Elizabeth Pantley is the author of a whole stack of parenting books and is herself a mother of four. Her latest book is The No-Cry Nap Solution and claims to have ‘Guaranteed gentle ways to solve all your naptime problems’. I have been reading her book and trying out the ideas over the last few weeks.
I’ve read a lot of parenting books over the last few years and of those which deal with the early years all have something to say about sleep and naps. In general you find yourself presented with rules, ‘shoulds’, ‘musts’ and terrible forecasts if you dare to stray from the prescribed method. One of the first realisations I came to about this book is while it is packed full of ideas, Pantley is always very clear that they are just that: ideas. They have been tested with many families around the world and been found to be effective but they might not be right for you and your child. In every chapter there are suggestions for other ideas from chapters which cross over and the reminder to pick, choose and try what works for you. For me this was a big winner. So often the ‘one size fits all’ methods can leave parents for whom it is not working feeling frustrated and that doesn’t help anyone.
The book starts with a section on Nap Magic which has lots of great information looking at the needs and benefits of naps, amount of overall sleep children need, sleep cycles and generally answers the question: why are naps important?
The second section is devoted to Newborn Babies. As I have just welcomed my second child this section is particularly relevant to us (as are the tips concerning older children welcoming siblings). It is split into three chapters: Growing into a Napping Rhythm, Nap Facts: Newborn Babies and Nap Tips for Newborns. This section is concise and easy to understand so even the most sleep deprived of us won’t find ourselves swimming in a sea of words. The basic message is easy to grasp – newborns like to sleep little and often (so don’t be stressing when they don’t go through the night!).
The third section is the bulk of the book: Solving Napping Problems. Again it is made clear that something is only a problem if you think it is. For example: babies like to be held when they nap, parents like to hold them and for the most part this is lovely for both but there may come a time when you want to move on and the book has a whole chapter of ideas devoted to helping you do this. (As I type this review my own newborn is making my arm go numb!)
Other areas include: catnaps, nap resisting, shifting schedules, falling asleep without breast / bottle / dummy, car naps and a whole host more. If you have ever had a child who will only nap in the car or pushchair did you ever stop to think why it was so effective? I certainly didn’t; the book unravels the reasons why babies like to nap in these places and then suggests ways in which you can help them move on. For this chapter alone many of my friends agree that the book is worth its weight in gold! In my (brief) experience of parenthood I don’t think I’ve heard of a nap problem which is not covered by this book. The ideas for change are all from the gentle school of parenting where, as the title suggests, crying is not an option.
As a childminder who has had to deal with napping issues and as a parent of two I think this is an exceptionally useful book and one I have no hesitation in recommending to parents.
The No Cry Nap Solution is £9.99 and is available for £8.99 at Bambino Goodies Amazon Store.