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The No-Cry Sleep Solution - Elizabeth Pantley - Book Summary

This is an attempt to give a mid solution to sleep-deprived parents who are looking for a way to get children to sleep without letting them to "cry it out".

Your first priority is to make sure your child is safe. In relation to SIDs, safe bed, safe co-sleeping if you practice it (the recommendation is not to co-sleep).

This book will provide you with gentle tools on gettings your children to sleep for full nights. Note that the medical term - full night is limited to 5 hours - usually between midnight and 5 and not the 10-12 hours you are looking for.

Learn about the baby's sleep patterns. A normal baby will wake up every hour or so, and that is totally normal. Your goal is to get your baby to go back to sleep after each such episode without requiring your help.

The key to getting your baby to sleep without you - is to break the single habit he may have to sleep. When he is in your arms sleeping - try to put him down in his bed. When he falls asleep breastfeeding - also give him a chance to fall asleep without the breast. The best way to break problematic sleep habits is never to start them, and thus every now and then you want to get your child to fall asleep in his own bed.

The trick is to gently offer other options while being persistent. If your child is breastfeeding - try to take it out of his mouth before he falls asleep. If he cries or insists - give it back to him and try again in a few minutes. If you persist at it - it will eventually work.

How to start: Start writing a sleep log. Write the nap times. Describe the activities you do with your child before bed. refer to the activity type (active/calm), sound level (loud/quiet) and light level (dim/bright). Write how you put your child to sleep and how long it took, how many wakings the baby had, how long each one was, how did you put him back to sleep. How many wakes were there in total and how many hours in total.

Make a plan - choose solutions from the below list of solutions, persist for 10 days and log again. See what was changed and what needs to be done to change the plan to have a better effect and repeat. Note that you should look at all parameters of sleep that can improve. Your baby can sleep longer stretches, longer hours in total, have longer naps, fewer wakings, take less time to fall asleep and so on. Compare it to the expected amount of hours of sleep for the specific age.

Note that there might be setbacks - due to teething, developmental leaps and so on. Keep the book handy, and change it as you see fit.


  • Make sure your child is not waking up because he is hungry. Feed him more during the day. Try to have a long feed before you get him to sleep, and maybe add a bottle during the day, or shorten the time between meals. Have the last meal be easy to digest - consisting of comfort food.

  • Make sure your child is not suffering from separation anxiety - try to be with him more during the day. Have a quiet time together just the two of you so he will not require the lovingly nightly feedings with you.

  • Make sure you are not waking your baby up. Some babies are making noises (even crying) in their sleep. When your baby wakes you up - don’t pick him up yet unless he is awake and crying - make sure he is not asleep and give him a bit to get back to sleep on his own.

  • Try to put your baby in bed when he is sleepy but not asleep. This way he will learn to fall asleep on his own.

  • Give your child a pacifier instead of breast. Put many pacifiers in bed for your child to find them themselves. Also - try to remove the pacifier after the baby falls asleep.

  • Make sure you separate between day and night at your home - day should have bright light and noise, and at night the house should be dimmed or dark and quiet.

  • Don’t change the diaper at every waking. Just if it is very soiled or if it bugs your child. You want to night time wakings to be short as possible. When you do change the diaper - make sure you use warm wipes to not wake your child too much.

  • Have everything you need in hands reach to make to attend your baby as fast as possible and get him back to sleep when he is still sleepy. When feeding your child with a bottle - prepare everything in advance - as well as all the diaper changing supply and so on.

  • Have cues that represent night time to your baby - so he will make the association between those cues and going to sleep. say nighty-night every time you put your child to bed - so he will recognize the word in context and become sleepy.

  • Have a regular calm night routine that will help your baby calm down and prepare for sleep.

  • Don’t let your baby nap too long. Wake him up gently after X hours of sleeping that you see that helps him sleep longer.

  • Have a different nap and bedtime routine.

  • Swaddle your baby (for babies under 2 months)

  • Give your baby a toy that smells like you to sleep in his own bed

  • Have a (safe) lovey (attachment/transition object) for your child to sleep with.

  • Notice tiredness signs on your baby. Look for eye rubbing, yawns, quieting down, looking away, looking “glazed” or starting to be fussy, and put him straight to bed.

