The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5

The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5

by Jennifer Waldburger LCSW, Jill Spivack LMSW


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Even Hollywood's biggest stars face the same dilemma as other parents do: "How do I get my child to sleep?" As parents in the know are finding, whether they're on the red carpet or the soccer field, the answer is the same: The Sleepeasy Solution.

Psychotherapists and sleep specialists Jennifer and Jill, the dynamic "girlfriends" all of Hollywood calls on to solve Junior's sleep problems, have perfected their sleep technique that will get any child snoozing in no time—most often in fewer than three nights. The key to their method? It addresses the emotional needs of both the parent and child (yes, how to handle the crying!)—a critical component of why most other sleep methods fail.

In this much-needed, family-friendly guide, weary parents will learn to define their own individual sleep goals, those that work for their family’s schedule and style. They'll create a customized "sleep planner" to ensure consistency with both parents as well as extended caregivers. (As an added bonus, they'll even improve the readers' relationships with their spouses with the "marriage-saver" section.) With comprehensive sections devoted to each stage of Baby's and Toddler's development, plus solutions to special circumstances like traveling, daylight saving's time, moving to a "big kid bed" and multiples, The Sleepeasy Solution is a dream come true!

"This approach was truly amazing in helping our family to thrive. . . . We are eternally grateful!"
—Ben Stiller and wife, Christine Taylor, actors

"With their gentle approach, Sleepeasy gave us the tools we needed to solve our daughter's sleep problems."
—Conan O'Brien, host of NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien

"Sleepeasy gave us all the tools we needed to get our baby sleeping through the night. Now when we say good night to our daughter, we know it really will be a good night."
—Greg Kinnear, actor

Sales Points

  • Jill Spivack cofounded Sleepy Planet, the foremost parenting sleep company that caters to celebrities, including Ben Stiller, Conan O’Brien, Greg Kinnear, and many more
  • The authors conduct workshops at Baby Expos with audiences of more than 300
  • CBS Evening News, Inside Edition, The Wall Street Journal, and Fit Pregnancy have featured the Sleepy Planet team
  • Jill and Jennifer write the Sleep Q&A column for the Modern Mom website ( with over a million subscribers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780757305603
Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/01/2007
Pages: 314
Sales rank: 126,722
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Waldburger, LCSW, is a trained psychotherapist and partner of Sleepy Planet, the preeminent parenting/sleep company in LA. She is a former writer and editor for Town & Country, Redbook, Good Housekeeping and Harper's Bazaar. Jill Spivack, LMSW, is a psychotherapist who worked as a pediatric sleep consultant who co-founded Sleepy Planet, Inc., in 1999. The two offer private sleep consultations for celebrity clients and others, standing-room only workshops and regular keynotes at Baby Expos with audiences of over 300. They have appeared on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, Inside Edition (feature piece) as well as in The Wall Street Journal and Fit Pregnancy.

Read an Excerpt

Excerpts from The Sleepeasy Solution

No-Cry Versus Crying It Out

Most parents wanting to make changes with their child's sleep have heard all the debates about allowing a child to cry. This has led to a lot of confusion. Some of the methods that promise "no-cry" solutions suggest to parents that their child wonÆt ever cry. The idea is that being ôgentler and more responsiveöùcontinuing to soothe your child by patting, picking her up, holding her hand, and the likeùmeans that she is less traumatized.

Ironically, though, parents often report that the child still cries even while they continue to attend to her; all children protest change, and the way they let us know they don't like the change is to cry. As important as it is for parents to express love to children through physical touch, and as illogical as it may seem that doing so while helping a child learn to sleep is counterproductive, it is indeed the parent's touch that can exacerbate a child's frustration in this scenario. The result? The child often continues to struggle with sleep, usually for weeks or even months, because she is not being allowed to learn how to soothe herself. With older children, using touch can be especially detrimental, as it tempts them to continue testing limits with you, to keep pressing until you cave in and help them to sleep. WeÆve found that when using these kinds of "hands-on" methods, parents often give up on sleep learning because it takes so long to actually get better sleep that the process itself becomes exhausting.

On the other end of the spectrum are the experts who suggest that the fastest way to help a child to sleep is to allow him to "cry it out" in other words, shutting the door and leaving your child completely alone, crying, for as long as it takes him to fall asleep. Also known as full extinction, this method actually does work, and sometimes quite quickly, although we have heard stories of children who have cried for as long as several hours at a stretch on the first night or two, perhaps bewildered and frightened because the usual helpers (namely, you) have disappeared. The idea of a child alone in the dark, crying inconsolably, doesnÆt sit right with most parents, and it doesn't sit right with us, either. It seems unnecessarily hard on both parents and child.

