Reflections on motherhood...


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Is yours a contented little baby?

Ahh, "The Contented Little Baby", seemingly one of the most controversial parenting books of the last decade, and, if you've read it, it's either your bible or the devil's work.  Even if you haven't read it you've probably got an opinion on it.

Ok so I'll admit to having read it, when, after six weeks of at least 2 feeds a night, I was looking for that Holy Grail of motherhood - sleep (more on this later).  I also wanted to be able to have an informed opinion on it when the heated debates at coffee group started.

So I opened its pages with interest, and skim read to the part that related to the routines of a six week old.  In the opening paragraph of this section was a sentence which went along the lines of "If your baby is over 4kg, he should be sleeping through to 7am from his last feed at 10pm."  Umm, what if your baby was over 4kgs at birth?  I looked for the answer but found none.  My heart fell as I realised this book would not be the panacea I was looking for.

That sums up my experience of The Contented Little Baby.  It raised more questions for me than it answered, and there was no indication on what to do if your baby didn't follow the routines set out in the book.  If baby wakes after only an hour of a two-hour nap, are you supposed to try and get him back to sleep?  What if he feeds for only 10 minutes and refuses more?  And what if I'm too exhausted to give him his evening bath?  Will the baby implode?

On days when he did follow the prescribed routine, I felt like a total supermum (and just a little but haughty), and on days when he didn't (and these were more common), I felt a bit inadequate.

I'll admit, however, that the book contained some useful information, and I can see that it would be great for ideas for parents who are really lost and struggling.  Reading it helped me realise that I'm not.


  1. On this side of the Tasman there's another book doing the circles of Mums' groups called Save Our Sleep by Tizzie Hall. I think it's similar philosophy to The Contented Baby - like you we've decided it's not for us, though obviously works for some. Not very keen on the whole controlled crying thing at any age - what are your thoughts on that one?

  2. Hi Katy - Save Our Sleep does look very similar (just did a quick google). I can't say I'm keen on the controlled crying thing either - though there are a couple of mums in my group who have done it and now swear by it as their babies sleep 12 hours at night (refer to my post on sleeping for my thoughts on this). It seems that crying is the only way for baby to communicate that something is not right - and on the occasion when I've let baby grizzle for longer than a minute or two in the hope that he'll settle himself, this has been true (usually wind, legs stuck in bars of the cot, or hunger). I figure that when baby is ready to sleep 12 hours, he will.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...