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The completely revised and updated edition of the all-time bestselling book on children’s sleep problems, with important new insights and solutions from Dr. Richard Ferber, the nation’s leading authority on children’s sleep problems.
Does your child have difficulty falling asleep? Wake in the middle of the night? Suffer sleep terrors, sleepwalking, or nighttime fears? Have difficulty waking for school or staying awake in class? Snore, wet the bed, or head bang?
In the first major revision of his bestselling, groundbreaking classic since it was published, Dr. Richard Ferber, the nation’s foremost authority on children’s sleep problems, delivers safe, sound ideas for helping your child fall and stay asleep at night and perform well during the day.
Incorporating new research, Dr. Ferber provides important basic information that all parents should know regarding the nature of sleep and the development of normal sleep and body rhythms throughout childhood. He discusses the causes of most sleep problems from birth to adolescence and recommends an array of proven solutions for each so that parents can choose the strategy that works best for them. Topics covered in detail include: Bedtime difficulties and nighttime wakings, effective strategies for naps, sleep schedule abnormalities, a balanced look at co-sleeping, new insights into the nature of sleep terrors and sleepwalking, problems in setting limits, and sleep apnea, narcolepsy, bed-wetting, and head banging.
Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems offers priceless advice and concrete help for a whole new generation of anxious, frustrated, and overtired parents.
|Edition description:||New, Revised, and Expanded Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Richard Ferber, M.D., is an associate professor of neurology at the Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children's Hospital Boston. He lives in Newtonville, Massachusetts.
Read an Excerpt
At the End of Your Rope
The most frequent calls I receive at the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children's Hospital in Boston are from a parent or parents whose children are sleeping poorly. When the parent on the phone begins by telling me "I am at the end of my rope" or "We are at our wits' end," I can almost predict what will be said next.
Typically, the couple or single parent has a young child (often their first), who is between five months and four years of age. Their child does not fall asleep readily at night and/or wakes repeatedly during the night. The parents are tired, frustrated, and often angry. Their own relationship has become tense and they are wondering whether there is something inherently wrong with their child, or if they are unfit patents.
In most cases the parents have had lots of advice on how to handle the situation from friends, relatives, even the pediatrician. "Let him cry; you're just spoiling him," they are told, or "That's just a phase; wait until she outgrows it." They don't want to wait but begin to wonder if they will have to, since despite all their efforts and strategies the sleep problem persists. Often the more the parents do to try and solve the problem, the worse it gets. Sooner or later they ask themselves, "How long do I let my child cry all night?" And if he or she gets up four, five, and six times at night, "Will this phase pass before we collapse from our own loss of sleep?"
Everything seems pretty hopeless at first. If your child isn't sleeping well or has other problems such as sleep terrors, bedwetting, nightmares, or loud snoring which are sources of worry and frustration, it won't take long for you to feel as if you're at the end of your rope too.
Let me assure you there is hope. With almost all of these children we are able to at least reduce the disturbance significantly, and often we can actually eliminate the sleep disorder entirely. The information in this book will help you to identify your child's particular disorder and will give you practical ways of solving the problem.
At the Sleep Center I meet with the family parents and child together and learn all I can about the child's problem. How frequent and long-lasting has it been? What are the episodes like? How do the parents handle the child at bedtime and during the nighttime wakings? Is there a family history of sleep problems, and are there social factors that might be contributing to the problem? With this detailed history, a physical examination, and, in certain cases, after laboratory study, I can usually identify the disorder and its causes. At that point I can begin to work with the family to help them solve their child's sleep problem.
Our methods of treatment for the "sleepless child" rarely include the use of medication. Instead, I work with the family to set up new schedules, routines, and ways of handling their child. Sometimes the child's biological rhythms may need normalizing or he may have to learn new conditions to associate with falling asleep. The family may have to learn how to set appropriate limits on the child's behavior, and the child may need an incentive to cooperate. I always negotiate the specifics of the plan with the family. It is important that they agree with the approach and feel confident that they will be able to follow through consistently. If the child is old enough, we include him in the negotiating. Thus we use a consistent, firm, but fair technique, tailored to the child, the family, and the particular sleep disorder. This works, time after time.