  • Make sure your baby is comfortable - that his bed and cozy for him (with safety in mind), you can slightly heat the bed before putting your child in it (not while he is in it), and have soft music that he might like.

  • Relax. Your baby is expected not to sleep in the first few months of his life. Make yourself comfortable. Postpone anything that is not urgent, and focus in your baby.

  • Get your baby to sleep earlier. many babies best sleeping time is 6:30.

  • Have a daily routine, of feeding, napping and sleeping. It will help your baby’s body become tired on cue so he will sleep better during naps and in the night.

  • Make sure your child is having enough long naps during the day. An overtired baby will have hard time falling asleep, and will wake up more during the night.

  • To prolong sleep - look at when your child usually wakes up, and 5-10 minutes before that wait for him to make some noise - once he does get into the room, and help him fall asleep again - by rocking, breastfeeding or whatever else works so he can sleep longer.

  • Help your baby feel comfortable in his bed. Put him to watch a mobile in his crib while you sit by his side.

  • Make sure your baby doesn’t sleep in one way. If he usually falls asleep breastfeeding - try rocking or walking him in a stroller - you want him to disassociate the specific way from sleeping so he will not depend on it to go to sleep.

  • Put your picture by the child’s crib to reduce separation anxiety

  • During the day, leave the room your child is in, and make sure he hears you - so he knows that even if he can’t see you - you are still there

  • Create a book showing different babies having the same nighttime routine as your baby to help motivate him to follow it and know it.

  • Create a book showing your child’s progress through the months and describe the milestones he is passing to encourage him to keep at it.

  • For bigger children - have a poster with the night routine on the wall.

  • Shorten the breastfeeding time by using “Pantley’s Gentle Removal Plan” - just before your child falls asleep at the breast - disconnect him when sucking slows down, and gently close his mouth with your finger, while rocking him. If he fusses or cries - put him back and try again in a minute or so. If he fusses - try to leave his hand on your breast.

  • Move your baby out of your bed (at least temporary) if you were co-sleeping so your movements will not wake him up.

  • Have your partner get up for your baby at night so the milk will not be available easily. If he cries - they can bring him to you.

  • Slightly move your baby from you - from your bed to a mattress on the floor to gradually move him to his own bed.

  • for a bigger child - prepare a sleeping area in your room, and tell him that he can come quietly and tiptoe to your room as long as he doesn’t wake you up (and praise him if he succeeds).

  • Move your toddler to share a bed with a sibling

  • Gradually move your baby’s crib to his own room, by moving it slightly every night.

  • Get your child to fall asleep in his regular way, and when he does sleep - move him to his own crib in his own room. Do this every time he wakes up.

  • Bribe your toddler to stay in his bed for a surprise in the morning (or time in your bed on the weekend).

  • Help your child fall asleep in his own bed - comfort baby until he is calm and sleep, but not asleep. Put him gently in his crib. Comfort him while in his bed (without picking him up) using calming pats, then words, and then words outside the room. You can stop this at any time if it’s too much for you or the baby, or choose an hour to stop this and let you both sleep for the rest of the night. Try again the next waking or the next night.

  • Watch for caffeine in your child’s diet (and yours if you are breastfeeding).

  • Make sure your baby doesn’t have any health issues that are preventing him from sleeping like sleep apnea, asthma, allergies, ear infections, or any other issue that might interfere with his sleep.

  • If you co-sleep - turn around from your baby and make some space between you so you will not interfere with his sleep.

  • If you are feeling that you are at the end of your rope - you can use one of these two drastic measures:

  • Take a week when you try to sleep as much as you can. Stop having any routine or plan - and just try to sleep. Postpone anything that can wait a week to be completed. Go to sleep early and try to sleep in.

  • Teach your baby about day and night and whenever he wakes up - tell him that at night we sleep, and put him back to sleep. He might cry, but it will be with you holding him and not alone.

If your baby now sleeps through the night and you still don’t, you might do the following things to sleep better: Have specific bedtime and wake up times every day (including the weekend), keep a calendar and to do lists and keep your head clear from those things. Make your bedroom cozy and calm. Have a calm night routine. Avoid caffeine in the evenings (in coffee, tea, chocolate, etc). Exercise, but not 3 hours before bed. Have a light snack 2 hours before bed. Do not engage in physical or mental challenge before bed.


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