We think experts on both ends of the spectrum are well intentioned, but we also believe that the so-called no-cry solutions focus too much on the parent's and child's emotions and not enough on the necessary conditions for learning, and that the extinction methods focus too much on the child's learning and not enough on the emotional side of sleep learning. This is how we arrived at what we call the "least-cry" approach.

The "Least-Cry" Approach

So if giving your child too much help makes her cry harder and longer, and giving her too little help makes parents (and possibly the child) feel uneasy and overwhelmed, what's left? Finding a balance between allowing your child to learn how to sleep, while lovingly supporting her in the process. Our recipe for successful sleep learning --meaning that children learn to sleep quickly with a minimum of crying--contains two important ingredients:

1. A simple, customized sleep plan that includes step-by-step instructions for scheduling, environmental changes, and helping children change their sleep behavior, and

2. Plenty of support around the emotional aspects of teaching a child to sleep (and some inevitable frustration), to help children continue to feel loved, and to help parents remain consistent as their child learns. Parents who use our methods usually report that their child begins to sleep through the night in less than five nights, because the child receives clear, consistent responses that shape behavior quickly, and because she feels your loving encouragement while she learns. In a matter of days, children learn that they don't need assistance from their parentsùwith a bit of practice they become expert sleepers, and the whole family finally begins to get the rest they need.

Although there are other methods designed to offer parents a "middle-of-the-road" option, we haven't found any that help a child learn as quickly and minimize the crying as effectively as the techniques we use. We believe this is because we offer an equal balance of opportunities for behavioral learning and loving support that doesn't interfere with that learning. In this book, our aim is to give you exactly what a family would get if they were sitting in our office: our expertise, proper tools, and all the emotional support you need.

We'll help you create an organized, fail-proof plan that ensures success--usually in less than five nights. At Sleepy Planet, we've met thousands of parents who are in exactly the same exhausted, barely functioning boat that you're in right now. Happily, your child's (and thus you and your spouse's) sleepless nights will soon feel like a quickly fading bad dream. So hang in there; help has finally arrived! (That would be us, and we're not leaving your side till your child's sleep is much improved. Promise.)

There are seven main "sleep stealers" or reasons your child isn't sleeping well; she may be affected by one of them, by a combination of several, or if you've hit the jackpot, by all seven.

  1. SLEEP STEALER #1: No Consistent Bedtime Routine Though most parents know that a bedtime routine is a good idea, it can be hard to be consistent about doing it, either because there's too much to do before bed or because your child has so much energy that it's hard to slow her down. Nonetheless, a predictable wind-down routine is one of the most important tools your child needs to sleep well.
  2. There are several important components of a good bedtime routine:
  3. Physical activity should come before the routine. If Daddy likes to toss the baby in the air, or your toddler likes to streak naked through the living room, go for it! Just make sure you do these activities before the bath or bedtime routine, when you'll want to start slowing things down.
  4. The routine should last 15 to 60 minutes at nighttime, and about 10 to 15 minutes before a nap. The length of your routine will depend partly on the age of your child; a 5-month-old might gum a few pages of a board book, whereas an 18-month-old will enjoy at least one full story.
  5. Do your bedtime routine in the same room where your child will be sleeping. It's important that your child spend some time in this space with you, feeling comfortable and relaxed, so the transition into sleep will go smoothly. If you give your child a bath and help him change into PJs in his room, and then return to another part of the house with him for more play or activity, you'll lose the momentum of the wind-down process and will likely find that your child gets a "second wind."
  6. Do approximately the same activities each night or at nap time, in the same order.
  7. This is what will help your child develop sleep cues, so that over time just doing the routine makes your child sleepy. Wind-down activities can include:

    A bath

    A massage

    Dimming the lights

    Playing soft music

    Diaper change and putting on pjÆs

    Nursing, a bottle, or a cup of milk

    A book or song (or several of each)

    Playing quietly on the floor (no toys that beep or blink)

    With an older child, talking about your day together

    You get the idea. Have fun and be creative; just remember to keep it low-key. Once you've established a consistent routine, anyoneùsitter, grandparents, other familyùshould be able to do exactly what you do to put your child to sleep and have exactly the same results. Mom and Dad are then freed up for a night on the town.

    Imagine that!