Usually the sleep problem has nothing to do with poor parenting. Nor are the episodes (with a few exceptions) part of a "normal phase" that must be waited (and waited and waited) out. And finally there is usually nothing physically or mentally wrong with the child himself. Most parents are immensely reassured to know that sleep disorders are common in all types of families and social environments, and that most children with such disorders respond well to treatment.
In certain cases, such as in sleep apnea, or less often in bedwetting, medical factors may be involved and our intervention may include medication or surgery. In other instances, such as the sleepiness of depression, recurrent nightmares, adolescent sleep terrors, and extreme nighttime fears, emotional factors may play a role. Here the source of these feelings must be identified and satisfactorily dealt with before the sleep problems will resolve. Sometimes professional counseling may be recommended.
The case studies in this book are based on my experience at the Sleep Center. The discussions of these cases, along with descriptions of the underlying sleep disorders and explanations of the methods of solving them, will help you to identify, understand, and deal with your own child's sleep problem.
Can a Child Just Be a "Poor Sleeper"?
If your child is a restless sleeper or can't seem to settle down at night, you should be very cautious about assuming that he is just a poor sleeper or doesn't need as much sleep as other children of the same age. Your own expectations can have a very strong influence on how your child's sleep pattern develops from the day you bring him home from the hospital. I have seen many families who were told by the nurse in the maternity ward, "Your baby hardly sleeps at all. You're in for trouble!" Because these parents were led to believe their child was just a poor sleeper and there wasn't anything they could do about it, they allowed their baby to develop poor sleep habits; they did not believe there was anything they could do to help him develop good ones. As a result the whole family suffered terribly. Yet I have found that almost all of these children are potentially fine sleepers and with just a little intervention can learn to sleep well.
It is true that children differ in their ability to sleep. Some children are excellent sleepers from birth. In the early weeks they may have to be waked for feedings. As they grow older, not only do they continue to sleep well, but it is difficult to wake them even when you want to. They sleep soundly at night in a variety of situations bright or dark, quiet or noisy, calm or chaotic they tolerate occasional disruption of their sleep schedules, and even sleep well during periods of emotional stress.
Other children seem inherently more susceptible to having their sleep patterns disrupted. Any change in bedtime routines, an illness, hospitalization, or guests in the house, may cause their sleep patterns to worsen. Even though these children may have always been considered "non-sleepers," we usually find that they too can sleep quite satisfactorily once we make appropriate changes in their routines, schedules, surroundings, or interactions with the family. Such children may still have occasional nights of poor sleep, hut if the new routines continue to be followed consistently, the more normal patterns will return quickly.
There are, of course, children who sleep very poorly for reasons we have, as yet, been unable to identify. For these few, our treatment may help very little, or not at all. If your child is up a great deal in the night it may be tempting to assume that he is one of these poor sleepers. But this almost certainly is not the case. Such instances of truly poor sleep ability are quite rare among young children, and in all probability your child's sleep problem can be solved.
Virtually all children without major medical or neurological disorders have the ability to sleep well. They can go to bed at an appropriate time, fall asleep within minutes, and stay asleep until a reasonable hour in the morning. And while it is normal for each child (and adult) to have brief wakings during the night, these arousals should last only a few seconds or minutes and the child should go back to sleep easily on his own.
It is very probable that your child, regardless of his present patterns, is just such a child, with a normal inherent ability to fall asleep and remain asleep. This is true even if he has a sleep disturbance such as sleepwalking or bedwetting. These events occur during sleep or partial waking, and children with these symptoms still have a basically normal ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Sleepwalking and bedwetting are actually a bit more difficult to treat than sleeplessness, but nevertheless they too usually improve, and are often resolved, with the appropriate intervention.
How to Tell Whether Your Child Has a Sleep Problem
When your child's sleep patterns cause a definite problem for you or for him, then he has a sleep problem. This is true, for example, if he complains of inability to fall asleep, or if you find you must be up with him repeatedly during the night. Sleep problems such as sleep terrors, sleepwalking, or bedwetting are also readily apparent and quite easy to identify as sleep disorders. But others may be less obvious. You may not recognize that your child even has a problem, or you may not realize that the problem he does have should be considered a disorder that can and should be treated. You may not be aware that loud snoring every night, besides keeping you awake, may be a warning that your child is not breathing satisfactorily while asleep. Other symptoms of possible sleep abnormalities which should be identified and treated are: frequent difficulty falling asleep at bedtime, waking during the night with inability to go right back to sleep alone, waking too early or too late in the morning, falling asleep too early or too late in the evening, or being irritable or sleepy during the day.
