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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: A step-by-step programme for a good night's sleep
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: A step-by-step programme for a good night's sleep
by Dr Marc Weissbluth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

5.0 out of 5 stars The best, evidence-based baby sleep book, 4 Jun. 2011
Our baby's reluctance to sleep nearly drove us mad.

But now, at 9 months old, people frequently comment on how incredibly happy and energetic she is. We always tell them it's simple: she gets enough sleep! Dr Weissbluth has found that getting adequate sleep is crucially important for everyone, but particularly for babies and children.

Unlike most authors of baby sleep books, Weissbluth is an actual paediatric sleep EXPERT; he has worked with baby and child sleep problems for several decades and has logged sleeping patterns of his patients to determine typical and outlying patterns of sleep. His book and blog provide helpful statistics and charts -- which may sound strange to new or expectant parents but believe me, you will find it useful in time!

As a 'how-to' guide, he avoids the one-size-fits-all approach taken by most books. He says there are four types of babies that will tend to require different approaches. A minority of babies will require some determined (and temporarily harrowing) sleep-training involving crying etc, while a larger group will more easily learn to self-settle and adopt a good routine.

The book requires some close reading, as others have mentioned. The layout is not always immediately clear to tired and frazzled parents (although he does now have a useful 'how to use this book' guide at the beginning). The book is long, but it is comprehensive. Weissbluth also has a useful blog where he provides things like statistics on naps, and very generously answers readers' questions.

Some reviews inevitably call him cruel and point to his support for 'extinction' (lengthy cry-it-out) IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES. For those who find this upsetting, please don't be put off reading his book! Even if you hate the idea of letting your baby cry, you will find invaluable information here. His rationale for 'extinction' is that it is simply quick and effective - after 1 night, most babies are greatly improved in their ability to sleep. He also has brilliant advice on bedtimes and 'sleep debts' that even the hardcore 'attachment parents' will benefit from. He is not opposed to co-sleeping, either. Unlike Elizabeth Pantley and the Drs Sears, he does not try to make parents feel guilty for doing what they need to do to ensure they and their babies are well-rested.

This book should really be given to every parent-to-be. I buy a copy for every expectant parent I know - even friends of friends!

Zita West's Guide to Getting Pregnant: The Complete Programme from the Renowned Fertility Expert
Zita West's Guide to Getting Pregnant: The Complete Programme from the Renowned Fertility Expert
by Zita West
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.59

84 of 97 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Highly flawed, 4 May 2009
This book may be helpful for people who wonder why they can't get pregnant when they work 100 hours a week, live off nothing but Diet Coke and junk food and are severely under/overweight. Most of her case studies seem to involve people like this and you have to wonder how many people are that uninformed. Some of the more advanced nutritional advice is interesting (such as avoiding alcohol around ovulation) but much of this book just plugs Zita West's very expensive clinic and seems to be written for the lowest common denominator.

There are two specific glaring omissions in this book:
1. She fails to point out that period pain may be caused by endometriosis or that this is a leading cause of infertility. This is a shameful omission as many people with endometriosis are not aware they may have this disorder.

2. She fails to inform readers having trouble with lubrication that there are several products on the market (one is called Pre-Seed) that do not interfere with conception and can actually help. Like a judgmental matron, she just says 'you can't use saliva or eggwhites' and that's all. Yet this is something that affects 50% of women!

If you are trying to get pregnant I would highly recommend 'Taking Charge of Your Fertility' by Toni Wessler, and consider buying the charting software too. This will help you understand your cycle to maximise your chances of conceiving, and it has a lot of useful related information and a far more supportive and intelligent tone than Ms West.

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