If The Covers Of Sleep Training Books Spoke The Truth, They Would Look Like This

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I’m going to go ahead and speak for all parents who failed at sleep training their infants and say that sleep training books are a cruel joke.

When I was having trouble getting my first child to sleep, a smug neighborhood acquaintance delivered the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” to my doorstep. It was 500 pages long. Immediately, I realized she hated me as much as I hated her. I didn’t even have time to shave my legs — how the hell was I going to get through this opus of an advice book?

I did try to skim it, and the gist of it turned out to be “ignore your child.” That is the gist of all of these books. I’m totally okay with that! No judgment! But we were living in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn where I couldn’t escape his little demon screams. Also, the sound of a child whimpering made me realize I wasn’t the tough parent I always thought I would be. I caved — and fast.

To all of you parents who managed to sleep train your children and are thus happier and more well-rested than I am — good for you. For those of you who didn’t, I made some more realistic interpretations of the covers of these fix-all sleep training books. You may identify.

1. The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Tracy Hogg

What the general public sees:


What the sleep-fail parent sees:


2. Twelve Hours’ Sleep By 12 Weeks Old, Suzy Giordano “The Baby Coach”

What the general public sees:


What the sleep-fail parent sees:


Pages: 1 2


  1. Emily A.

    October 14, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    When I had a totally-refusing-to-sleep-for-longer-than-two-hours two month old, my mom gave me “The No Cry Sleep Solution”. Totally with positive intentions. I finally called her and said, “Thank you, but I AM CRYING and this is not working.” It still took me a while to realize that I should just step away from the books. ALL the books.

    • Spiderpigmom

      October 15, 2014 at 10:12 am

      OMG. As the mother of a former terrible (non-)sleeper, I too remember having an abysmal crying bout while re-reading this book for the n-th time, because it was clearly. not. working. I can SO relate.

  2. Pepper Kirby

    October 14, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    How funny! – we used the 12 hours by 12 weeks program with our first child and it worked! We were such smug parents. Then our second was born and I realized that the program hadn’t really worked with our first – he was just born to sleep that way and nothing we did would have changed that. They are 8 & 9 now – the oldest is still a super sleeper and the youngest not at all.

    • Emily A.

      October 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      We were fortunate to have the tough sleeper first, so were ready for a disaster with the second. Man, were we happy when he was a good sleeper! Still is, too. The other? Meh. Many fine qualities, but sleeping is not one of them.

    • kathryn

      October 15, 2014 at 6:31 am

      Same here! My first was a bit of a nightmare (partly because we made some mistakes and my husband insisted on cuddling her to sleep EVERY.DAMN. TIME.) I started to seriously doubt my sanity and marriage when still being woken up 4 times a night at 7 months. We did finally manage to sleep train and she’s been great ever since. Number 2 was a completely different story and life was so much easier. You definitely appreciate the good when you’ve had the bad! Not sure I want to risk a third, I feel like I might have a demon child!

    • noodlestein's danger tits

      October 14, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      I so relate to this! When my best friend had her first, we thought we were baby raising GENIUSES! My goddaughter would sleep for hours while we watched TV, had raucous dance parties, carted her around in a carrier pretty much everywhere, etc. We talked endlessly (to each other, thank goodness we didn’t inflict ourselves on the world at large) about how you just have to get babies used to noise and have a schedule, and geeze, this whole baby thing wasn’t so very hard, was it? Hahahaha! The joke was on us, because baby number 2 turned out to be the lightest sleeper ever who needed to be worn to feel secure and didn’t sleep through the night until about 18 months. Turns out baby number 1 is just a really, really deep sleeper. To this day (she’s 7) I can still throw her over my shoulder and cart her upstairs when she falls asleep on the couch. She came out of the womb that way, turns out we weren’t revolutionary brainiacs who had come up with the greatest system ever. Children are…humbling.

