Penguin releases Neha Bhatt and Himani Dalmia’s, Sleeping Like a Baby – a ground-breaking book in the parenting space
Sleeping Like a Baby serves as the ultimate bedside companion for parents, packed with all the modern tools you need to build a stronger connection with your children and enable age-appropriate sleep for their optimum growth. The book does the seemingly impossible: blending traditional wisdom and the latest research, it gives us a revolutionary approach to achieve longer naps, better night sleep with fewer wakings, a happier baby and more joy and rest as a family, without resorting to fraught practices like ‘sleep training’.
With anecdotal insights, deep research and practical tips in an Indian context, this book empowers parents to tune into their instincts and understand a child’s cues so that bedtime battles, cranky days and sleepless nights are a thing of the past. Authored by the co-founders running the pioneering Facebook group Gentle Baby Sleep India, Sleeping Like a Baby shares the secret sauce that enables a family-no matter its structure or pressures-to keep the child’s evolutionary and biological sleep needs in focus.
Endorsed by some of the most eminent child sleep experts and written in a style that is deceptively simple and accessible, Sleeping Like a Baby is the final word on responsive and restful sleep for caregiver and baby. All night long.
Sleeping like a Baby is a ground-breaking book in the parenting space in India, it is not a memoir or loosely argued expert opinion but packed with research while still being eminently readable and written at a high standard by two established writers.
Himani and Neha have written a gem of a book packed with useful information for new and prospective parents. They have thoughtfully applied the concept of biologically normal infant sleep to the concerns of Indian parents having noted in their online parenting community that the discourse regarding where babies’ needs arise from was missing from parents’ understanding of their babies’ sleep patterns and preferences. Their overall approach is very much aligned with the outcomes of our research regarding the importance of encouraging parents to understand and foster biologically normal infant sleep, including nursing to sleep, safe bedsharing, contact napping, experimenting and adapting to meet babies’ changing needs, and avoiding sleep training.— Helen Ball, Professor, Durham University, Director, Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre, Director, Baby Sleep Information Source
No parenting subject has been more fraught than infant sleep-and none has been as muddied by misinformation and everyday violence. It thrills me that at last we see a book in India that lays bare the myths associated with baby sleep, and leads parents with authority towards a path that is aligned with the biological sleep needs of mum and baby. This book is important for more reasons that I can list-but especially because it is empowering. It grants mothers the permission they so desperately need to hold their babies (well past toddlerhood), share sleep with them on the same bed, tune into the instincts they’re otherwise made to suppress, and know the joy and security and restfulness that such an arrangement brings. Our children don’t need sleep training. They need us, their nurturers. They need our warm bodies, the embrace of our willing arms, as they drift into sleep. Himani Dalmia and Neha Bhatt-by deftly weaving together scientific fact and lived experience-remind us of precisely this.— Dharini Bhaskar, Mother and Author of These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light
It is so wonderful to see a book on sleep that blends the cross-cultural and historical practices that are covered in-depth in anthropological research with the modern, Western science on sleep. For too long, families have been told they should be pushing independence when it comes to sleep; and yet, what children need in order to feel safe and secure is to be close to a parent. It is unfortunate that Western obsessions regarding sleep-that are not rooted in our human biology-are leaving families exhausted and frustrated. Help that is rooted in ancient traditions that are closely aligned with our biology and psychology is what families need more of, and that is exactly what Neha and Himani can offer tired parents. As a co-sleeping parent myself, I can say the benefits of co-sleeping are not to be underestimated for our sleep but also for our sense of closeness and connection!— Tracy Cassels, PhD; Director of Evolutionary Parenting
