Writing this book began by chance. In fact it was almost an accident. Well, actually a couple of accidents combined with a learning curve. A number of years ago my wife and I went to New Zealand for our honeymoon. We enjoyed the South Island, and to our very great surprise, she had a positive pregnancy test two weeks after returning to Australia. Accident number one.
Events proceeded normally for us. My wife has fairly rocky pregnancies, but at approximately the right time, our son Ben was born. He was a beautiful baby and, being the doctor in the house, I began to give advice. Accident number two.
It quickly became obvious that my medical expertise, which worked satisfactorily in the hospital, the operating theatre or casualty area, was sadly lacking at home. My wife had no hesitation in smiling at me lovingly, and completely ignoring everything I said. I had entered the learning curve.
Being a father, eventually of four children, and at the same time delivering babies and caring for them was a major joy. As I learned more from my wife’s wise care, from my patients, and from many hundreds of children, I gained enthusiasm and confidence for the area of caring for the normal newborn. The number of families who saw me for problems of infant sleeping gradually increased until now it dominates my consulting work. As I saw more families, the age of the children who were being brought to me increased and the emphasis expanded from preventing sleep problems to resolving those which were established.
The final event leading to my beginning to write was a patient complaint that I had told her too much when she was so tired. She asked me to make her some notes. So I did. They grew and grew, and here they are.
When originally written, it was a guide for new parents and focused on the first few months of life. It now looks at the time from birth to some undefined time before school. Much of what is written applies to newborn children, but the oldest case mentioned is ten years old.
Take from this book those pieces of advice which fit with your life and your beliefs. I have written it for the average couple whom I see. This is not a scientific book, but hopefully a collection of useful hints.