So, I finished Elizabeth Pantley’s The No-Cry Sleep Solution, and I have to say, I’m surprised. I knew I was already using some of her techniques – specifically the bedtime routine (seriously guys respect the bedtime routine, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT that we get lazy and don’t do it the girls are up ALL NIGHT) – and I kind of expected there to be a lot more in the book itself that I enjoyed & found usable. Instead, I found myself wondering who the hell this woman thinks she is to write a book – actually, a whole series of books. She is a proponent of attachment parenting and co-sleeping, which I’m not super into – which is fine, except that most of the book is written as though OF COURSE you’re doing these things because you LOVE YOUR CHILD and only somebody who doesn’t LOVE THEIR CHILD would insist on them sleeping somewhere other than their bed (despite the fact that co-sleeping is famously controversial, all major medical bodies regularly flip-flop their position on it, and HELLO BB and I sleep in a full size bed and have twins. #sorrynotsorry). Honestly, I’m all for attachment parenting. You want to put your kid in your bed and have them attached to your boob for multiple years? GREAT, I’M SUPER HAPPY FOR YOU AND HOPE YOU AND YOUR CHILD ENJOY YOUR BONDING TIME AND GROW UP TO HAVE A HAPPY AND HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. But I cannot do that. I need my alone time, I need to have some separation and give my children time to bond with their father and grandparents and whatever, REASONS. I’m absolutely not shitting on attachment parenting (in fact, I haven’t actually read the “official” book on it, but I fully intend to, simply to have a full understanding of what it is).
So, sort of went on a tangent there. But honestly, I was underwhelmed by this book. There was a lot of “You know best, so do whatever you want, even if it goes against what everyone is telling you” following right on the heels of REAL, MEDICAL information, like “babies must sleep on their backs because it reduces the risk of SIDS by over 50%”. I felt like this was irresponsible, like she was giving mothers permission to do things that are LEGITIMATELY dangerous just because it seemed to work for their child. She also openly says at several points that you should IGNORE advice from your PEDIATRICIAN if it disagrees with your motherly instinct – which, again, I think is exceptionally irresponsible. If you’re finding yourself consistently disagreeing with your pediatrician, and he or she is not respectful or supportive of your parenting choices, you GET ANOTHER PEDIATRICIAN, not ignore the person who is supposed to be giving you medical advice. I actually tried to look up Pantley’s credentials around this point, thinking that she must be pretty well-educated and respected to go about giving such ballsy advice. She’s pretty cagey about her actual credentials – every biography about her simply lists her as a “parenting expert” and talks about the fact that she’s a mother and an author and parenting columnist and gives talks on the subject fairly frequently. Nothing really mentioned about what credentials she had to get her to that point (besides the four kids), so I have to assume she really doesn’t have any. I’ll let you know if I discover otherwise.
So, besides the fact that she comes across as super judgmental and kind of reckless with the type of advice she’s flinging about as though she has a right to do so, I also found her advice to be…useless? That’s not really the right word. But it was a lot of what I saw as common sense. I did really like the idea of tracking your baby’s sleep patterns for 10 days, then looking back at the log & seeing when he or she is sleeping and where there may be problems; similarly she recommends logging what the baby does in the hour or so before bedtime to help determine if the baby is getting all wound up right before bed. But beyond that, her advice is common sense – make sure your baby is sleeping the right amount for his or her age, because overtired babies fight more sleep. Start a bedtime routine, and make sure it’’s quiet and in dim lighting and guides your baby to feeling sleepy and signals to him that it’s time for sleep. Learn the difference between your baby’s “sleeping” sounds and the sounds when she is actually waking up, and if he or she is simply making noise in her sleep – don’t wake her up! Teach your baby to fall asleep in his crib (or basinett, or your bed, or wherever you want her to sleep) instead of your arms so you can do things while your baby sleeps! I was honestly underwhelmed.
And that was how I felt about the book as a whole – when I wasn’t frankly offended by the tone she used or horrified by the irresponsibility of her advice, I was underwhelmed by the common sense nature of what she had to offer.