Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, 4th Edition
A friend recommended this book to me when my first child, Presley, was seven months old. I was still nursing, but getting ready to stop, and definitely ready to stop the 4:00 a.m. feeding. Also, we had let Presley get into the bad habit of only wanting to sleep on someone. This was great when I needed an excuse for a nap, but not so convenient on busy days.
I devoured the book back then in a matter of hours and put the principles into practice immediately—with instant results. I especially liked how Dr. Weissbluth taught me to watch out for my child’s sleepy signs and then encouraged me to get him to bed before he became overtired. I was also very comforted by Dr. Weissbluth’s explanation of sleep as one of your child’s basic needs. You offer healthy food to your child when she’s hungry. You must also offer sleep when your child is tired—even if she doesn’t know it or thinks she doesn’t want it (just like my kids didn’t usually choose the vegetable on their own!).
As a correspondent for Good Morning America, I had the good fortune to interview Dr. Weissbluth as a part of a series called Baby’s First Year. He became a trusted resource and adviser, not only on the topic of sleep, but also subsequently on potty training and discipline.
Dr. Weissbluth’s philosophy that a well-rested family is the most important thing has stayed with us always. I can’t say that my kids never woke up at night or always went to sleep without a power struggle. We had our ups and downs—that’s parenthood. But from this book I learned the structure and rhythm of sleep and how to get back into it, an especially helpful skill when I was bleary-eyed at 2:00 a.m. or our schedule got out of balance after traveling or when someone had a cold.
Sixteen years have passed since I became a mother. In fact, my son just got his driver’s license. Now, some nights, my husband and I lose sleep for different reasons. But what I have noticed is that even as teenagers both my children are good at reading their own sleepy cues. They seem to remember what it feels like to be well rested, know when they should go to sleep, and don’t burn the candle at both ends. This makes for a much happier and harmonious family. I know we are all our best selves when we’ve given ourselves the gift of sleep. Fortunately, thanks to Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, most days (and nights!) we do! Thanks, Dr. Weissbluth!
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Books by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.
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