One of the least obvious of sleep problems is that of insufficient sleep. There is no absolute way of measuring whether the amount of sleep your child gets per day is appropriate. Figure 1 on page 19 shows the average amount of sleep children get at various ages during the night and at naptime. But each child is different. We can watch each child's behavior during the day closely to see if he seems excessively sleepy or cranky. But the symptoms of insufficient sleep in a young child can be very subtle. If your two-year-old sleeps only eight hours at night but seems to be happy and functioning well during the day, it is tempting to assume he doesn't need more sleep. But eight hours is rarely enough sleep for a two-year-old, and with the proper intervention he can learn to increase his amount of sleep time considerably. You may begin to notice an improvement in his general behavior and only then will you be aware of the more subtle symptoms of inadequate sleep that actually were evident before you adjusted his sleep schedule. Now your child will probably be happier in the daytime, a bit less irritable, more able to concentrate at play, and less inclined to have tantrums, accidents, and arguments.
Adolescents often do not get enough sleep. Teenagers are not likely to wake spontaneously on school days and tend to sleep at least one hour longer on weekends. When adolescents have the opportunity to sleep as much as they like, they will average about nine hours per night, and this is probably closer to the optimal level for their age.
It is also difficult to decide when nighttime wakings are "abnormal." A young child from six months to three years may be getting adequate amounts of sleep at night, even though he wakes several times during the night and has to be helped back to sleep. Parents will say to me, "Tell me if this is normal. If it is, I will continue getting up; but if it is not, then we would like to do something about it!" I assure them that most healthy full-term infants are sleeping through the night by three or four months of age. Certainly by six months all healthy babies can do so.
If your baby does not start sleeping through the night on his own by six months at the latest, or if he begins waking again after weeks or months of sleeping well, then something is interfering with the continuity of his sleep. He should be able to sleep better, and in all likelihood his sleep disruption can be corrected. Chapters 5 through 9 will help you to identify his problem and show what you can do to remedy it.
How well your child sleeps from the early months affects not only his behavior during the day but also your feelings about him. I have often heard a parent say, "He is such a good baby. I even have to wake him for feedings." Although the parent is saying the baby is a good sleeper, the words imply that the baby is "good" in the moral sense. It is easy to see that this distinction will influence how you relate to your child.
If your child does not sleep well, he may well be making your life miserable. It isn't hard to think of such a bad sleeper as a "bad" baby. You will probably feel enormously frustrated, helpless, worried, and angry if you have to listen to crying every night, get up repeatedly, and lose a great deal of your own much-needed sleep. If your child's sleep disturbance is severe enough, your frustration and fatigue will carry over into your daytime activities and you are bound to feel increasingly tense with your child, your spouse, family, and friends. If this is the case in your home, you will be pleased to learn that your child is almost certainly capable of sleeping much better than he is now, and you should be able to get a good night's sleep yourself. To do this, you will need to learn how to identify exactly what your child's problem is, and then you can begin to solve it.
First, I want to explain briefly what we know about sleep itself. Although it is not necessary for you to be conversant with all the scientific research on sleep, it will be helpful for you to have some understanding of what sleep really is, how normal sleep patterns develop during childhood, and what can go wrong. Then you will be better able to recognize abnormal patterns as they begin to develop, to correct problems that have become established, and to prevent others from occurring.
Although the information on sleep in Chapter 2 is not overly technical, you may be eager to read the chapters that follow it to learn about the actual sleep disorders and their treatments. If that is the case, I suggest you scan the material on sleep in the next chapter and then come back to read it more closely when you have identified your own child's sleep problem. The information is very interesting to almost everyone, and especially important to parents who want to help a child sleep better at night.
Copyright © 1985 by Richard Ferber, M.D.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
Preface to the Second Edition
PART I: YOUR CHILD'S SLEEP
CHAPTER 1: At the End of Your Rope
Can a Child Just Be a "Poor Sleeper"?