    • Moliss

      October 14, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      We currently have this sleep through anything, I’ll put myself to sleep if you put me in my crib, wakes up once at night to eat, 4 month old. Her sleep habits are reason #487651 that we aren’t going to have another – I know we’d be cursed with a demon child! lol

    • KieraAydemireom

      October 15, 2014 at 8:06 am

      m­y be­st friends mum g­ot a nice si­x month o­ld Lex­us N­X 300h SUV jus­t by s­ome parttim­e wo­rking onli­ne wit­h a che­ap laptop. s­ee page >FREELANCING

    • noodlestein's danger tits

      October 15, 2014 at 10:05 am

      Smart! Aforementioned baby number 2 is still a hellraiser at 3, even though she sleeps through the night now.

  3. Katherine Handcock

    October 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Thank you for featuring “The No-Cry Sleep Solution”. I love Elizabeth Pantley’s other books that I’ve read — “The No-Cry Potty Training Solution” book in particular was awesome for me — but I found the sleep book so disheartening, because it just plain DID NOT WORK for my son, despite saying that this would work if you just did it right. We tried, oh, boy, did we tried, and there were an awful lot of tears. I eventually had to go with cry-it-out, something I desperately wanted to avoid because I knew how hard I would find it. But he was exhausted and so were we, and something had to give.

    • jo

      October 15, 2014 at 12:17 am

      It was WAY too complex, and who is thinking that coherently at 3am?

  4. LeggEggTorpedoTits

    October 14, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I think we “sleep trained” our kids but I didn’t know it was a thing with “how-to” books.

    Spell check changed “how-to” to “hoe-toe”?

    • Maria Guido

      October 14, 2014 at 2:51 pm


  5. journalgal2

    October 14, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    That Baby Whisperer book made me cry for days. I thought I had screwed up my baby for life without knowing it.

  6. Exhausted but grateful for my

    October 14, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you for this. I’ve read ALL THE BOOKS and even hired a pediatric sleep consultant. My son is 19 moths old as STILL doesn’t sleep through the night. I felt like the worst parent ever until several of my friends mentioned on Facebook that their kids didn’t sleep through the night until they were 3 years old. Then I just wanted to jump off a bridge.

    • Airbones

      October 14, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      My two year old still doesn’t sleep through the night. GOOD LUCK, EVERYBODY ELSE!

    • Linzon

      October 14, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      Yep, neither does my 18-month old. His brother was sleeping through by this point. What we did differently this time around? Nothing!

      My mantra these days: “someday they will be teenagers, someday they will be teenagers…”

    • Katherine Handcock

      October 14, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      I read recently that there’s evidence that people used to follow a so-called “bimodal” sleep pattern — as in, even adults would sleep for about four hours, wake up for a while, then go back to sleep for another four, rather than sleeping for eight hours straight. That would explain a lot about how kids sleep.

      Hang in there!

    • ChelseaBFH

      October 15, 2014 at 8:58 am

      Expectations are such a huge part of it. If people were honest about sleeping I think we’d all feel better, but instead we hear from the smug “My baby slept 12 hours at 4 months” parents, and everyone else shrinks into the background. At a mom’s group recently I was talking with a mom of another 11 month-old who said her baby still wakes up once or twice a night and I wanted to hug her for making me feel normal instead of like a failure.

  7. Jessie Lamontagne

    October 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Cry it out worked the first two rounds, but I just don’t have it in me to do round 3 so I’m just gonna let Babou outgrow this waking up at night business. Perfectly rational right?

    • ChelseaBFH

      October 15, 2014 at 8:46 am

      Funny, because I feel the opposite. I got up and snuggled and fed and rocked my first two a couple times every night, until finally I had to throw in the towel and we did a modified cry it out at around 9/10 months old. Now sleep is much better (though still not the mythical 12 hours straight). My next one is crying it out much sooner – I’m aiming for that sweet spot before she can pull herself to standing.

    • Jessie Lamontagne

      October 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      That’s why I don’t have it in me to redo it, he is now standing and shaking the crib and screaming at the top of his lungs, which have grown ever so powerful. I am going to try one last time next week actually, before he can climb out of the crib.

