Lullaby, and good night

So, I know he’s not for everyone, but I bleeping love Dr. Ferber. His sentiments fit really well with our parenting style, and I swear to god his is the ONLY book on children’s sleep habits that isn’t badly written, condescending, or oversimplified. It’s so refreshing to read a parenting book that treats you like an intelligent human being.

Sleep training is one of those awfully fraught parenting issues these days – at least, it seems to be among priveleged middle-class honkies like myself. I get the sense that my parent’s generation didn’t fret about it so much, but parents my age – well, for example, when Dooce wrote about her experience with sleep training, the post got 475 comments! Do you let your kid “cry it out” or do you “co-sleep?” Do you start training at 3 months, at 9 months, or not at all? Are erratic sleeping habits just a phase kids go through, or the mark of uneducated parenting?

Well, I sure as hell don’t know the answers to those questions. And reading most of the major books on the subject hasn’t made me any more of an expert on the topic. But I do know that I don’t function well without sleep, and nor does my husband or my kid. And it makes sense to me that children do well with structure, and repeated rituals, so they know what to expect. So the upshot of it all is that we’re currently “Ferberizing” the Hatchling. Which sounds like some kind of dry cleaning, but actually just means regularizing her sleep habits a little, and putting her to bed while she’s still awake. And I have to say, teething troubles aside, it really seems to be working. There’s not so much crying, which is a blessing, and last night the Hatchling slept from 9pm until 5:30 this morning, and then again until 7:00. It was – well, weird, actually, but definitely a weird I could get used to!

I expect all this twittering about sleep training is making my mom roll her eyes in an “a bunch of fuss about nothing” manner (admit it, mom!), but what can I say? I’m an over-educated, over thirty first-time mom, and while I’m sure we’d survive without the assistance of any parenting books, sometimes it’s helpful to get outside opinions. I mean, honestly, what else would you expect from a professional grad student? If I’d do research for an academic essay, you’d better believe I will for the magnum opus that is my kid.

Which is all a very rambly way to say: what do you all think? Are parenting books worth the time? Which ones did you like best/least?

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