Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

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One of the country's leading researchers updates his revolutionary approach to solving—and preventing—your children's sleep problems

Here Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a distinguished pediatrician and father of four, offers his groundbreaking program to ensure the best sleep for your child. In Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, he explains with authority and reassurance his step-by-step regime for instituting beneficial habits within the framework of your child's natural sleep cycles. ...

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One of the country's leading researchers updates his revolutionary approach to solving—and preventing—your children's sleep problems

Here Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a distinguished pediatrician and father of four, offers his groundbreaking program to ensure the best sleep for your child. In Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, he explains with authority and reassurance his step-by-step regime for instituting beneficial habits within the framework of your child's natural sleep cycles. This valuable sourcebook contains brand new research that

- Pinpoints the way daytime sleep differs from night sleep and why both are important to your child
- Helps you cope with and stop the crybaby syndrome, nightmares, bedwetting, and more
- Analyzes ways to get your baby to fall asleep according to his internal clock—naturally
- Reveals the common mistakes parents make to get their children to sleep—including the inclination to rock and feed
- Explores the different sleep cycle needs for different temperaments—from quiet babies to hyperactive toddlers
- Emphasizes the significance of a nap schedule

Rest is vital to your child's health growth and development. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child outlines proven strategies that ensure good, healthy sleep for every age. Advises parents dealing with teenagers and their unique sleep problems

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Marc Weissbluth, a pediatrician and father of four, offers his groundbreaking program to ensure the best sleep for your child. In Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, he explains with authority and reassurance his step-by-step regimen for instituting beneficial habits within the framework of your child's natural sleep cycles.

This valuable sourcebook contains new research that: pinpoints the way daytime sleep differs from night sleep and why both are important to your child; helps you cope with and stop the crybaby syndrome, nightmares, bed-wetting, and more; analyzes ways to get your baby to fall asleep according to his internal clock — naturally; reveals the common mistakes parents make to get their children to sleep — including the inclination to excessively rock and feed; explores the different sleep cycle needs for different temperments — from quiet babies to hyperactive toddlers; emphasizes the significance of a nap schedule; advises parents on how to deal with teenagers and their unique sleep problems.

Rest is vital to your child's growth and development. This book outlines proven strategies that ensure good, healthy sleep for every age.

From the Publisher
“I love Dr. Weissbluth’s philosophy that the most important thing to have is a well-rested family. And fortunately, thanks to this book, most days (and nights) we do!”
–from the Foreword by Cindy Crawford
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449004029
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 25,123
  • Product dimensions: 8.28 (w) x 5.42 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

A pediatrician with thirty-two years of experience, Marc Weissbluth, M.D., is also a leading researcher on sleep and children. He founded the original Sleep Disorders Center at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital and is a professor of clinical pediatrics at Northwestern University School of Medicine. Dr. Weissbluth discovered that sleep is linked to temperament and that sleeping problems are related to infant colic. His landmark seven-year study on the development and disappearance of naps highlighted the importance of daytime sleep. In addition to his own research, he has written about sleep problems in manuals of pediatrics, lectured extensively to parent groups, and appeared on Oprah. Dr. Weissbluth has four sons, two grandsons, and, thankfully, one granddaughter–and they are all good sleepers. Linda, his wife of more than forty years, has provided both inspiration and original ideas for this book.

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Read an Excerpt

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

By Marc Weissbluth

Ballantine Books

Copyright © 1999 Marc Weissbluth, M.D.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-449-00402-3

Chapter One

Infants and children who are still of tender age [may be] attacked by ... wakefulness at night. -Aulus Cornelius Celsus, a.d. 130

Sleeplessness in children and worrying about sleeplessness have been around for a long time.

Healthy sleep appears to come so easily and naturally to newborn babies. Effortlessly, they fall asleep and stay asleep. Their sleep patterns, however, shift and evolve as the brain matures during the first few weeks and months. Such changes may result in "day/night confusion"-long sleep periods during the day and long wakeful periods at night. This is bothersome, but it is only a problem of timing. The young infant still does not have any difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. After several weeks of age, though, parents can shape natural sleep rhythms and patterns into sleep habits.

