want to nurse to sleep. At that time I didn’t yet have a swing, so that wasn’t an option. I was almost at my wit’s end but then discovered if she would lay on a blanket on the living room floor next to my husband she’d fall asleep in no time flat.

That period ended and she didn’t want to fall asleep that way any longer, then we went through several other frustrating ways to try to get her to snooze, usually ending with nursing to sleep, until she was 9 months old. That’s when I decided that it was time to give a gentle “cry it out” a try. When she would wake in bed I would come in and give her a hug and reassurance, then leave the room. Each time I would lengthen the time I waited before entering her room. After a few days, she figured out how to self-soothe and would lay right down and fall asleep when she was put in her crib at night. It was great.

My son was a different story. I tried to establish a schedule and apply what I’d learned with my daughter but he just wouldn’t have it. He wanted to nurse to sleep and only nurse to sleep. Both children would not take bottles at home, even when very hungry, so it was a difficult time for me.

I tried to read anything about babies and sleep that I could get my hands on. I tried all the tidbits and advice that everyone tried to give me. I scoured Pinterest for a solution. I spoke to my lactation consultant and pediatrician. I even eventually tried the “cry it out” method. “Cry it out” did not last very long because he was very strong-willed and persistent and he would wake my daughter, who’s bedroom was next door to his. So, continue to nurse to sleep we did.

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Author Katrina Villegas kindly offered to send me a copy of her new book, Baby Sleep Solutions: Exhausted? How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night in 6 Easy Steps, to review and I jumped at the chance. I don’t know if we’ll have another child, but I was hoping that perhaps I could glean some wisdom that could help me in my current situation or possibly help us in the future with another baby.

Baby Sleep Solutions

First impressions

When I first opened the package, I noticed that this isn’t a large book, especially compared to many of the other parenting books I’ve read.

After I began reading I noticed that it’s not full of photos or a lot of the unnecessary filler material that make up so many self-help and parenting books. Katrina’s personality shines through and the book reads as if she’s your friend and you’re having a conversation about a parent-lead approach to establishing a schedule for you and your baby.

Villegas’ book is full of great advice and simple solutions for helping your child sleep through the night, some I had tried and some I hadn’t. She stays on point and encourages parents to keep their child’s schedule routine, simple, consistent, and quick. The book is easy to read and understand.

She promotes an eat, wake, sleep routine (EWS) that begins in the daytime and carries through to keep nighttime sleep hygiene consistent. It sounds simple enough: feed the baby, keep them awake, and then allow them to sleep, following a schedule that works for you and your family.

Looking back, my children’s routine followed a different pattern: eat, sleep, wake, which is probably why my son has had such a hard time getting to the point where he can sleep through the night.

Villegas encourages full feedings, swaddling, noise machines, and several other ways to help your child stay asleep once asleep.

My thoughts

I found that I whole-heartedly agree with just about everything in the book. I think that much of the advice in the book is great and would definitely be helpful for a parent hoping to help their child sleep through the night.

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We’ve used a noise machine playing white noise with both kids, we’ve used sleep sacks for both to keep them warm in the crib (since blankets in a crib are discouraged because of a possible link to SIDS), I’ve always tried to keep the lights on and curtains open during the day to establish my newborns’ circadian rhythm, etc. I know that each baby has individual needs and preferences, for example, my son hated to be swaddled and was never happy if he was, so not all suggestions may work for everyone and their babies.

The only issue I find with Baby Sleep Solutions‘ advice is that while the routines and schedules, especially EWS, may be easy to establish while on maternity leave or if you are a stay at home parent, it seems to me that they may not be ideal for babies who attend daycare and have parents who work.

I had a great daytime routine while on maternity leave for eleven weeks with my daughter and nine weeks with my son, but they found it difficult to adjust to another caregiver and the routine and commotion associated with daycare and being around other children. Expecting someone outside of the home to follow the same schedule as at home may not be feasible.

In our case, since there were several children and one caregiver at our old babysitter’s home, our previously established routines couldn’t always be followed because a potty training child might need help in the restroom, more than one baby would want to be fed at a time, kids would need to be taken to or picked up at school and the baby would fall asleep in the car, you get the picture. When Grandma and Grandpa started to watch the children I thought maybe a more consistent routine would develop- and it did- but they weren’t able to place Oscar in his Pack ‘n Play and have him fall asleep that way, so they got in the habit of rocking him to sleep and holding him through naps.

While I tried to keep my children on a schedule and know that they do function best on a schedule, the suggested schedules I have seen where babies are put to sleep for the night at 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. never seemed realistic or practical for our family. Both my husband and I work until 5:00 p.m. and often do not arrive home until 5:45 p.m. or later. If we were to put a baby to sleep that early it would mean we would only have a couple of hours of real awake time outside of feeding together a day.

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When I was home with Abby on maternity leave, for a short time I did attempt to her to bed at 6:30 each evening. It was nice because my husband and I had a chance to eat supper and watch a TV show together, but she would always wake up at 10:00 p.m. and want to be awake for hours, while we wanted to sleep.

Overall, I think this is a fantastic book and would recommend it to any expecting or new parent! The information within is sound and can easily be put into practice.

Visit Villegas’ website, Mama’s Organized Chaos, for more great information!


Giveaway!

I am excited to let you know that Katrina Villegas has kindly provided me with an extra copy of her fabulous new book Baby Sleep Solutions: Exhausted? How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night in 6 Easy Steps to giveaway to one of my readers!

How to enter

To enter the giveaway, you must be a follower of my blog and have added a comment below. The winner will be chosen at random. This giveaway is running from 1/5/2020 through 1/11/2020 at 5:00 pm CST. The winner will be announced via my blog within 48 hours of closing and will have 48 hours to respond or I’ll move on to select a different winner! So stay tuned!

Have you read this book? I’d love to know what sleep problems your baby may be experiencing or how you’ve dealt with your child’s sleep problems in the past.

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