How to Tell Whether Your Child Has a Sleep Problem
Starting with a Basic Understanding of Sleep
CHAPTER 2: What We Know About Sleep
How Sleep Stages Develop in Children
Children's Sleep Cycles
Sleep and Waking Patterns
The Importance of Biological Rhythms
CHAPTER 3: Helping Your Child Develop Good Sleep Practices
The Importance of Your Child's Bedtime Routines
"Back to Sleep": Reducing the Risk of SIDS
Should Your Child Sleep in Your Bed?
Specific Issues Related to Co-sleeping
The Sleep Challenges of Multiples: Twins and Triplets
The Special Toy or Favorite Blanket
Developing Good Schedules
PART II: THE SLEEPLESS CHILD
CHAPTER 4: Sleep Associations: A Key Problem
A Typical Sleep Association Problem
Why Sleep Associations Matter
Wrong Sleep Associations
How to Solve the Problem: The Progressive-Waiting Approach
Making the Changes in One Step or Several
Associations to the Breast, Bottle, or Pacifier
Co-sleeping and Related Considerations
If Things Are Not Getting Better
CHAPTER 5: The Problem of Limit Setting
Who's in Charge?
Difficulty Setting Limits
Limits, Associations, Feedings, Schedules, and Fears
Setting Limits at Night
Limit Setting Problems: Some Examples
CHAPTER 6: Feedings During the Night: Another Major Cause of Trouble
Is Your Child's Sleep Problem Caused by Nighttime Feedings?
How to Solve the Problem
Other Points to Keep in Mind
CHAPTER 7: Nighttime Fears
The Anxious Child
Evaluating Your Child's Fears
How to Cope with Nighttime Fears
Techniques to Help a Child Feel Less Frightened and Fall Asleep Quickly
CHAPTER 8: Colic and Other Medical Causes of Poor Sleep
Abnormal Brain Function and a True Inability to Sleep Well
PART III: SCHEDULES AND SLEEP RHYTHM DISTURBANCES
CHAPTER 9: Schedules and Rhythms
The Circadian System and the Forbidden Zone for Sleep: Why You Can Stay Awake Until Bedtime and Sleep Until Morning
Setting the Biological Clock: How Do You Know What Time Zone You Are In?
Individual Differences: Are You a Lark or an Owl?
Society, Sleep Deprivation, and the Adolescent
Specific Sleep Problems Affecting Different Parts of the Sleep Cycle: A Summary
CHAPTER 10: Schedule Disorders I: Sleep Phase Problems
Sleep Phase Shifts
Sleep Phase Shifts in the Adolescent
CHAPTER 11: Schedule Disorders II: Other Common Schedule Problems
Problems in Regular Schedules
Irregular and Inconsistent Sleep-Wake Schedules
CHAPTER 12: Naps
Problems with the Length and Timing of Naps
Trouble Giving Up a Nap: Transition Problems
Nap Time Sleep Association Problems
Napping (or Not) at Home and at Day Care
You May Have to Accept What Works
PART IV: INTERRUPTIONS DURING SLEEP
CHAPTER 13: Partial Wakings: Sleep Talking, Sleepwalking, Confusional Arousals, and Sleep Terrors
I. What They Are and Why They Happen
The Normal Transition from Deep (Stage IV) Sleep Toward Waking
More Intense Transitions: A Spectrum of Confusional Events
What a Confusional Event Feels Like
Why Confusional Events Happen: The Balance Between Sleep and Waking
The Variability of Arousals over Time
Evaluating Confusional Events: When to Take Action
What You Should Do and What Else to Consider
How We Helped the Children Described Earlier
CHAPTER 14: Nightmares
What Nightmares Are and Why They Occur
How to Help Your Child If He Is Having Nightmares
Nightmares and Confusional Events
Nightmares or " 'No'-mares"?: "I had a bad dream"
CHAPTER 15: Bedwetting
The Impact of Enuresis
What Causes Enuresis?
Approaches to Treating Enuresis
CHAPTER 16: Head Banging, Body Rocking, and Head Rolling
When Do These Behaviors Occur?