It comes as a surprise to many parents that healthy sleep habits do not develop automatically. In fact, parents can and do help or hinder the development of healthy sleep habits. Of course, children will spontaneously fall asleep when totally exhausted-"crashing" is a biological necessity! But this is unhealthy, because extreme fatigue (often identified by "wired" behavior immediately preceding the crash) interferes with normal social interactions and even learning. You should not assume that it is "natural" for all children to get peevish, irritable, or cranky at the end of the day. Well-rested children do not behave this way.

Before electricity, radio, television, computers, or commuting long distances to work, children went to sleep earlier than children do today. Our current popular late bedtimes may be no more "natural" than the outdated "natural" belief that fatter babies are healthier babies. Commonly held or popular beliefs about what is natural, normal, or healthy are not always true. In addition, when you think of child rearing, it may appear "natural" for you to consider parenting practices performed in traditional cultures. That is, breast-feed frequently day and night and sleep with your baby, wear your baby in a sling or soft carrier, always be close to your baby, and always respond to your baby. This is not always practical for some families, and even for those families who choose this "natural" style, their baby's extreme fussiness/crying/not sleeping or "unnatural" factors can interfere.

Dr. Christian Guilleminault, who along with Dr. William C. Dement was the founding editor of the world's leading journal of sleep research, taught me to consider five fundamental principles of understanding sleep:

1. The sleeping brain is not a resting brain.

2. The sleeping brain functions in a different manner than the waking brain.

3. The activity and work of the sleeping brain are purposeful.

4. The process of falling asleep is learned.

5. Providing the growing brain with sufficient sleep is necessary for developing the ability to concentrate and an easier temperament.

Sleep is the power source that keeps your mind alert and calm. Every night and at every nap, sleep recharges the brain's battery. Sleeping well increases brainpower just as lifting weights builds stronger muscles, because sleeping well increases your attention span and allows you to be physically relaxed and mentally alert at the same time. Then you are at your personal best.

As you will discover as you read this book, when children



All babies have spells of fussing and crying.

These spells distress all parents.

All parents want to soothe their baby.

The more the baby fusses or cries, the less she sleeps.

The less the baby sleeps, the less the parents sleep.

The less the parents sleep, the harder it is for them to soothe their baby.

Relatives and friends want to help soothe the baby and are expected to assist parents.

Breast-feeding and sleeping with your baby are powerful ways to soothe your baby.


Urban stimulation (noises, voices, delivery trucks, shopping trips, errands) may interfere with baby's sleeping.

Day care (not being able to put your child to sleep when just starting to become tired or too much stimulation) may interfere with baby's sleeping.

Social isolation forcing only the mother to be wholly responsible to take care of soothing and sleeping may cause intense stress for the mother.

Busy modern lifestyles means that parents have many things to do and little time to do them; sometimes they have to take their baby with them even at sleep times.

Mothers have to work outside the house, miss playing with their baby, and keep their baby up too late at night.

Fathers or mothers have a long commute and return home from work late, want to play with their baby, and keep their baby up too late at night.

Grandparents interfere with sleep routines.

Learn to sleep well, they also learn to maintain optimal wakefulness. The notion of optimal wakefulness, also called optimal alertness, is important, because we tend to think simplistically of being either awake or asleep. Just as our twenty-four-hour cycle consists of more than just the two states called daytime and nighttime, there are gradations-which we call dawn and dusk-in sleep and wakefulness.

In sleep, the levels vary from deep sleep to partial arousals; in wakefulness, the levels vary from being wide awake to being groggy.

The importance of optimal wakefulness cannot be overemphasized. If your child does not get all the sleep he needs, he may seem either drowsy or hyperalert. If either state lasts for a long time, the results are the same: a child with a difficult mood and hard-to-control behavior, certainly not one who is ready and able to enjoy himself or get the most out of the myriad of learning experiences placed before him.

With our busy lifestyles, how can we keep track of nap schedules and regular bedtime hours? Is it really true that I can harm my baby by giving him love at night when he cries out for me? How can I be sure that sleep is really that important? Am I a bad parent if my child cries? If he cries at night, isn't he feeling insecure? These are questions many parents ask me. Parents will often mention that articles or books they have read seem to support different ideas, and so they conclude by saying that since this whole issue is "so controversial," they would rather let matters stay as they are. If you think your child is not sleeping well and if you disagree with the suggestions in this book, then ask yourself how long you should wait for improvement to occur. Three months? Three years? If you are following the opinion of a professional who says you must spend more time with your child at night to make him feel more "secure," ask that professional, "When will I know we are on the right track?" Don't wait forever. Consider what Dr. Charles E. Sundell, the physician in charge of the Children's Department in the Prince of Wales General Hospital in England, wrote in 1922: "Success in the treatment of sleeplessness in infants is a good standard by which to estimate the patience and skill of the practitioner." He also wrote: "A sleepless baby is a reproach to his guardian, and convicts them of some failure in their guardianship." So don't think that worrying about sleeplessness is just a contemporary issue.

