Elizabeth Pantley’s book ‘The No Cry Sleep Solution’ proposes ‘gentle’ methods for parents to help their child get to sleep by themselves. Pantley is a believer in attachment parenting so if you are too, this might be a good place to start with sleep training.
Here’s how it works: She concentrates largely on the problem of a baby ‘sucking to sleep’ – only falling asleep on the breast or bottle. This is where the ‘Gentle Removal’ bit comes in: she suggests you feed your baby until you notice the signs that he is falling asleep (such as his sucking slowing down) and then gently remove him from breast or bottle and put him in his cot so he actually falls asleep by himself.
Pantley gives lots of advice on how to do this – fans of the method fondly refer to it as ‘the Pantley pull-off’. Pantley’s methods are flexible and the book offers different advice for babies at various ages and stages, so it’s by no means a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Before you begin, she asks you to keep a sleep log for three nights, then use this to work out the best way to proceed. You can then tailor the plan to yourself depending on the age and needs of your baby.
Might suit parents who: Are doing attachment parenting. If you’re not a fan of any form of ‘cry it out’ technique and want a really gentle approach Pantley’s method is great. The plan is totally non-prescriptive, too. Whether you want to stay with your child until they fall asleep or teach them to drop off alone is entirely up to you.
Might not suit parents who: Haven’t got the time or willpower to see it through. This is not a quick-fix method. Those with more than one child to get to bed might find it hard, too, as you could find you’re in the room for a long time.
Best age to try it at: From four months. The Pantley pull-off can also be used for babies being weaned off a dummy.
Mums say: ‘I tried the Pantley technique because I hoped the no cry approach would suit me and my sensitive baby. It does require a lot of stamina and it’s not a quick fix but is good for babies/toddlers who don’t adjust well to quick change. It was right for us because I hated the idea of each day ending in tears. It is a real palaver to start with and I did wonder at times if we could have speeded the process up at all. Overall though, it was the right choice for us and its effects have lasted.’ Katherine, mum to Lizzie, eight months.