Thursday, November 1, 2012

Review and Giveaway: "No-Cry" books (ARV: $12.00 US)

When Joseph was a baby, I was half convinced there was something wrong with him. Well past the newborn stage, he was waking frequently at night to nurse and preferred to sleep in bed with us. It seemed that every other baby or toddler his age was sleeping through the night; or, at least, sleeping  for more than 3 hours at a time.

Thanks to my friends at La Leche League and by reading a couple of books, I learned that my son's sleep patterns were very normal for a child of his age. Babies and young children are biologically wired to awake frequently, seek the comfort of their parents at night and they  need to nurse often. It wasn't until recent history that parents expected young children to sleep alone, in their own rooms, all night, without needing a parent for anything.

However, as he grew a bit older, I knew he was able to sleep longer periods. I did not want to let him cry it out but was unsure of how to help him sleep longer. Elizabeth Pantley's The No-Cry Sleep Solution still fairly new  when Joseph was a young toddler (it was published in 2002) but already my friends were raving about it. I checked it out from the LLL library, used her tips and tricks and soon had a younger toddler who was sleeping longer at night. It was a welcome change, as I was newly pregnant with his sister and exhausted!
The top book is a copy vought for me. The bottom two were
sent to me for the review.

When Elizabeth Pantley contacted me to do a review and giveaway of her books, I was excited. I had heard about The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers and The No-Cry Potty Training Solution. I am the proud mother of a four year old who will not or cannot potty train and a two and four year old who have trouble going to sleep and staying asleep. Since I had had such success with her first book, I was eager to see what tricks she had up her sleeve for my night waking, non-potty-using kiddos.

The No-Cry Potty Training Solution

All George's therapists and teachers tell me that boys with Apraxia are notoriously late to use the potty. We know George can do it, as he has initiated using the potty several times. He is certainly at an age where he should be biologically ready to use the potty. After eight years of cloth diapering four children and over two years of two in cloth diapers, I am certainly ready for him to use the potty! However, no amount of talking, cajoling or bribing could get him anywhere near a toilet, big or little. Surely Pantley had to have some great ideas, right?

Well, yes and no. Her book is certainly chock-full of good advice, from quizzes on how to tell if your child is ready to use the potty to different tricks to encourage your (no longer!) little one to use the potty. Reading this book is like having a potty-training brain storming solution and pep-talk with your very best friends. It has wonderful ideas on how to help your child be successful at using the potty. I really liked that the book focused on the parents and how to be calm, patient, calm, calm and calmer when potty training a little one. So many books seem to focus on child, and not in positive way, that it was refreshing to read a book that focused on the parents helping a child be successful while maintaining a loving relationship.

Pantley's book does have a chapter on children with special needs. However, it mostly addresses children with mobility issues, not children with neurological problems. My son has anxiety issues surrounding merely sitting on the potty and I was hoping that something like this would be addressed. However, it served as a good reminder to me to take to his doctor about possible physical problems that might be going unnoticed.

The potty train chart, thanks to Cami!
That said, we did follow her advice to take it one small step at a time. I broke using the potty down into small pieces and we are focusing on one little piece at a time. First up is just sitting on the potty.

My daughter helped make a "train potty chart" for him. (If you have an artsy six year old at home, I HIGHLY recommend letting them help create the chart!) She filled it with rewards every few squares.We told him that when the chart is filled, he can go on a real train ride. We do ask him if he wants to use the potty (putting the ball in his court) and leave it at that. We have toyed with the idea of "potty training boot camp" (which is also outlined in Pantley's book, although not with that name) over Thanksgiving break. However, given his personality and issues, I am not sure this is a good idea.

In short, this book is an excellent one stop shop over all your gentle, potty training tips and tricks. This could easily be the only book you read to get ideas for potty training your children in a gentle manner. It's great book to reference with each child or to simply give you a pep talk as you go through potty training.

No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers

George (top) and Cole in the master bed. Summer
By  modern standards, my children do not sleep. By biological standards, they are perfectly normal . . . but the youngest likes to wake up at night and snuggle (and he's a bed hog!) and George has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. By "trouble falling asleep" I mean that he is clearly tired, clearly wants to sleep but cannot or will not fall asleep. Many nights Adam has to drive him around in the car to get him to sleep.

Although kids with CAS are notorious non-sleepers, George's problems are also out fault. Life was very hectic when he was born and we helped him learn to fall asleep on his own. (This can be done gently.) When we were finally settled in a new house, I became pregnant and "Please, please, please get the baby to sleep- I don't care HOW!" was my new mantra. Fast forward to age (nearly) four and we have a monster on our hands.

While some of Pantley's chapters did not pertain to us (Cole no longer nurses, for example, and we don't have problems with bed wetting since they are in diapers), the chapters that did gave us wonderful, clear instructions for starting the slow process of getting George to go to sleep with minimal help. We kept Cole's nighttime routine the same (teeth, prayers, snuggle with me in the recliner in his room until he goes to sleep), we tighted up the bed time routine on all three older children. We start winding down for the night around 7:30 by turning off the TV, finishing snacks and chores and reading. Cole goes to bed around this time. At around 8:15, the oldest children head upstairs to be tucked in a say prayers. My husband dims the lights in our room and lays down with George while they watch a TV show. Although TV viewing can pep some children up or make it harder for them to stay asleep, it seems to calm and relax him. Falling asleep in our bed is a big improvement over having to be driven to sleep! The next step is him falling asleep in his room, and then him falling asleep in his room, alone.

No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers also helped me realize that the little boys need a consistent bedtime even if they nap during the day. Both boys are in the process of giving up naps; sometimes they need a nap and sometimes they do not. On "nap" days I was putting them to bed an hour or two later than normal. Now we start the bedtime routine within 30 minutes of the "normal" time to keep it consistent. This has really helped them go to sleep easier and stay asleep longer.

Because we tightened up the bedtime routine and made it more consistent, the boys have been sleeping longer at night. Unless they are sick, they come into our room around 4 or 5 am to sleep a little more and cuddle. This is a huge improvement over waking at 11 pm and wanting to sleep with us all night long! Right now, we are happy with this arrangement but I have no doubt that if they go back to their old habit of coming in around midnight, or pull a new sleeping trick, Pantley's book will have the right suggestion for us.

Buy it!

Go to Amazon to purchase any of Elizabeth Pantley's "No-Cry" books, from the classic No Cry Sleep Solution to her newest No-Cry Picky Eater Solution. Many are available as Kindle books or in papaerback.

Win it!
This contest is open to people in the United States and Canada.

Two winners will be chosen to recieve one copy each of their choice of any of Pantley's books. The contest opens on November 1, 2012 and will close November 15, 2012. Winners will be announced on this blog and notified via e-mail. You will have 24 hours to respond with your name and address or another winner will be chosen. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.

Disclaimer: I recieved complementary copies of the books to read and review. Opinions are my own.
(Photo credit: Laura)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I have The No Cry Sleep and No Cry Nap solutions and they are so gentle and sweet. :D

  2. The No-Cry Eating Solutions book is what we need! We have one picky toddler!

  3. NEED the No cry solution for getting preschool/toddler to sleep.

  4. I want the No Cry Potty Training Solution.

  5. I've used the No Cry Sleep book and got some great ideas from it. I'd probably choose either the eating or potty training book, as both are very relevant (or will be soon) to my 2 year old!