The truth is, modern research regarding sleep/wake states only confirms what careful practitioners such as Dr. Sundell observed over eighty years ago. He wrote:

The temptation to postpone the time for a baby's sleep, so that he may be admired by some relative or friend who is late in arriving, or so that his nurse may finish some work on which she may be engaged, must be strongly resisted. A sleepy child who is kept awake exhausts his nervous energy very quickly in peevish restlessness, and when preparations are at last made for his sleep he may be too weary to settle down....

Regularity of habits is one of the sheet-anchors by which the baroque of an infant's health is secured. The reestablishment of a regular routine, after even a short break, frequently calls for patient perseverance on the part of the nurse, but though the child may protest vigorously for several nights, absolute firmness seldom fails to procure the desired result.

Each baby is unique. They're like little snowflakes. Babies are born with individual traits that affect the amount of physical activity, the duration of sleep, and the length of periods of crying they will sustain. But babies also differ in more subtle ways. Some are easier to "read"; they seem to have predictable schedules for feeding and sleeping. These babies also tend to cry less and sleep more. Regular babies are more self-soothing; they fall asleep easier, and when they awaken at night they are more able to return to sleep unassisted. But don't blame yourself if you have an irregular baby who cries a lot and is less self-soothing. It's only luck, although social customs may affect how you feel about it.

In those societies where the mother holds the baby close all the time, and her breasts are always available for nursing and soothing, there are still great differences among babies in terms of fussiness and crying. The mother compensates by increasing the amount of rhythmic, rocking motions or nursing. She may not even expect the baby to sleep alone, away from her body. As she grows up, a child might share the bed with her parents for a long time. This is not necessarily good or bad; it's just different from the expectations of most middle-class Western families.

So not only do babies sleep differently, but every society's expectations condition parents' feelings in different ways. Remember, there are no universally "right" or "wrong" ways, or "natural" versus "unnatural" styles, of raising children. Less-developed societies are not necessarily more "natural" and thus "healthier" in their child-rearing practices. After all, strychnine and cow's milk are equally "natural," but they have altogether different effects when ingested.

How much we are bothered by infant crying or poor sleep habits might partially reflect our own expectations about how to be "good" parents. Do we want to carry the baby all the time, twenty-four hours a day, or do we want to put the baby down sometimes to sleep?

Here's a true story. A Saudi Arabian princess came to my office for a consultation, accompanied by her English-trained Saudi pediatrician, her English-trained Saudi nanny, and two other women, to discuss sleeping habits for the royal family's children. The pediatrician described child care arrangements that had been popular among British aristocrats in the nineteenth century. Like trained baby nurses in nineteenth-century England, the Saudi Arabian nanny was always able to hold the princess's baby while the child was sleeping for the simple reason that the Saudi nurse had her own servants! These subordinate nannies were not as well trained and were assigned the menial domestic chores associated with child rearing.

The majority of parents do not have child care staffs. They have to rely on their own skills. So if we are greatly bothered by our baby's crying or our guilt about not being "good" parents, this may interfere with our developing a sense of competence. We may feel that we cannot influence sleep patterns in our child. Unfortunately, this way of thinking can set the stage for future sleep disorders.

Sleep problems not only disrupt a child's nights, they disrupt his days, too, by making him less mentally alert, more inattentive, unable to concentrate, and easily distracted. They also make him more physically impulsive, hyperactive, or lazy. But when children sleep well, they are optimally awake and alert, able to learn and grow up with charm and humor. When parents are too irregular, inconsistent, or oversolicitous, or when there are unresolved problems between the parents, the resulting sleep problems converge, producing excessive nighttime wakefulness and crying.

Please do not simply assume that children must pass through different "stages" at different ages, and that these stages inevitably create sleep problems. The truth is that after three or four months of age, all children can begin to learn to sleep well. The learning process will occur as naturally as learning how to walk.

