Elizabeth Pantley’s book on baby sleep, ‘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 (AP), so if you are too, this might be a good place to start with baby sleep training.
How does the No Cry Sleep Solution work?
The main issue that Pantley concentrates on is the problem of the baby that finds ‘sucking to sleep’ helps them drift off; that is, only falling asleep when on the breast or the bottle. She suggests you use a technique called ‘gentle removal,’ which means that you feed your baby until you notice the signs that he is falling asleep (such as a slowing in the rate of sucking). You then gently remove him from the breast or bottle and put him down in his cot so he can then fall asleep by himself.
Pantley offers lots of advice on how to do this and fans of the method refer to it as ‘the Pantley pull-off’. Her methods are flexible and the book offers different advice for babies at various ages and stages. Before you begin, she asks you to keep a sleep log for three nights, that you use to work out your baby’s current schedule and thus the best way to proceed. You can then tailor the plan depending on the age and needs of your baby.
Might suit parents who: love attachment parenting. If you’re not a fan of any form of ‘cry it out’ technique and want a gentle approach, Pantley’s method is great. The plan is totally adaptable to you, 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 lifestyle to see it through, as this is not a quick-fix method. Those with more than one child to get to bed might find it hard, for example, as you could find you’re in the baby’s room for a long time.
Best age to try it: 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 or toddlers who don’t adjust well to quick changes. 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.
Some helpful additional reading: