If you’re anything like us, from the moment you told people you were pregnant, the pile of pastel coloured books began forming on your coffee table, with titles about sleep and calm and happy babies that your friends and family had cast aside and passed your way. But, a few days/weeks/months in, have you had the time or inclination to read them? Of course not!
So, here’s a quick summary of the wisdom offered up by the biggest baby authorities out there, so that you too can pass the books on to your pregnant mate without having to read them yourself, while still having a vague enough idea of what they’re all about to blag your way through a conversation about them and perhaps pick one or two to explore further. Because we all know that, when you get some down time, Netflix has way more allure than Gina Ford. Speaking of Gina…
Gina Ford: The Contented Little Baby Book
Queen of routine, Gina is perhaps the most famous parenting “expert” – and certainly the most famously divisive figure among mums. Those who love her REALLY love her, those who don’t REALLY don’t. She’s all about getting your baby onto a schedule at all costs, with the promise that decent sleep awaits (which, let’s face it, is the only thing any of us care about when it comes to baby books). The tailor-made routines can be a useful guide to roughly how much sleep your baby should be having, but don’t freak out if yours doesn’t fit into Gina’s boxes.
The Baby Whisperer (Tracey Hogg)
You can barely remember how to spell your own name, but The Baby Whisperer has some other letters she’d like you to remember: EASY. That’s the basis of her routine, and it stands for Eat, Activity, Sleep, You Time – her suggestion as to how you should structure your day to get fast contentment all round. A little gentler than Gina, it’s still tricky to implement with a routine-resistant baby, although many mums swear by it.
Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems (Richard Ferber)
Eeek… and you thought Gina Ford provoked strong reactions. The “Ferberizing” method was big in the 80s and early 90s but has since become widely regarded as outdated – mainly because it’s become more frowned upon to let babies cry it out, or “soothe themselves to sleep” as Ferber himself, a top paediatrician, prefers to call it. The crux of it is to always put your baby down awake, which is tough when they drift off to sleep whenever the get a whiff of milk.
The Gentle Sleep Book (Sarah Ockwell Smith)
Basically the total opposite of Ferber, and a much more “modern” approach, The Gentle Sleep Book is all about acknowledging the baby’s natural biological needs. Unfortunately, those needs often aren’t conducive to sleep, but if you’re a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, attachment-centric mum, Sarah is your woman – she might not put an end to your sleepless nights, but she’ll definitely make you feel a lot better about them.