The bad news is that some parents create sleep problems. The good news is that parents can prevent sleep problems as well as correct any that develop.

Parents who favor a more gradual approach (controlled crying or graduated extinction) over an abrupt approach (ignoring or extinction) often complain of frequent "relapses." The general reason why a gradual approach tends to be less successful in the long run is that it takes longer and there are always natural disruptions of sleep, such as illnesses or vacations. The subsequent reestablishment of healthy sleep routines using a gradual approach becomes very stressful to the parents. Several days or weeks of a gradual approach often wear down parents, so they give up and revert to their old inconsistencies. Parents who have successfully used extinction know that they might have one, and only one, night of crying after they return home from several days on vacation or from a visit to a relative's house.

The truth is that some parents swing back and forth between firmness and permissiveness so often, they cannot make any cure stick. They often confuse their wishful thinking with the child's actual behavior. This is why a sleep log, which I will describe later, can be an important tool to help you document what you are really doing and how your child is really responding. After all, short-term "successes" might only reflect brief periods when your child crashes at night from chronic exhaustion. Or the actual improvement in sleep habits may be so marginal that the normal disruptions of vacations, trips, illnesses, or other irregularities constantly buffet the still-tired child and cause repeated "relapses" in which he wakes often during the night or fights going to sleep.

In contrast, parents who successfully carry out an abrupt retraining program-the cold-turkey approach-to improve sleep habits see immediate and dramatic improvement without any lasting ill effects. These children have fewer relapses and recover faster and more completely from natural disruptions of sleep routines. Seeing a cure really "stick" for a while gives you the courage to keep tighter control over sleep patterns and to repeat the process again if needed.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for parents to start early to help their child learn to sleep well.


If you start early with sleep training, you will be well along the path to preventing sleep problems.

When you start early, there are no long bouts of crying and no problems with sleeping.


Excerpted from Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth Copyright © 1999 by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 203 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 204 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2008

    Real solutions for getting your baby to sleep

    I am a stay at home mom of a 5 mo old boy and have been using this book since he was 2 1/2 months old and I love it! I use it all the time to refer to. What I like is that it gives you step by step instructions for getting your child to sleep. Until he was 4 months I did not let him cry at all. I tried soothing him to sleep, but then he would just wake up a few minutes later. He was really fighting anything I tried to soothe him. I got to the point where I felt like nothing I was doing was helping anyway. Then I decided to start letting him cry it out. It was the hardest thing to do, I cried with him pretty much the entire time. I started with his morning nap and he cried the entire time and I went to get him after an hour. Then he took his next 2 naps and went down for the night with soothing. The next day he took his morning nap fine but then cried though his 1st afternoon nap, the entire hour once again. He took his 3rd nap and went down fine for bedtime. The next day he cried for 45 min for his morning nap. Since then, he cries very little and goes down so easily! I was on the verge of giving up but I am so glad I didn't. I can not even tell you how liberating it is to be able to put your baby down - whether the baby is asleep or awake - it will change your life! He now sleeps from 7pm-6:30 am and takes 3 naps at about 8:30am, noon, and 3:30pm. He is so happy! I recommend it to anyone with babies they are struggling to get to sleep!

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2003

    Save your money, save your child's trust

    I read this book because my friend insisted I 'had to' and it was 'The Book'. I was horrified. The book tells you to let your poor baby scream and scream and scream. It tells you to go against every instinct naturally bestowed upon women (for a reason) and ignore your baby's only way to communicate, and eventually you'll be lucky enough that they just give up. That's not how I want to start a relationship with a baby. I want my baby to know he can trust me to be there for him. My son, by the way, is a great sleeper, still napping at age 4 and sleeping through the night. He wakes with a smile. My friend's kids? Well, she's still pulling out her hair 3 years later and constantly 're-training' them with the advice in this book.

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2001

    A Must Read for Sanity

    I was a Sears follower (an auther and pediatrician who encourages parents to always attend to children's cries during the night, otherwise called 'Nightime Parenting'). After 9 months my baby was still waking up 2-4 times per night and was sleeping erratically during the day for at most 2 hours, but usually less than one hour naps. We all were exhausted. I read this book and realized that I had not taught my daughter how to put herself to sleep, we had been running to her every whim during the night and she expected us to help her fall asleep. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is a must read if you have a child who is not sleeping well. I now know that sleep is as critical to my baby as eating and stimulation. Our baby, now 10 months old, goes to bed at 6:00 pm and sleeps through to 6:00 am. She naps at 8:30 for an hour or two and then again at 12:30 for an hour or two. I lay her down and she rarely cries. Bed time is a joy. This book is a must read....

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2005

    Weissbluth Offers Sage, Caring Advice

    I found the information in this book to be very sound and doable as it is based on an entire career of research and experience as a clinician, pediatrician and well as a father of 4 children. Living in Chicago, I wish to share that Weissbluth has a long standing well-respected reputation. For me, this book taught my husband and I a variety of strategies regarding various sleep issues as our baby grew older. Most recently we consulted the book for the step by step process of how to get our 3 year old to stay in HIS bed all night. It takes tenacity and consistency (and maybe a couple of glasses of wine) to execute over a 3-4 day period...but the extinction method worked and I am so grateful my husband and I stuck it out. If you have a child that won't stay in his bed after you tuck him in...this book offers a way to solve the problem. This is THE book for handling all sleep problems. For more tips on managing a variety of related toddler/preschooler behaviors particularly common at bedtime (such as tantrums, bad words, power struggles, whining and many more), I wish to recommend 'The Pocket Parent'. Weissbluth is quoted several times in the chapter on Bedtime Refusals and Nighttime Fears. --These are two parent freindly books you can refer to again and again for insight and strategies that work.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This was my sleep bible for the first 2 years!!!

    My husband and I walked in to the pediatrician's office bleary eyed and exhausted with our 4-month old son, and practically begged for help. Without hesitation he recommended this book to us and it worked. I love it because unlike many other parenting books that are filled with emotionally charged discussions and mud-slinging for or against one style vs. another, this book only deals in facts and medical research on sleep patterns and brain cycles and how they change over the course of those precious first 2 years.

    This is not a book that advocates letting your child scream his lungs out, I am not at all a fan of the Ferber method. What I did like is that he says in fact, if you learn when your childs' ideal sleep window is, they will fall asleep much more readily and easily without the screaming than when they are overtired. I did have to endure a few nights of protest crying, but they lasted no more than 20 minutes and there was no distressed crying.

    There were parts of the book that were very clinical and somewhat dry as he attempts to build your understanding of the physiological needs for sleep, and I found myself skipping around a bit to the sections that pertained to my sons age to read the examples he gave. Just as he predicts, we would fall in to a time where the sleep schedule just didn't seem to be working and after a few frustrating days of a cranky baby I would remind myself to pick up the book and review his suggestions on how to make modifications, and they worked- EVERY TIME!

    There are some people who believe that being disciplined about their child's sleep is inconvenient for their schedule as parents, but I found the opposite to be true! No my kids did not fall asleep in their strollers or in car seats out at restaurants, and yes, I did have to modify my life for a couple of years, with a few exceptions, to insure that they got all of the sleep they needed, but the results were worth it. We had happy, delightful, never overtired babies. They had a consistently early bed time which meant relaxation and time alone for us as a couple. And now at 4 and 6 years old we have boys that are well rested and ready to learn. Even now when we have the occasional late night bed time, or when we are on vacation or traveling, I can really see a difference in their behavior with a little sleep deficit; particularly if the deficit occurs over several nights. However, because of this book and the training it provides, it is very easy to make some adjustments and get them down early for a few nights and we are back on track!

    I have two boys and both of them were very different in terms of their sleep patterns and needs. My youngest son never has slept as long at night or taken long naps like my oldest son. This book does not prescribe a one size fits all approach to developing good sleep habits. It gives you the ranges of what is considered normal and what the brain needs at each given age bracket and will require you to observe your child carefully over several days and invest a little bit of time in to changing your bedtime routines and patterns until you find their magic window where they fall asleep with very little crying.

    If you want a factual, informative book on how to create healthy sleep habits that will last for life-than this book is for you!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2007

    This method hasn't failed yet

    I am a mom to five kids and have used this method successfully on four of my children (my youngest is just 12 weeks and we're about to undertake sleep training once again). Anyway, I notice that the majority of the reviews are positive and I can't add much to the comments except to give a brief description of our success for the faint of heart. Plus, I would like to point out that those of us who opt for this method are NOT cruel or lazy or selfish (as some of the negative reviewers imply). We are simply parents doing what we feel is best for our children, our families and our own mental health. I know for me this book truly saved me from deepening depression, anxiety, and anger (towards my husband, my baby, and my other children as each baby came). When I was a chronically sleep-deprived mother I was not capable of being the mother that I wanted to be. My experience: Baby #1) Boy, started training at 3 1/2 months. He was colicky and slept a total of 8-9 hours out of 24. When not nursing or sleeping, he was crying. The only way I managed him was by walking (up to 6 miles a day) just so he wouldn't cry. I was burned out, resentful, wanting to return to work just to escape and found myself very depressed, tired and worn out. I found the Ferber book first, read it and tried the method. However, the intermittent reassurance only made my baby mad so I looked for more help. Thank God above, I found Dr. Weissbluth. As others have noted, his book gives scientific explanations in addition to advice and I found the personal testimonies very reassuring. I implemented his strategies immediately. His nighttime sleep improved quickly, but naps were more difficult. I stuck with it, however, and after 6 weeks of consistent training (and not much crying in retrospect), he was sleeping 10-12 hours a night and taking 2, 1-2 hour naps. This seemed nothing short of a miracle for my baby who previously took NO naps and slept intermittently at night. Baby #2)A girl born 1 1/2 years after her brother. She had her days and nights pretty mixed up so she slept great stretches during the day and screamed (and I mean screamed) all night. By eight weeks both my husband and I were completely fried. A story in the book was similar to ours so we started sleep training at eight weeks with the understanding that we would abandon it if she didn't improve quickly. Well, within 3 days she was sleeping 12 hours at night and taking 2-3 naps per day. Some nights she would sleep 14 hours a night. We were floored. Again, another 'miracle.' Baby #3)A boy. We started using the strategies early with this baby. By eight weeks he was sleeping 6 hour stretches at night with almost no crying. We were very in tune to his sleepy cues and tried to get him down for naps when he seemed tired. As Dr. Weissbluth notes, sometimes the naps work and sometimes they don't when they are only 6-8 weeks old, but being consistent can really help your child learn to sleep. Again, by 12 weeks, he was sleeping very well at nigth (12 hours) and taking 2 naps per day. Baby #4)A girl. I honestly don't remember any sleep issues with her (other than typical newborn crying jags and fussiness). We were very consistent with her, had her sleeping in her crib and made sure to stick to our routine. Yes she cried a little, but no long crying spells. Some days she couldn't be up for more than an hour at a time before needing another nap. She is now 5 and to this day she will say 'I need to go to bed now.' She knows when she needs sleep and she goes willingly. Even on Christmas Eve. Baby #5)A boy. He is almost three months and we have tried to 'train' him in fits and starts. It doesn't work. Consistency, patience and persistence are key. We are about to undertake sleep training again. We can see that he is getting overtired, irritable and unable to settle himself. Overall, this method works. Period. Again, it is not for everyone. If you prefer a

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2008

    NOT appropriate for Adoptive families!!!

    As an adoptive parent, I am appalled by the advice given in this book. The author insists that crying-it-out doesn't interfere with attachment. He never says anything specific about 'attachment in adoption' however, and makes no distinction between children who were adopted and biological children, and that alone is a huge red flag for me. All babies and children need to attach to their parents, and maybe letting your kid scream alone for an hour won't hurt a kid you gave birth to 'i have no idea, really' but he also advises this for adoptive parents, and that's just bad advice. In fact, adoption is only mentioned on 3 of the 457 pages of this book. It is almost completely anecdotal, too, and the advice given contradicts basic attachment recommendations for adoptive families. Example is cited below. There is one brief paragraph from the author, on page 428, ending with the sentence 'The following story illustrates how experienced parents were able to help their new child learn to sleep better, even though she hadn't slept well for nine months'. --Okay, how does HE know how the baby slept for the first 9 months prior to adoption??? The story goes on to say 'We arrived back home late that night....the next day we paid a visit to Dr. Weissbluth's office, and he advised us...put her down at 9am for a morning nap...if she cries, pick her up after an hour.' --AN HOUR, for a NEWLY ADOPTED 9 month old?!?! A later paragraph states 'I was convinced that she was missing her foster father and that she was grieving for everythign she had left behind in Guatemala....I mentioned my 'grieving' theory to Dr. Weissbluth, who politely discounted it. He said that when babies wake up in the middle of the night, they are in a twilight state between sleep and waking. They aren't likely to be grieving or doing much else.... he suggested putting her to bed earlier...she might still be overtired.' Again, this runs completely COUNTER to what we know of adopted children who CAN talk, for starters. And discounting grieving in a child who was attached to her foster family and had stranger anxiety and didn't know who these new strangers were??? --stranger anxiety was also mentioned earlier in the story. Later the parent writes 'Have these healthy sleep habits produced a happy child? You bet. 'she' is a joy to be around. As we've all gotten to know each other better she has become much more affectionate.' Does anyone else think maybe TIME GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER maybe was the huge factor there, since they were complete strangers at first? It's even possible, perhaps probable, that letting this poor little girl cry it out only prolonged attaching to her new family.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2003