What Do These Behaviors Look Like?
Is Head Banging Dangerous?
When Should You Be Concerned?
What Causes Rhythmic Behaviors?
Treating the Problem
PART V: THE SLEEPY CHILD
CHAPTER 17: Noisy Breathing, Snoring, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
What Happens in Sleep Apnea
What Causes the Obstruction
Treating Sleep Apnea
Some Words of Caution
Getting Your Child the Help She Needs
CHAPTER 18: Narcolepsy and Other Causes of Sleepiness
Is Your Child Abnormally Sleepy?
Causes of Sleepiness Other Than Narcolepsy
Treating Simpler Causes of Sleepiness
Evaluation at a Sleep Disorders Center
The Cause of Narcolepsy
The Treatment of Narcolepsy
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
(I apologize for the length, but I felt it necessary for those truly in search of a book that can help them) I have four beautiful children. When we had our forth one 8 months ago, I fell into the normal routine of sleeping for 2-3 hours and then waking up to nurse my baby and help him fall back asleep. I was of the philosophy that you don't have your baby cry himself to sleep, instead you help him to sleep by other methods. I had read a book by Dr. Sears called 'The Baby Book'. Loved it and used it successfully with my three other children. But this new little arrival wouldn't sleep. I tried sleeping with him, rocking, putting him in his own bed and patting his back. I tried 'wearing' him down to sleep (those of you who don't know-that means you wear him in a sling around you until he's fast asleep and then put him down in a bed). I even tried one of those music and lights boxes you put on a crib to help him sleep. At 5 weeks of trying all of this, we put him in a mechanical swing for sleep and that worked well. I felt horrible though-it seemed a little bit wrong-almost cold. But we were all soooo tired. At 6 1/2 months old though, he got bigger and the swing stopped working as well. We tried putting him to bed with a bottle and that helped a little, but then he started waking every 2 hours to eat again. I was going out of mind-averaging 5 hours of sleep each night myself (Plus I worked M-F) and not liking my little boy very much. My husband suggested we read this book. I had heard about Dr. Ferber and his 'cry it out' method and had avoided it like the plague. But I was desperate. So I read it. I was pleasantly surprised. He explains about sleep, routines & schedules to help your child sleep. Within one week of consistently and meticulously using his method, my beautiful baby slept all night long. He even puts himself to sleep without crying. Even through colds, teething, and 3 other children running around, he sleeps so well now. If he wakes up in the middle of the night he puts himself back to sleep. No bottles, no swing, no music boxes hanging on the crib. One night he slept for 12 hours straight. Amen! It is also helping my 4 year old sleep better, and my 9 year old-her sleep problem was causing issues for her at school. It is even helping me to sleep better. Read this book, leave your fears that you are damaging your child's psyche behind. Dr. Ferber knows what he is talking about!! My advice to those who are afraid of being mean to your child if you read this book and do what it says, put those feelings temporarily aside as you read this book and follow his counsel. I think you will be pleasantly surprised and if you follow his advice you may actually get that much needed sleep so you can be the best parent to your little ones that you want to be because they will sleep too! Trust a parent who has been there. I have finally seen the light and am converted! I am starting to give this book as a baby gift to all of my friends and family. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
I give this book to anyone I know having a baby. I absoluately swear by it! The Ferber "progressive waiting" method works brilliantly. It took us 2 nights and we now have a super-sleeper. People cannot believe how well our child goes to bed and sleeps wherever we are! We re-apply the methods whenever we have a set-back and it's fixed in 1 night. Plus, this book helps you understand the mechanics of sleep overall. This helps you become a better "middle of the night" parent when teething, or other illnesses wake your child. The only thing this book is missing is the 18-month sleep regression that some kids go through. Go back and re-apply the progressive waiting approach and it works great!
