Any new parent can tell you that the hardest thing to get used to with baby is the lack of sleep. After the baby is about six months old, she doesn’t need nighttime feedings anymore, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t awake and screaming for mum and dad at all hours. Exhausted parents often turn to sleep training programmes, in an attempt to train their child to sleep at intervals that work for them. But what if we’re looking at it all wrong? What if babies don’t sleep through the night because of family dynamics and their own internal lives?

Infant and child psychotherapist Dilys Daws invites parents to consider these questions as they look at their babies’ sleep patterns. Losses or separations in parents’ own lives can make it hard to help a baby feel secure enough to go to sleep.  Difficult births can prevent a mother and baby get into a rhythm with each other.  The normal stress of becoming parents can lead to tension between them.  All of this can affect a baby’s sleep.  This not about parent-blaming—but seeing the origins of problems can strengthen the ability to solve them. By considering the baby as a person with his own psychological concerns that parents can address, we can approach the question from a new perspective.

A classic since its original publication in 1989, Daws’ Through the Night is a must for parents who want the whole family get a good night’s sleep, and for mental health professionals who want to help make that happen.

As one reader put it, ‘This book contains more wisdom in the first chapter than all the reading about baby sleep problems put together!’


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