    Scientifically correct...but harsh when put into practice

    While the doctor is a specialist in the area of sleep the book fails to appreciate that babies are people with feelings. To give you an understanding of what I mean here are a few EXACT quotes. Page 177 'Use thick layers of zinc oxide paste in the diaper region so that no rash will develop when you do not go to your baby at night to change diapers.' How long to let your baby cry? Page 159 for naps 'no more than one hour' for bedtime 'there is no time limit at night if the child is not hungry or ill' Why do you let him cry? Page 159 'We are leaving him alone to forget the expectation to be picked up.' To answer 'Isn't crying harmful' he says: 'Not necessarily.' 'When a child cries she may more quickly unlearn to expect to be picked up.' And if your baby cries so hard she vomits? Page 176 'If the vomiting is irregular and occasional you should try waiting until after you think she is deeply asleep before checking, and then quickly clean her if needed.' (Wait until she's ASLEEP before checking? Clean her IF NEEDED?) In response to a parent who says she wants to respond to her crying baby at night, Page 178 'Letting your baby cry is not doing nothing. You are activily encouraging the development of independence' He then says you may not want to hear your baby cry because you have Page 179 'Working mother's guilt. You may feel guilty about being away from your child so much.' What if your baby climbs out of the crib? Page 193 'A crib tent will prevent your child from getting out of the crib, and it allows you to remove yourself from his protest crying' And if you don't want to use a crib tent because he says 'some parents feel that the crib tent locks their child in the crib like an animal caged in the zoo' then 'lock the door instead.' To keep a 3 year old from getting up too early in the morning 'Place a digital clock in her room and set the alarm for 6 or 7' 'You do not respond to her cries before this wake-up time.' Enough said. Not only are the ideas harsh and the grammer terrible, I much prefer the sensitive approach in The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley where you don't have to deal with vomiting, crying or crib tents.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2003

    Secure Baby

    I do not let my baby cry and would not let him cry for 40 minutes like one of the reviews stated or as the book states. That is horrible!!! A baby needs security like he had in the womb and to know his parents are there especially in the first six months. Allowing your baby to cry for long periods of time within the first six months can cause problems with insecurity for your child. Along with a gassy baby sucking in all that air screaming. I am surprised that any parent would actually take that advice and listen to their baby cry for long periods (40 minutes).It may work for the moment but later can resurface with deep rooted problems,insecurties and a dependency problem.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2009

    Could Be Summarized in Twenty Pages

    I think the author could have summarized this book in one chapter. The basic premise is, your child should be put down to sleep every two hours after waking. To get to that, you have to read through pages and pages of drawn-out text wherein the author insults children and parents who may be experiencing sleep problems, calling sleepless children brats and whatnot. Again, the book is okay and helpful on some level, but I wish it were much more comprehensive and less insulting.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2007

    Be aware of baby trainers

    Be aware of baby trainers who think it is fantastic to 'let babies cry', 'force them on sleep schedules', and 'don't pick them up'. This is detachment parenting advices, rather than instinctive attachment parenting, which is the natural way of caring for your baby. When I read this book, I feel a cruel taste in my mouth in child caring. I don't feel any love towards babies in this book. This is a twisted way of caring for children in Western world.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2006


