A baby nap is magic.
Honestly, it’s like a huge reset button that turns a cranky baby into a laughing, excited, happy baby. Sweet Pea will usually moan and groan when it’s time for her nap, but no matter how miserable she was before she went to sleep, she’ll always wake up bouncing and raring to go. It’s astonishing.
After I published my post Why I’m Not Letting My Baby Cry It Out, I was contacted by Elizabeth Pantley, bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and she asked me to review one of the books in her No-Cry series. She has quite a few titles, covering everything from picky eating to separation anxiety. I chose to review The No-Cry Nap Solution because like I said, a baby nap is magic. It’s my secret weapon for getting Sweet Pea back to bubbly-bubbly mode… except for the fact that my amazing “weapon” has a broken trigger.
2 out of 3 times I’ll need to nurse her to sleep. Then there’s that miracle 1 out of 3 times where she’ll pass out on her own with no boob, no arms, no dark and no quiet. If there was a way to decipher how to turn 33% into 100%, I was taking it.
When the book arrived in the mail, Sweet Pea was due for some shut-eye, but of course she was more interested in the box the book arrived in than her magic baby sleep. I bribed her with a “nash-and-nap” (what I call breastfeeding her to sleep, haha) and dove right into the book.
The first part of the book does a great job of visually explaining the benefits of naps and how crucial they are to a child’s development. Elizabeth also describes something called “The Volcano Effect,” (or homeostatic sleep pressure if you wanna get fancy) and explains in depth why a catnapping baby will wake up fully rested but be tired and cranky sooner rather than later. After reading this section, she comes out with a game-changing page that makes me want to read every other book she’s ever written. On page 22 she writes:
“There are no absolute rules about raising children and no guarantees for any parenting techniques. Raise your children how you choose to raise them and in ways that are right for you. …Address only those problems that are true problems to you, and don’t create or imagine problems because someone thinks you have them, no matter if that person is family, friend, or expert.”
YES. I love this, and it’s something that she brings up every so often throughout the book. She understands that we are all different, and what might be acceptable for one family might be a constant nightmare for another. It’s always disappointing when we hear criticism about our parenting choices – there are enough people telling us we should or shouldn’t do this or that. Here’s someone who actually says “yes, if that’s what works for you, go for it!” She subtly reassures you throughout the book, in a way that feels like she is right beside me, talking me through everything.
What I really, really like about this book, is that it’s The No-Cry Nap Solution. She actually gives you directions on how to fix your problems – if they are indeed problems for you. Problems like:
“…if he falls asleep in your arms but wakes up the minute you put him in bed, you can find solutions in the chapter ‘Changing from In-Arms Sleep to In-Bed Sleep’ (page 136). If your baby is a great car-seat sleeper but can’t be moved out of his car seat, check page 198; if your baby breastfeeds or bottlefeeds to sleep, check page 154; and if your baby sleeps in a swing or vibrating seat, then check for solutions on page 166.”
I was reeeeally tempted to jump right to page 154. However, I kept on course and realized that this book is something I’ll keep referring to as my baby grows and changes. I found myself reading about how and when to switch from 2 naps a day to 1 nap a day, or even giving up naps altogether – something that isn’t relevant for me right now, but will be useful to know when the time comes.
Because I didn’t hastily skip to page 154, I was able to read about The Pantley Dance: a 6-step technique to help transition from in-arms sleep to in-bed sleep. Obviously, this seems to be a technique that Elizabeth has developed, but it features a testimonial at the end from a mother who used The Pantley Dance to successfully transfer her three-month old into the crib. In fact, there are several other “Pantley” methods to help with different tasks, and an impressive list at the beginning of the book thanks the 209 test parents and 273 test children who helped her with her research. That’s pretty cool, and considering the book won the 2009 Disney iParenting Media Award for Best Product, I think it’s safe to say that The Pantley Dance probably worked for a few other families as well.
While I was reading the book, I had Sweet Pea in my lap, stuck to my boob, when she fell asleep. I have no problem nursing her to sleep. It works for my lifestyle – and although yes, it would be convenient if I could just put her down and have her doze off on her own whenever I want – it’s just not that big of a deal for me. This is when I realized that I didn’t care about page 154 anymore, and that transferring her from my arms to anywhere else was the bigger goal here.
I followed some of the steps from the Pantley Dance, and after one try, I was able to get her from my lap to her swing. After the transfer, it took me a bit to get over the initial shock of “… really? You’re still asleep?” Sure it wasn’t a bed or a crib – but it wasn’t on my lap, and I was able to stretch out and sit on a real chair instead of schlumped over on a couch. She stirred a bit but didn’t cry, whine, or wake up. I really don’t know if this was a coincidence or if the technique really worked, all I know is that it was my first try and I was not defeated!
There are so many helpful tips in this book. I also learned a lot where Elizabeth breaks down “problems” and analyzes it from the child’s point of view. This is why I wake up when you put me in the crib. This is why I can sleep in the car for 2 hours. She also has a chapter called The Nap Resister which explains why Sweet Pea has been crawling all over the place instead of falling asleep when I know she’s exhausted.
However, my real revelation comes as I’m writing this book review. I really wanted to be able to write about how I followed the author’s included charts and schedules, and how I changed Sweet Pea’s napping style and tweaked her routine. The truth is, I found I didn’t need to, or even want to. I’m happy with the way things are right now. Sure, she nurses to sleep, but I can just as easily strap her into my carrier or wrap when she’s ready, and off she goes to dreamland. Eventually though, I will need to be able to transfer her to the bed without fail, and you know I’ll be implementing the Pantley Dance in full force!
If you think this book will help improve your little one’s napping routine, it is available here: The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems (Pantley)
But if you’re feeling lucky, the author has generously offered a free copy of The No-Cry Nap Solution to one winner! Enter via Rafflecopter below, and spread the word to any parents you know who could use a little nap magic! The winner will be randomly chosen on December 24th, just in time for Christmas 🙂
This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Winner must be 18+.
Learn more about Elizabeth Pantley and the No-Cry series books at her website www.pantley.com/elizabeth.
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Although I was provided with a copy of the book for review, all opinions are my own and I am not being compensated for this article.