    ©2007. Jennifer Waldburger, LCSW, and Jill Spivak, LMSW. All rights reserved. Reprinted from The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street , Deerfield Beach , FL 33442.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"This approach was truly amazing in helping our family to thrive. . . . We are eternally grateful!" —-Ben Stiller and wife, Christine Taylor

Customer Reviews

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Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
RoweBoat More than 1 year ago
This book was not for us. After researching and trying some different ways of teaching my child to sleep I purchased the book after seeing they had a "Least Cry" approach. The "least cry" approach is basically a cleverly marketed Ferber method that allows for consistent, timed check-ins. There is no less crying involved. Nevertheless I tried this approach with my 6 month old. I followed the instructions carefully for 6 days, printed out the logs, wrote down all my check-ins and our bedtime routines. I was consistent. However, instead of a shortened nightly duration of crying each night, my daughter gradually lengthened her crying spells, until we were at an hour and a half of crying. In addition, she became so withdrawn, exhausted, and clingy during the day, she would sob if I set her down or gave her to my husband. The book mentions that some children seem tired for a couple of days as they "catch up" on sleep. I realized what was really happening with my daughter was that she was losing her trust in me to be there for her needs. I stopped immediately. I'd rather lose sleep. It has been a few days back to our regular schedule and she is back to her happy, active self. I am still giving this book three stars because I have no doubt that this would help many parents of less attached babies if that is your parenting style. I am demoting it ONLY because they market it as a "least cry" approach and I feel that may deceive people, not because it didn't work for us. The authors are fair, and mention that you should go with your instincts and if this method doesn't seem to work for you, don't do it. I wish I had listened.
redwingroths More than 1 year ago
I am sitting here typing this on day 3 of starting this method. I can honestly say I am near tears on how happy I am because this method actually worked! Please, please, please buy this book and read it. My daughter will be 2 yrs old this week! And we have had nonstop issues with getting her to sleep at night and naps have been a complete nightmare. I felt lost, helpless, alone, depressed, etc because I knew she needed sleep so desperately and I couldnt seem to help her. I was VERY worried about doing this method because I thought there was NO way it was going to work. We started a month or so ago by creating a bedtime book and got her in the routine of doing the same thing every night. She loves it! We also spent a lot of time playing in her room. I spent 3 very uncomfortable nights sleeping with her on the floor in her room before starting this. On the first official night she only cried for 20 min and we only had to do one check in on her!! She woke up an hour later and cried for about 4 min and went back to sleep until 8am the next morning!! The first nap time was yesterday and she cried for 3 min and then slept for 1 1/2 hours! This is so amazing because in 2 years she has NEVER slept for more than 30 min in her crib! Today it took her 10 min to go down for her nap and she woke up 40 min later. I did a check in after 5 min and she cried for 3 min and fell alseep for another25 min! I am only giving all these details to give an idea of how things might go. All children are different so you will not have the exact results but please please try this. It is hard to see your child cry for even a min but it is SO worth it to know they are getting the sleep they need. Did I say yet to please please read this book!?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This worked great for our baby! Our baby had to be rocked and held to sleep every night - she loves being held all day and we enjoy it too, but around 4 months we started looking for a better way to help her put herself to sleep. We already had a routine down so reading this book quickly (one afternoon) prepared us for the weekend of sleep training. It worked just as described. We started on a Thursday night and by Sunday she was falling asleep on her own within 3 minutes. It is hard to hear your baby cry, but the timed check ins and recording information really helped. She always woke up happy and really enjoys bedtime now - we read, feed, put on pajamas and she lays down peacefully in her crib at 7:30 every night. Also wonderful as other caregivers (like grandparents) can easily mimic the routine and she sleeps great for them as well. We have a very happy now 5 month old that sleeps well and we are so proud of her every night. I was afraid of the crying, but the first night it was a total of 40 minutes. By the second night, only 20 minutes. Day 3 we were already down to 5 minutes and now she is asleep within 2 minutes or less. Read the book and try it - I'm sure it isn't for everyone, but this worked perfectly for us. Thank you for the support to help us achieve this important milestone in our child's life!
AuntiePickle More than 1 year ago
I got the Sleepeasy Solution book on my Nook and I have to say this is the best method I've come across for sleep training. It's clear and concise on what to do and nothing by the way of this method makes me feel like I have to go against my instincts to get the job done. It sympathizes with the caring gentle mother who hates to hear her baby cry but learning to self-sooth is a skill they must learn. I suggest reading this book cover to cover before starting the process. You're baby will cry, it's inevitable, but this books gives you all the tools to successfully sleep train with the minimal amount of crying. Finally, a sleep training book that works!!
Happymommy53 More than 1 year ago