    I have been reading this book and I am deeply disturbed by many things the author says, and the way that he approaches children, as if they don't matter and they do not have feelings. In one section he says, and I quote: 'Crying is not the real issue. We are leaving the child alone to forget the expectation to be picked up.' I found this goal frightening. I want my baby to know I will pick him up when he needs me, and I want him to be able to express his needs to me and know that I care. He says that to keep a child in the bedroom use 'a stiff door hook' and to keep a child in the crib use a crib tent to 'prevent social interaction at night.' He even says directly, 'Leave him alone.' I don't feel this is thoughtful or wise advice. If your child crys so hard she vomits, he says 'you should try waiting until after you think she is deeply asleep before checking and then quickly clean her if needed.' If needed?! That section alone makes me distrust the whole book. Several parents quoted in the book say they feel cruel, insensitive and guilty, and I can surely understand why. I would avoid this book and instead read one of the other books about children's sleep.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2005

    There are better ways

    If you are into letting your child CIO this is for you but there are better more nurturing ways to meet your child's needs.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2004

    Mother of twins sees the light

    THIS BOOK IS A MUST- I wish I would've read this sooner. I am a mother of 4 1/2 month old fraternal twins and read this book front to back in a week (a milestone with twins). Up until reading this, I assumed that no person and not one book could assist in getting my babies to sleep in the early evening and keeping them down all night. I was a frazzled woman- waiting for them to fall asleep when they pleased & accepting that whatever sleep they got was fine. They were getting about 12 hours of sleep in 24 hours and were going down for the night at 10:30/11pm. After reading this book, I was able to put them on a schedule (didn't think I could, with twins) and after 4 days they were sleeping at 6:30pm for 12 hours & 3 hours in the day for their naps. Ahhh...time with my husband and happier babies during the day.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2004

    Short term thinking

    This book charms the new parent who is desperate for sleep. But 'sleep at any cost' is purely the wrong way to approach raising your child. Yes I think that any baby left to cry in the crib will sooner or later fall asleep and will learn that no one comes so why bother to call out. But I think that is what parents are for - to be there for their children day AND night not just when it is convenient or easy. The methods in this book are straightforward even when he tells you not to clean up your baby if he vomits lest you damage the progress of sleep training. The baby stage is very short and I don't want to look back at this time and think that I took the selfish route just for a few hours of sleep. A better and more loving approach is outlined in The No Cry Sleep Solution. I think you should check them both out before you decide if you want to sleep train your baby OR work with your baby's natural rhythms to gently help him learn to sleep better.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2002

    Requires lots of crying

    Here's a quote from the book 'If we place an arbitrary limit on the duration of crying at night, we train our child to cry to that predetermined time. When it is open-ended, the child learns to stop protesting and to fall asleep.' Well, sure. Have you ever cried yourself to sleep? Exhaustion and agony work. This requires a hard heart and lots of crying. He also says 'We are leaving him alone to forget the expectation to be picked up.' We are talking about a BABY here, a baby who deserves and needs to picked up and should expect to be picked up. I'm sorry that I started with this book, I'm glad I moved on to one that is more compassionate and loving: The No-Cry Sleep Solution. A better and more peaceful NO CRY way.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2011

    A new parent's lifesaver!

    My daughter swears by this book. She has used it as a resource for her first child who is now 3 and her second who is 5 months. My other daughter is having her first baby in November and I bought this as a gift for her. We have also given the book to numerous friends upon the birth of their first children.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    Highly Recommended!

    I have had this book since my son was 10 months old and not sleeping well. He is now 8. When we started this book, he was sleeping about 7-8hr and napping about and hour a day. By the time he was 11 months old, he was sleeping 14 hrs a night and taking 2, two hour naps a day! He was such a happy baby after we started this! It is totally my bible and goes clear through adolesence. I still reference it because as they grow so does different sleeping patterns.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2007

    It's 6pm and my 18 month old is down for the night

    My title says it all. Since 6 months old, my daughter has slept 13 hours a night straight. As she gets older and needs less sleep, she shortens her naps...which is OK by me. Either it works for you or it doesn' saved my sanity...and every night is date night when my husband gets home!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2006

    Good Tips

    I purchased this book after my daughter's sleep turned into a disaster area. She used to sleep well and then stopped all of a sudden, she began to wake all through the night and stop napping, i looked to this book for help and found some. It was not written as concisely as I would have liked and it took me a while to figure out what I should do to improve her sleep, the one big tip i picked up was earlier bedtimes, this seemed to be the problem and really did help. I would recommend this book along with Nanny Wisdom and Dr Ferber's book. After reading all three of these books I was able to decipher what to do next, how much sleep my daughter needed and how to actually do it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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