      I think I was spoiled by the fact that he slept like a freaking champ from 6 weeks to 6 months. (not 12h straight, that’s just not going to happen ever)

  8. Boozy Inactivist

    October 14, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I had the 12 weeks book, but was so sleep deprived I couldn’t work out the feeding table and convert imperial to metric so knew what the hell to feed, then gave up when I realized it’s quite hard to measure breastfeeding! = mom fail.

  9. Anon-o-ween

    October 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Anyone dealing with sleepless nights gets all my sympathy. My theory is that you either have a good sleeper or you don’t, so no need to stress yourself trying all the sleep methods – just figure out some tactics to deal with the nights. Each of our kids went through periods where they’d wake up repeatedly during the night, which freaked out my husband, who wanted to do something to fix it. Eventually we realized that “wait a couple of weeks” was what fixed it, which didn’t help with my crankiness but helped me get through it.

  10. SunnyD847

    October 14, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Whatever the baby is sleeping on on the cover of the “No Cry Sleep Solution” looks super dangerous.

  11. Ro

    October 14, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I don’t know wtf was up with my son, but he didn’t sleep for longer than 2 hours at a time for the first 9 months of his life. We tried everything… at least I think we did, I remember little from that time. Then suddenly at 9 months he just started to sleep and he’s been a good sleeper ever since. I think those books are written to just torture us (you know, a little more than our babies already do).

  12. Gangle

    October 14, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    I think those books are a load of bull. I was given one by a well-meaning brother-in-law who swore by it. I read it, didn’t like it (there is no way I could sit there listening to my screaming child, and the book basically told me I should stop breastfeeding and start bottle feeding otherwise I could kiss ever sleeping again goodbye) and threw it in the bin. My daughter was the worlds worst sleeper for the first 8 weeks of her life – unless we were at a wedding or event – the kid was a nightmare at home but we could take her anywhere! Then out of the blue, in her 8th week, she just started sleeping through. I put her down at 6, she sleeps til 8, has a feed and then I don’t hear from her again til 6 or 7 the next morning. And I didn’t change a thing. I am not a baby wizard. I think babies are going to sleep or they are not. Some things *may* help, but I guess they figure it out in their own time.

  13. Guest

    October 15, 2014 at 12:14 am

    The Ferber book worked for us. Took three nights and our daughter still sleeps well at three years old. She went from no sleep to one step from dead. Except Christmas morning. Then she’s up at 4 AM.

  14. 2Well

    October 15, 2014 at 1:56 am

    I think my sister was still waking up when she was 3.

  15. SantosWalters

    October 15, 2014 at 7:03 am

    what does it main reality for the sleep Training Book?

  16. alexesq33

    October 15, 2014 at 7:51 am

    It was SO HARD to let them cry it out. Baby boy was easy, he’d fuss, but you could tell he really wanted to go to sleep he loved being in his crib and snuggled down. Baby girl sounded like she was being boiled in oil when we left her. Started hyperventilating after 10 minutes or so. But it eased, and now we can let her fuss sometimes or just snuggle her a minute and she goes down. The problem is, their rhythms are different – so he wants to go down around 6-30 where she’s 730-8. Doesn’t sound bad but it means a longer putting to be shift and a longer waking up in the morning shift because they’re about 1 1/2 hours off. Hopefully this will regulate at some point. Before the next one is born.
    I wouldn’t have tried to sleep train but I remember being about 6 or 7 before I could go to sleep without one of my parents laying down with me – maybe that was just my personality but I can’t have that kind of craziness going on with 3 kids! *(I was an only child.)

    • ChelseaBFH

      October 15, 2014 at 8:51 am

      I can’t tell if you have twins, but sleep training was one of the first times when I really had to pay attention to their specific needs rather than treating them exactly equally. One baby would just get mad if left in his crib, and would shout for a while but go to sleep after about 10-15 minutes. So he got sleep trained first and it worked pretty well. The other got scared and would scream forever, so we held off on him for a while. I felt SO GUILTY when I would bring one baby into bed to snuggle with me while leaving the other to cry in a dark room, but it was what they needed at the time!

  17. Shelly Lloyd

    October 15, 2014 at 10:29 am

    500 Pages? Maybe the point of the book was to read it aloud to your little one and bore him to sleep.

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