Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Books to Read Before You Begin Sleep Training

Sleep training is a bit of a controversial topic among parents. It's also something that I wasn't willing to even consider without a lot of research. While researching the topic, I learned many things and did a lot of reading. The biggest thing I learned is that sleep training and "cry it out" are not the same thing. "Cry it out" is just one form of sleep training that some families choose to use. During my research, I came across several books that I felt were worth reading before making your own decision on what fits your baby and your family. I'll continue to add to this list as I read more books on the topic. (I want to be better prepared when we decide to have another baby. We had some really rough nights with Baby Fox.)

*Affiliate links are used in this post. They help you find the books on Amazon and they help us keep the blog up and running.*

I knew that I would be up all hours with Baby Fox, but when things seemed to be getting worse instead of better, I decided it was time to do some research. I wanted to understand more on the topic of baby sleep and how we could do something to help him sleep better at night - for his sake and ours! I'm not going to go into details of what we chose to do with our son because I feel that's a personal decision based on the child and family. I will say that things have improved a lot - we still have middle of the night wakings but he's able to fall asleep and stay asleep, which wasn't happening before.

Below you'll find the books I read during the newborn phase and my opinion on each. I'll continue to add to this list as I come across other books worth mentioning. You can click on the image of each book to find it on Amazon. All of these have Kindle versions available at reasonable prices!

The Happiest Baby on the Block 
by Harvey Karp

I read this book when Baby Fox was about a month and a half old. I love that this book looks at different cultures and what they do to soothe babies in the newborn phase. It also gives practical tips for soothing your own newborn. We tried out many of the tips with a pretty good success rate. If you have the chance, I would highly recommend reading this book before your little one arrives.

On Becoming Babywise
by Gary Ezzo

This is probably the most controversial book that I read. Many people assume that this book is about putting your child on a strict parent led schedule that ignores a child's signals. While some might take it to that extreme, the book actually says to always respond to your child's signals and needs first. This book offers some good advice even if you're not the "scheduling type." It gave me some valuable information on what can be expected at different ages. One thing I gained from this book was moving to an earlier bedtime which did wonders for Baby Fox.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
by Marc Weissbluth

This book is full of value for sleepers of all ages! Weissbluth goes through what you can expect from infancy through the teen years. He talks about sleep cues and working with your child to establish healthy habits from the start. This is another book that's valuable to read before the baby arrives! However, it's also a great one to read even if you're elementary school aged child is having sleeping problems.

The Sleepeasy Solution
by Jennifer Waldburger

If you're anti-crying, then this isn't the book for you. This book takes you step by step through establishing independent sleep habits with your child. The method used in the book does include checking on the child and attending to their needs throughout the night. It's worth a read if you're considering "cry it out" for your child.

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer
by Tracy Hogg

If you want to avoid "cry it out," then this is the book for you. This is another book that I think is a great read prior to baby's arrival. This book focuses on gentle methods of helping a baby fall asleep, including the pick up, put down method. This book also talks about baby temperaments and why some are better sleepers from the get go. I'm hoping to use some of the methods in this book with our next little one. I tried a few with Baby Fox and they just weren't a match for us at the time.

Have you read any books on the sleeping habits of babies that you would recommend? I would love to hear about them in the comments below so that I can enhance my knowledge of infant sleep habits before we decide to have another baby!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Five Books Your Baby Will Love

Life has been a bit crazy around here lately. We've been busy making more improvements around the house and of course, Baby Fox keeps us on our toes and quite busy. We're ready to jump back into blogging though and we hope to do just that this month! So, check back every Wednesday for a new post.

*Affiliate links are used in this post. They help you find the products we mention and they help us keep the blog up and running!*

I have a degree in early childhood education and have taught for several years. When Baby Fox was born, one of my top priorities was building him a library of his own. It's not a very big one yet but it has a lot of potential to grow with him. He's already starting to enjoy books and I thought I'd spend a little bit of time sharing our favorites.

(Sidenote: You'll find some recommendations from Usborne Books & More. We've been loving their books for quite awhile, which led to me becoming a consultant for the company. The link goes to my website and I'd love to talk about books with you sometime!)

Cloth Books
These definitely top the list of favorite books for the baby and me. We have two of these from Usborne Books & More that we absolutely adore. They are part of a series called "Hello Baby" - we currently have the penguin and owl book. I love that they are colorful and soft. Baby Fox is able to play with these books without hurting himself. The words are minimal as well which is developmentally appropriate for his age. I'm sure you can find versions elsewhere, but these are my favorite because they also come with a slider toy attached.

Board Books
Board books are thicker and more durable than other books. This makes them perfect for little hands. The thick cardboard also makes it easier for tiny fingers to turn the pages. We have several different books in this format, including some from Usborne Books & More. We also have some of the classics, such as Goodnight Moon and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. These make great baby shower gifts (which is where many of ours came from).

Stroller Books
We have two of these books and I can't wait for Baby Fox to play with them. They are small board books that come with a strap to attach them to a stroller. This means you can take reading on the go! The ones we have are from Usborne Books & More, but I bet there are more versions out there.

Bathtub Books
These books are great for bathtub play! They come with an easy to clean surface, which is perfect for dirty little hands and water play. We don't currently have any bathtub books but I'm sure we'll be acquiring some as he gets older and bathtime begins to double as playtime.

Interactive Books
There are so many books that fall under this category - lift the flap books, texture books, noisy books, etc. The list really could go on and on. Basically, any book that comes with extra features is an interactive book to me. We have a Peekaboo Sophie! book that is a lot of fun. It has several lift the flap options and when you lift the flaps, the animals have different textures.

When it comes to books, you can never have too many. They are an item that will grow with your child from infant into elementary school. If you ever want to chat about books or get recommendations, feel free to let us know! We'll be happy to help you pick out a few.