Awhile back I mentioned that we were having a hard time getting our 2 1/2 year old, Simon, to fall asleep, stay asleep, and not wake up screaming in a hysterical panic in the middle of the night. He was on his second round of antibiotics due to a nasty ear infection that wouldn’t go away, and at the same time he also developed a severe case of separation anxiety. Every time his pain medicine would wear off he’d awake in the middle of the night and find himself alone in the dark. Even when his ear infection eventually went away he had by then established a routine of waking in the middle of the night in a sheer panic and lots inconsolable tears. It was heartbreaking, but it was also exhausting. We tried several popular methods of getting him back to sleep, but nothing worked for more than a few days before we were back to square one.
When One2One Network asked me if I wanted to review The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep by Dr. Harvy Karp, I jumped at the chance. My oldest son, Sawyer, who is now seven, was a very fussy and high needs baby who bordered on the edge of colicky. We successfully used Dr. Karp’s “Five S’s” method from his first book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, to help Sawyer become a better sleeping and happier baby, so I was hopeful that Dr. Karp’s newest book would have some useful information for helping Simon as well.
Much of the information in the beginning of The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep is aimed at infants, so I skimmed over that part, but noticed that the techniques outlined relied heavily upon these same Five S’s: Swaddling, Side/Stomach, Shushing, Swinging and Sucking. The book delves deeper into explaining the connections between these Five S’s and sleep, and how you can use them to help your baby become a better sleeper. Better sleep is beneficial for everyone!
The first thing that The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep helped me to do was to determine that Simon was not actually having night terrors as we had previously suspected. In true night terrors the child will wake up completely terrified, but will fall asleep again in a matter of minutes (as they are actually still asleep during the night terror episode). Simon was waking up terrified and inconsolable, but he wouldn’t fall back asleep again for an hour or more, and he was very aware of our presence in the room with him at the time. Our issue was one of extreme separation anxiety and a nighttime habit that needed to be broken.
We figured that if we were going to put forth the time and energy to address Simon’s nighttime issues and re-train him to sleep that we might as well switch our boys bedrooms around at the same time. My hope was that we could kill two birds with one stone and get him acclimated to both new sleeping arrangements and situations at the same time. Simon went from having his own bedroom to sharing a room with his five-year-old brother, and my seven-year-old got his own room.
I can’t really pinpoint the exact method that we used to get Simon back on track, but today he’s sleeping wonderfully again (even at naptime!). We used a combination of many of the tips and techniques that Dr. Karp writes about in The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep including patience-stretching, speaking “Toddler-ese” and most importantly, creating an unplugged bedtime routine. After two weeks of implementing these changes and making the bedroom switch, Simon was falling asleep easily and staying asleep all night long. He sleeps so well that I sometimes have trouble waking him up in the morning now!
The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep explains the reasoning behind sleep issues and gives you the tools needed to overcome those problems. Aside from the helpful sleep advice though, the book also contained a brief re-cap of the information shared in Dr. Karp’s book The Happiest Toddler on the Block, and I have found that knowledge to be invaluable as well. There are some fantastic toddler communication tools and tips in this book that have helped our days run a lot smoother and stress-free. I highly recommend it!
Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep to review; however, as always, all opinions are 100% my own.