Perhaps you’ve come across Dana Obleman’s Sleep Sense program while looking for solutions to get your baby to sleep through the night. To cut a long story short, it works, if you actually follow through. Read on if you want to read the our in depth Sleep Sense review.
Why the hard sell?
We felt apprehensive reading her website with lots of highlighting and testimonials. So we did a Google search to see what other people thought about Sleep Sense. We found various positive and negative reactions. Most complaints were about how the information was not groundbreaking, but not that the techniques didn’t actually work. Yes, a lot of the program is similar to a lot of the most popular books and techniques, but no need to reinvent the wheel if it works. We decided to give it a try because of her “no risk” guarantee since we were more concerned about wasting our time than money. Dana shouldn’t have to use the “hard sell” gimmicky infomercial approach to selling her products. Yet it must work because she got us to buy
Sleeping through the night, yeah!
It sounds like one of her testimonials, but Noelle slept through the night from day 1 of using the program. She repeats that for any sleep training program to work you need commitment and consistency. Both you and your partner need to agree in advance to establish a new routine and stick to it to avoid confusing your child. Dana advocates the benefits of having your baby sleep through the night, and provides videos to reassure parents every step of the way. Her basic premise is that you need to (1) keep to a consistent sleep schedule, (2) develop a bedtime routine, and then (3) let your child learn to put herself to sleep by removing any sleep “props”. Oh, no we’ve given away her “secret”. Yes, her approach is very much common sense, but knowledge is useless unless you actually do something.
Do I have to let my baby cry?
Dana does not advocate the CIO (cry it out) method of just leaving your baby cry herself to sleep, but she does explain that there will be some crying involved. That’s why it is very important to prepare your child for bedtime so that she is relaxed when you put her in her crib. You are given the option of staying near your child the first few days and gradually moving further away, or leaving your child alone and then checking in at certain intervals. We were really apprehensive about letting her cry while being next to her, but in the end we were surprised how quickly Noelle went to sleep after her bedtime routine even on the first night. We did some difficult nights where she would not calm down for 45 minutes. After picking her up and calming her down she went to sleep in about 5 minutes.
The focus of the course is on getting your child to sleep through the night, with the assumption that a good night’s sleep will result in an easier time to put your child down for a nap as well. However, our daughter still has a harder time falling asleep for nap times. Sometimes everything goes smoothly and it only takes a few minutes, but other times she won’t settle down until her next feed.
First we thought she might be overtired, but even with a consistent schedule and no more than 2 hours of time since her last nap, she is still struggling to relax and let herself fall asleep. Also her naps are inconsistent with maybe one long nap of 2 hours and 2 catnaps of 30-45 minutes. We are partially to blame since we quickly intervene if she starts crying too much. It will take longer using a “no cry” technique, but we can tell if she is drifting asleep or just getting more and more agitated. So for us Sleep Sense delivered on the promise to get our baby to sleep through the night, but we had hoped that she would be napping better as well. (As we wrote this we received an e-mail from Dana about dealing with nap time troubles…)
Even though the Sleep Sense program is quite simple, we still found there to be too much information. The PDF is 210 pages long and even includes sections of twins, triplets, and more. Dana needs to remember that we’re probably tired from our sleepless nights, and only get a few moments to sit down and read before trying to get some rest ourselves. Her e-book is longer than it needs to be and quite repetitive because it covers all age brackets and family situations. We skipped straight to the relevant chapter for 3-6 months olds and nap time. Ideally she could provide tailored downloads for just the relevant age group/ family situation..
We also found the numerous positive testimonials make the book feel too much like a sales brochure and could be better balanced by some “difficult case” solutions to give a realistic overview of what to expect. We went for the “Gold” package because we’re good parents of course This also gave us access to the numerous videos (several for each day of training.) Again parenting got in the way of actually finding the time to sit through them, and some were also too long for our liking. Which parent has time to spend over 20 minutes per online video when the little one needs your attention? Basically you get a lot of “stuff” for your $ but Dana could use an editor to get her message across in less time.
Is it worth the money?
It was certainly the best $67 we’ve spent to get rid of our sleepless nights, especially compared to how much we’ve spent on other things such as baby carriers, bouncers, or even those cute pink dresses. The basic $29 PDF has all the information you need and also includes the useful quick start workbook. So if you like reading then go for basic, but if you prefer a multimedia approach and having day by day guidance go for the Gold. The Platinum package includes telephone and e-mail support, useful if you have a more difficult case. We also found a Kindle version of Sleep Sense for $9.99 (and a free preview at Amazon) which could be the cheapest solution if you don’t need the other materials in the program. But her money back guarantee applies only if you buy directly.
A study of 5 different sleep methods revealed that the actual method you choose is less important than sticking to a plan. The key to success using Sleep Sense is no doubt thanks to how Dana keeps you motivated and provides plenty of positive reinforcement. Like a personal trainer at the gym, you are not only paying for specific techniques, but also for someone to keep you on track. Her program forced us to actually do something rather than sitting around and waiting for our child to “grow out of it”. Check out our previous article to see how you can save money by signing up through this discount link first. Take a no risk trial and if you don’t like it, ask for your money back.
Have you tried Sleep Sense or any other similar programs? Would you recommend them? How would you improve them?