I bought this book soon after having my first child. I bought a few others and read them all (hard with a newborn with colic, trust me) trying to figure out which would work best with the quickest turn-around. This one was the easiest to read with very understandable and quick to follow outlines for when you are exhausted. I started training my son at 6 months and within a week, he was sleeping through the night and perfectly at nap time. This was 4 years ago and I've since used it with subsequent kids and kids that I babysit during the day. It really works! I recommend taking quick little notes on how to do the bedtime sleep training so when you're frustrated with them crying, your husband keeps asking, "are you sure we're doing this right?", and you can't think straight from lack of sleep, you have something to easily reference. I give this to all new moms as a gift... wonderful and so effective!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a terrible sleeper and napper 7 months old baby girl, until I read this book! I was desperate searching some answers, tips or sleep training strategies on the web and I found this miracle book! I read the reviews, the method, the approach and I thought that this book was exactly what I was looking for. My LO was taking 20-35 minutes "catnaps" and was crying for hours when I put her down for sleep EVERY NIGHT. She didn't know how to sleep without my breast, so she was waking up in the middle of the night, looking for me and my breast to fall back to sleep again. I was exhausted! I read the most important chapters in 1 night and the night after, I decided to begin with the "sleep learning", following every step of the book. She went to bed without any protest and now, she takes 2 hour naps, twice a day and she is TOTALLY ANOTHER BABY! Now, she's well rested in the morning, she can play, she's not fussy, she's a really happy baby! Thanks to the miracle book! I'm totally amazed! This book saved my life and my marriage! Thanks Jill and Jen!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I rarely take the time to write reviews, but felt so strongly about this book that I had to share. Our 7 month old was up nearly every hour and I was completely beyond exhaustion. I truly felt like I could barely hold myself together any longer. Several friends recommended this method, after I had attempted and failed at the Ferber method (whose book I also read front to back). The Sleepeasy Solution had very clear simple instructions for the foggy brained sleepless mom. I really studied the book before diving into the "training" and feel that it helped tremendously in our success. And before this turns into a novel itself, you must trust me that this book is worth a shot! I worked miracles for us!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great for me, but you must follow what it says. My daughter has been sleeping through the night ever since I started within a week.
Sarlack More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. I have a seven month old who was still waking up 3-5 times a night. After mediocre information on how to get him to sleep through the night, I found this book. By the third night of using this book he was sleeping through the night and going to sleep without any crying or fussing. We've been using the book for two weeks and he goes to bed so easily now, no crying at bed time, no crying during the night. Anyone who is struggling with getting a child to sleep through the night, go to sleep without fighting or fussing, or working on taking good naps should buy this book. I'm going to give this book at any baby shower I go to in the future!
Wosret on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bottom line: this is a Cry It Out (CIO) method, even though they try to sell it as a gentle approach. If you're not comfortable with letting your child cry themselves to sleep, this isn't the book for you.I think the biggest advantage of a book like this is that it offers advice to parents who may not have any peers to help them out, or who haven't had a experience with babies before. It gives you a framework which can be extremely helpful if you have no idea that most babies nap at least twice a day, and sleep roughly twelve hours at night.That being said, this book told us we should reintroduce naps for our toddler. We had thought she was ready to give them up, but have found that she's much more cheerful and sleeps better at night now that she's napping in the afternoon again. It was very helpful for nap times.It didn't work for us for bed time. She fell asleep eventually, but I personally am not comfortable with my baby screaming her head off for an hour every night for weeks on end, especially when there are other methods out there that are more gentle. I was at my wit's end though and was willing to give CIO a try, followed the instructions to the letter, and got a traumatized baby out of the deal, who would start crying as soon as we started to even mention bed time. After a couple of weeks, it wasn't getting better, so we switched our method to a more gentle approach and that's worked great ever since.I think some babies are more suited to this method than others, just as some parents will be more comfortable with this method than others. If it doesn't work for you and your baby, try something else. I'd even suggest trying a more gentle approach to start with and using this as a last resort. Why start with the stick when the carrot could work just fine?
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As a new mom, I have read about every little thing I can to be informed and the best mom I could be. The book mentioned to not do start sleep training if your baby could be sick, but didn't mention anything about having had recent shots because they can feel bad several days after. I thought that I was doing something wrong by letting him doze at the breast, not realizing that he probably didnt feel good, even though his first set of shots didnt affect him like that.
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