The Moms on Call book is written by 2 pediatric nurses. The book was written to provide advice about many aspects of parenting from birth to 6 months of age, from preparing for the baby to feeding, sleeping, and common illnesses. For the purpose of this Moms on Call book review, I will be concentrating on the information provided in regards to baby sleep, which can be found in Section Four and Five.
The Moms on Call book was great about emphasizing bedtime routines and putting your baby down drowsy but awake. Not only do bedtime routines act as a cue to sleep for babies, but they have also been shown to reduce sleep issues like night wakings. My only concern is that the bedtime routine outlined is very prescribed, and tells parents exactly what routine to follow. In my experience a set bedtime routine that happens the same way every night is important but the routine can be made up of whatever components work for an individual family.
We also know how important putting your baby down drowsy but awake is for teaching them how to self soothe to sleep. If a baby can do this when they are put down at the start of a nap or at bedtime, then they will learn to self soothe back to sleep when transitioning through sleep cycles.
The Moms on Call authors are very pro-swaddle, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. Newborn babies definitely respond well to swaddling and it is especially useful when the Moro Reflex (startle reflex) is still present (up to about 3 – 4 months). However, they seem to be partially advocating for swaddling in order to sell their specific swaddle. At least suggest parents could make their own too.
The Not So Good
The authors suggest babies sleep in a crib in their own room. Now, it is always a parent’s choice on where their baby sleeps, the AAP recommends that baby’s sleep in their parent’s rooms for the first 6 months of life. This means that the Moms on Call authors are not making recommendations in line with current recommendations for SIDS safety.
The book offers schedules for feeding and sleeping for babies at different stages from 0 to 6 months (e.g. 2-4 weeks, 4-8 weeks, 8-16 weeks and 4 -6 months). I found that the amount of sleep suggested and the strict schedule that they were suggesting in the first months of life seemed a little bit too rigid. For the first few months of a baby’s life, their sleep patterns are very irregular, and this wasn’t taken into consideration and may have parents worrying if their baby doesn’t fall into the Moms on Call routine.
Babies from 4 months old tend to start to fall into a pattern of having regular morning and midday naps. The Mom’s on Call authors reflected this in their suggested routine, they had the midday nap starting anywhere from 12:30 – 1:30 pm and gave parents the choice on where in that range the nap time would start. I have nothing wrong with the earlier side of that time slot but for the parents who chose the latter end, I would worry that it would be too late for their baby. The book also suggested a too late catnap as well and a bedtime that starts on the later side than I would typically suggest for that age. While a bedtime on the later side may work for some babies, the more sensitive sleepers may struggle with this and become overtired or find it harder to fall asleep at night if put down too late for their little bodies.
The book provided advice on how to get into, what they consider, a good feeding and sleep routine, but didn’t provide a lot of information on how sleep works for babies, about when they develop their circadian rhythm or about troubleshooting potential sleep problems that arise (like night wakings or early risings). This information is incredibly important for new parents so that they can really be on the road to sleep success.
I hope you found my thoughts on the Moms On Call book useful. I have some concerns about the content, though I’m sure there have been parents out there that have had success using the book. There are further Moms on Call books for 6 – 15 months and for toddlers. I may review those books as well later on down the track but next week I will be reviewing Gina Ford’s The New Contented Baby Book.