Archive for category Sleep Training

Baby and Toddler Sleep Problems: ‘Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child’ by Dr Marc Weissbluth, the book that changed my life!

'Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child' by Dr Marc Weissbluth

‘Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child’ by Dr Marc Weissbluth


I shall start by saying that not only is every child different, but every parent has different views and convictions that a book is unlikely to change. Plus solving toddlers’ sleep problems is much harder than preventing them as it demands a very consistent approach that not all parents are willing/capable to implement. So will this book work for you? I hope so. It helped Disorientata and since she has kindly mentioned Dr Weissbluth and Whatsbestfor in her blog, I have written here a bit more about it.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr Marc Weissbluth was first recommended to me by two of my good girlfriends (Eva and Stephanie, I will be always very grateful!). After 12 weeks of ‘not sleeping’ I felt exhausted and unhappy. My first baby had been very colicky right from the day we came home from the hospital. I have always been a 7-8-hours-a-night person so, with an average night of about 3-4 hours of interrupted sleep, I was not in good shape. I became more and more determined to find a solution. I had heard of many children that don’t sleep till they are 5/6 years old and that idea really scared me. My friends said Dr Weissbluth’s philosophy worked even with colicky babies, so I tried. I have to say It worked for both of my children, even if they had very different issues.

Why This Book Is Different

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child was first published in 1999 and has been a bestseller for years in the USA. The author is the founder of the Sleep Disorders Centre at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital, is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Northwestern University School of Medicine, a pediatrician and sleep researcher with 30 years’ experience.
With hundreds of sleep books on the market, this is different because it is based on clinical research. The material presented is not ‘just an opinion’ but is accompanied by a long list of references and citations, which I find very reassuring. The book is divided into three parts. Part I is about why sleep is so important, what constitutes a healthy sleep pattern and typical sleep problems and solutions. Part II is about the sleep problems that may arise within different age ranges – this covers from age zero to adolescence. Part III deals with special sleeps problems (night terrors, nightmares, sleepwalking for example).

What He Says (but there is much more!)

1) Not addressing and fixing a baby’s sleeping problem can cause a number of serious issues in later life.
2) Baby’s sleeping problems do not go away on their own. Studies show that sleep behaviours developed in infancy tend to carry over to toddler-hood, childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
3) Healthy sleep habits do not develop automatically and, most interestingly, parents can help or damage the development of healthy sleep habits! Read the rest of this entry »


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No more 5 am starts: Gro Clock sleep trainer

For about GBP 20.-, for me this is the best sleep trainer on the market – and the greatest invention if your toddler decides to start the day far too early for your taste!

Very easy to programme and simple for the child to understand, the Gro Clock gives a reference point as to whether or not it is time to get up. When the face of the clock is blue and you can see some stars it’s time to sleep; when the face is yellow and the sun appears it’s time to get up. The child can also have an idea of how long they have to sleep by following the little stars round the sides of the clock-face: they go out one by one as it gets nearer to wake up time.

Other useful points: 1) The night light can be adjusted to make sure it is the right brightness for your child, 2) The clock can be used for daytime naps with a separate function so you don’t have to keep changing the clock times for nightime and daytime sleeps, 3) If you unplug the clock to move it or to take away on holiday, it retains the settings, 4) It comes complete with a bedtime story book to teach your little one about the importance of getting enough sleep, and 5) it has an optional digital clock and audible alarm feature for use as your child grows and needs to get up for school.

Finally for an extra GBP 8.- you can also buy the Gro Clock Face that fits easily onto the Gro Clock and transforms it into a more fun bedside companion.

P.S. If your child is a stubborn early riser you will have to be very consistent, especially at the beginning. If the stars are still showing we stay in bed, and just say it’s quiet play-time until the sun comes up. Children like to test if you are serious or not! So it helps to set the wake-up time close to their actual wake-up time to begin with – it will be much easier to then move the clock closer to the time you desire.

My little one enjoys setting it up in the evenings (watching the sun close its eyes and change into the moon); every morning she is so excited to tell us that the ‘sunny sun sun’ has come up. I love it!

Gro Clock Gro Clock face

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