This book addresses a core question for every new family – how do we get our baby to sleep? While reading this book I learnt that the question itself was incorrect. Our modern lifestyles end up ruining our children’s natural sleep rhythms due to a lack of understanding on our part. As a result, Indian children are some of the most sleep-deprived in the world. This has a massive impact on their daytime emotional regulation and frustration tolerance. Chronically overstimulated children are cranky, prone to tantrums and difficult to feed and soothe. Disrupted sleep cycles are also associated with hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity – which might help explain the huge rise in these diagnoses in children. In a gentle, firm, calming voice that impressively even manages to include the political, the authors will hand-hold you toward this understanding of better sleep for everyone at home. I was in tears by the time I had got past the introduction, recalling our struggles as a young family and wishing we had had this book as a guide when we had little babies.— Nupur Dhingra Paiva, Founder and Lead Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist at Family Tree: Child & Adolescent Mental Health Team
‘In the world of thousands of self-help books on babies and sleep, the authors delve into a daunting subject that has deep roots in skewed and biased approaches to sleep. And I must say, Sleeping Like a Baby bravely provides a refreshing culture-sensitive, never-before-written book for Indian parents. Neha Bhatt and Himani Dalmia take you right into the heart of ancient wisdom through the lens of challenging modern parenting. The distractions are too many in technologically scattered parenting and living. This book promises to be your companion in this ever secluding world with information on “how best to sleep naturally, biologically, harmoniously”.’— Effath Yasmin, leading International Board Certified Lactation, Consultant and Biodynamic Craniosacral Practitioner
‘Getting a child to sleep is a big problem for many parents. I would recommend this book to parents who want to understand the art and science of getting this crucial aspect of raising a child right’— DR ANUPAM SIBAL, Paediatrician, Apollo Hospitals
Quote from authors
‘Indian children are among the most sleep-deprived in the world: on average, they barely clock 8 hours of sleep a night instead of the prescribed 10–12 hours, besides naps for younger children. Why do parents struggle to get their babies to bed? And what can be done to fix this sleep crisis? We spent over six years engaging with new parents and digging deep into the science behind why babies sleep the way they do and found an enormous gap between parental expectations and biological norms. In Sleeping Like a Baby, we’ve tried to provide the answers to fix a broken system that puts tremendous pressure and stress on mothers, babies, caregivers to conform to unrealistic societal standards leading to disastrous physical and mental health consequences. Our book breaks down damaging myths to turn the focus on the power of empathy and science, and presents a pathbreaking way to view parenting through the lens of sleep.’Neha Bhatt says:
‘Baby sleep is a million dollar industry worldwide. There are hundreds of baby sleep books, sleep consultants, sleep clinics, props, apps and websites. This is because sleep deprivation is such an integral and debilitating part of early parenthood in modern times. We have read every single important baby sleep book out there, in addition to medical research and mining the experience of the thousands of members of Gentle Baby Sleep India. Not only is there not a single Indian book on baby sleep, none of the international baby sleep books came close to communicating the unique, humane, biologically normal and effective formula we had discovered and developed to help babies and families sleep better. Sleeping Like A Baby dives into research on baby sleep and presents several real-life case studies, giving parents the tools they need to tune into their instincts and their babies’ cues to navigate these choppy waters with confidence and joy.’Himani Dalmia says:
About the authors
Himani Dalmia is an Australian-Certified Infant and Child Sleep Specialist and co-founder of the support group, Gentle Baby Sleep India. She is a Leader of the La Leche League, the largest non-profit for breastfeeding awareness globally. Her first book, a bestselling and critically acclaimed novel titled Life Is Perfect, was published in 2009. Formerly a member of the Times of India Edit Page team, she has contributed widely to newspapers, magazines and journals. A children’s picture book by her is currently under publication by HarperCollins India. Himani graduated with honours in English from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, and holds a master’s degree in South Asian Literature from the University of Oxford. She lives in New Delhi with her husband Akash and two little girls, Devika and Yamini.
Neha Bhatt is an award-winning journalist who reports on public health, human rights, gender and education for leading international and Indian publications. Her work has been published in The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, The British Medical Journal and The Hindu, among others. Formerly a staffer at a range of news organizations, including Outlook magazine, she has won the Press Council of India, UNFPA-Laadli and Red Ink awards for excellence in journalism. Neha has also written widely on books, film and culture. She holds a postgraduate diploma from the Asian College of Journalism. She is an advocate for conscious parenting and co-founder of the pioneering support network, Gentle Baby Sleep India. Neha is based in Gurugram, where she lives with her husband and son.