A Good Night's Sleep: Breaking the Code of Babies

A Good Night's Sleep: Breaking the Code of Babies

Richard Popovic
Nov 22, 2011

We are all aware that when it comes to babies there is no shortage of opinions, techniques, methodology and misinformation available to new parents eager to do what's best for their child. Within this babysphere the topic that probably gets the most attention is sleep. As I type this at 4:30 am I can attest that this new parent is obsessed with sleep and wishes his little girl was a bit more enamored with it. How to get a baby to sleep well is an emotionally charged topic with no clear answer and one thousand solutions. The four books on my nightstand all have different ideas about sleep but still seem to echo each other on certain core points. So when a book comes along that throws a lot of the accepted wisdom out the window, it merits a closer look.

A Good Night's Sleep by Anna Wahlgren is a definite departure from the norm of parenting literature. While Wahlgren stresses the importance of routine, like many others do, its the details of her routine that set it apart. It involves something called buffing, and singing catchy jingles, and one very dedicated parent staying awake for two nights in a row to implement the beginning of her method.

I found the underlying concept behind Wahlgren's philosophy quite interesting and somewhat compelling. She stresses the importance above all else of a baby feeling safe and secure and stresses that they should never ever feel abandoned. She states that babies are aware of their utter helplessness and are in a constant state of survival anxiety. If they feel unsafe or vulnerable, they cannot sleep well, because they are not sure what awaits them while they are sleeping or if anyone will be there to take care of them when they awake.

This book is full of interesting ideas and theories, but the methodology is what gave me the biggest reason for pause. Without going into too much detail, Wahlgren has developed a very structured and rigid program that she promises, if implemented correctly, will show results in forty-eight hours. Sure enough, there are testimonials scattered throughout the book praising her method for saving families' sanity and improving the lives of everyone in the household. To me, they seemed onerous, inflexible, and just a little too 'out there' for me to try. Plus, her overall tone is a bit off-putting as well, a 'my way or the highway' feeling of superiority that seems to get worse as the book progresses. (To be fair, the book is translated from Swedish which may have something to do with the brusque feel of Wahlgren's words).

My daughter is not a 'problem sleeper' and, while it would be nice if she slept for twelve hours straight, is definitely headed in the right direction. Maybe I am not desperate enough to try Wahlgren's methods, but that's sort of my point: the program described in A Good Night's Sleep is extreme enough that I cannot not see myself using it unless I was completely out of other options and it was my last resort.

Wahlgren definitely has interesting ideas and an innovative approach to getting babies to sleep through the night, but in the end I found myself unwilling to follow her methods. They just were not a good fit for me and my family. If any of our readers have tried this program I would love to hear how it turned out.

A Good Night's Sleep by Anna Wahlgren is available at Amazon or ask for it at your local bookstore.



Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.

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