The only thing I dreaded about becoming a mother was the idea of losing my precious sleep. So, before my first daughter was born, I did a ton of research on how to get my baby to sleep quickly.
And guess what?
My breastfed baby slept through the night by 8 weeks. When I mentioned my daughter’s success to other people, they were amazed, skeptical, or critical.
Then entered my second child entered the picture. Ugh.
Mama, if you’re exhausted and you’re starting to think it’s impossible for YOUR baby to sleep through the night, let me encourage you: my second born is NOT a good sleeper by anyone’s standards. The slightest noise wakes her up. The smallest deviation in room temperature will rouse her. There isn’t a single swaddle that can hold her (no joke, we use two swaddles).
And yet, Baby Elle is on a (relatively) consistent 3 hour feeding routine and she just slept her first 6 hour stretch at 9 weeks.
If my crazy baby can do it, yours can too.
The books below are my absolute favorite resources for great sleep. I’ve read them a few times over and correlate the sleeping success of both of my daughters with them.
While I can’t guarantee that these baby sleep books will make your little one sleep, but I can guarantee that these books will wildly expand your knowledge of infant sleep and give you a lot more confidence (and sanity).
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3 Baby Sleep Training Books Every New Mom Needs
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links I will make a small commission at no charge to you. I only recommend what I trust. Blunders in Babyland does not diagnose, treat, or give out any professional advice for any medical conditions.
Let’s start with the most controversial book first, shall we?
On Becoming Babywise is THE sleep training book. It’s a little old-school, but the advice is practical and designed to empower you (the parent) to lead your child into great sleep habits.
It focuses primarily on getting your baby on a predictable daytime routine.
By establishing a routine and positive sleep patterns, your baby’s nighttime sleep improves drastically. In fact, the authors boast that over 80% of Babywise babies sleep 7-8 hours by week 8 (according to one study). Now, I’m not sure if I entirely believe those statistics, but I do believe that their method definitely improves sleep.
Let me tell you my history with this book and why I love it.
I was introduced to Babywise through my mother-in-law. All of her four children slept through the night at a startlingly young age. When I asked her how she did it, this was the only book she recommended. So, I read the book front to back before my first was born.
For my second, I tried to implement the strategies by memory. It did not work out at all. My Baby Elle was fussy, woke up every 2.5-3 hours at night and took 30 minute naps throughout the day. Then, I reread Babywise and within two days she was taking 2 hour naps and sleeping 5 hours at night.
This book and its strategies are powerful.
Note: If you’re an extremely Type-A personality like me, be careful that you don’t go crazy with scheduling. The book warns you not to do this, but you’ll still be tempted to. Don’t fret if your baby doesn’t eat every 3 hours like you’d like him to. The point of a schedule is to add predictability to your day and train your baby’s metabolism–NOT to add more stress.
The Secrets of a Baby Whisperer
Oh, I love this book. The concepts are so easily implementable and practical, I feel like every new mom NEEDS this book.
Like Babywise, The Secrets of a Baby Whisperer delves heavily into creating a flexible routine for your baby and, in doing so, improving his sleep drastically. Unlike Babywise, Tracy Hogg goes into the mechanics of creating that rhythm and many other helpful topics. Her routine is very similar to the one in Babywise, (E.A.S.Y. — eat, activity, sleep, you-time), but where Babywise teaches you the overall concept, Tracy Hogg teaches how to achieve it.
She discusses important topics such as how to communicate with your baby, about the different baby temperaments (and how this affects sleep and daily life), and ways to calm your baby. I love her section on how to read newborn cues (something I think all new moms struggle with!).
In fact, I love this book period. It gave me such an in-depth understanding of my children’s behavior and “baby language.” I don’t think I could’ve survived without it.
Happiest Baby on the Block
How well can you calm your baby when she cries? You and I both know it’s difficult to get a baby to sleep when she’s screaming her lungs out.
That’s where Dr. Harvey Karp and The Happiest Baby on the Block comes in.
His website is immensely helpful to new and veteran moms alike. He’s also the creator of the Snoo rocking bassinet, and the Sleapea swaddle (which my baby uses) and he literally wrote the book on how to calm infants.
The Happiest Baby on the Block does talk about sleep quite a bit, but the star is his 5 S’s calming method.
Dr. Karp teaches about the 4th trimester and how, compared to other mammals, human babies are born 3 months early. So, by “impersonating” the uterus, we’re able to stimulate an infant’s “calming reflex.”
If done correctly, the 5 S’s activate this reflex. The 5 S’s are:
- Side or stomach position
Like Tracy Hogg, he doesn’t advocate “crying it out”, but he also has a very practical approach to infant crying. And, like Babywise and The Baby Whisperer, I don’t agree with some of his perspectives on sleep training or infant crying. BUT I think this is definitely a book you should have in your arsenal (ESPECIALLY if your baby cries a lot!)
Best Baby Sleep Books: Honorable Mentions
Does your baby’s behavior ever make you scratch your head (or want to scream?) The Wonder Weeks explains so much.
In fact, it would be right up on the list above if it wasn’t for the fact that this isn’t a baby sleep training book. The Wonder Weeks helps you track your baby’s development and discusses an important concept: developmental leaps. When your baby goes through developmental leaps, he might be cranky, sleepless, or otherwise out of sorts.
Reading through the book (and downloading the free app) is a great resource for how to help your baby develop, what activities to concentrate on to improve his new skills, and gives a clue as to whether your child’s sleep problems are biological, environmental, or parental.
Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems
Almost everyone has heard about Ferberizing. Richard Ferber’s Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems is one of the most controversial baby sleep books ever. There are so many misconceptions about this book and it has been relentlessly demonized by people that obviously haven’t read it.
Whether you agree with the cry-it-out method or not, it’s a great resource.
He discusses topics that most parents have to deal with at some point: night wakings, early nap wakings, bedtime tips, night terrors, etc. His book is very research-based (For me, it’s a tough read), but it’s extremely informative.
Do You Have Any Best Baby Sleep Books?
When you look at these books, you’ll notice that the advice is rather conflicting.
One author has a completely different opinion about infant sleep than the other. Don’t let that discourage or confuse you. There isn’t one right way to sleep train a baby (but there are plenty of wrong ways). I believe you should research and learn as much as you possibly can about infant sleep so you (THE PARENT) can decide what’s best for your children.
These books helped my breastfed baby sleep through the night quickly and created a routine for my children that continues to benefit us today. Hopefully you’ll benefit from them as much as we have!
What do you think the best sleep training books for newborns are? Let me know your favorites below. Do you have questions about my experiences with these books? Feel free to ask!
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