We had such a hard time getting our baby to sleep through the night. He is almost 1 and still getting up at least 2 times a night to nurse. I know that it's tough to let your baby cry, and trust me I tried EVERYTHING to get him to sleep through the night without letting him cry. But within a couple of nights of following this book, my son was sleeping from 7-3 without waking up. And then he slept until 6am 3 nights in a row without waking up. It was a miracle. And you don't just throw your baby in the crib and let him cry, my husband went in every 5, 10, 15 minutes to check on him and make sure he was o.k. This works, and you might have a couple of tough nights, but it's better than having another 6 months or longer of no sleep. When my son was 5 or 6 months old, he was getting up like 5-7 times a night, and I did also try the NO CRY SLEEP SOLUTION, and that did help, but it just wasn't enough to get him sleeping all the way through the night. If you want to get your sleep back, and you have tried everything, I really recommend this book.
I was skeptical of this book at first, since it was asking me to let my baby cry, but it has convinced me! There are real reasons why this method WORKS. Once I read the book, I realized that I was hurting my child by not allowing him to find his own falling asleep skills. Night 1 and 2 were difficult, but by night 3 of this method we saw a huge improvement in our child's sleeping. By the end of the week, he was sleeping the entire night on his own. This was an improvement over waking every hour, as he was doing before we read the book. I know this sounds too good to be true, but it is true! Our son was an infant when we started using this sleep training, but there are sections for older toddlers, children, and teens. I highly suggest this book to any parent who wants to do help their child sleep - and have the science to back up their decision.
I was never a believer in any sleep training or method that resulted in letting a baby cry to fall asleep - until I actually read through the entire book and decided to give it a try. Believe me, I have read all the conflicting opinions about sleep methods and felt I would not be able to handle the Ferber method. I think the thing to remember for anyone considering reading this book and using the method is that it will work for solving your child's specific sleep problem - if your child needs to be rocked, fed, taken for a drive, etc in order to fall asleep or gets up several times a night after 6 months old, this book will help. Many of the people who criticize it either haven't read through the entire book or did not apply the method appropriately. Some children are simply better sleepers while others can truly benefit from sleep training. There will always be people who will be against it but if your child suffers from the specific sleep issues in this book, do not feel guilty for trying to get everyone in your household a better night's sleep. There is a good chance, you will all be the better for it.
I vacillated between "this is horrible" and "this is the only way." In the end, the process worked great for me and my little one. It only took a few days, and one bad night, for my 7-month old son to sleep in his crib all night.
This book was extremely helpful with helping me set up a bedtime ritual for when I returned to work post-partum. We started at 3 months and have had great results for the last 6 months.
This book and method saved our family. We had a 'bad sleeper' on our hands and tried other methods including 'no cry sleep solution'. NOTHING worked until trying Ferber. All children are different so use what works for them. My little guy is an amazing sleeper now and we are all VERY happy.
I never write reviews but felt I had to with this book. My 6 month old baby would wake up 2-3 times a night and I was getting desperate. I tried the no cry sleep solution, and it didn't work. we read this book and she started sleeping through the night IMMEDIATELY! Here's what it looked like Night 1: put her down at 9pm, she cried for 15 min, we checked on her 3 min, 5 min, 7 min, she went to bed...woke up at 1am, we checked on her once and she fell asleep til 5am Night 2: she went down by herself, stirred at 1am and slept through the night til 5:45 Night 3: went down by herself at 9, stirred at 5:45am and went back to sleep!!! I'm an educator and my hubby is a scientist. Ferber's methods not only apply good teaching skills but is backed by scientific research. There are a lot of naysayers with this approach, but they simply are ignorant. My baby is happier now and has the tools to put herself back to sleep.
There is controversy surrounding the Ferber sleep method. But this book is so much more than training your child to sleep. It discusses the science behind the importance of sleep (very ease to understand) and then delves into whether or not your child actually has a sleep problem. For us, it turns out that she could sleep fine (11 months old), but our habits (moving her out of uncomfortable looking positions, feeding her in the middle of the night, inconsistent waking up times in the morning) and actions were causing disruptions for her. We changed a few things in our (adult) behaviors and although it was rough the first few nights, a week in and she sleeps through the night. There are also chapters on older children, co-sleeping, sharing a room and such.
We first read this book upon the recommendation of our pediatrician, when our son was a little over four months old and mom had to return to work. By the second night of Ferberizing he was sleeping 8-9 hours interrupted. He is now 14 months and sleeping about 11 hrs through the night. We continue to refer to the book for advice on naps. Prior to purchasing this book I had read about 5 other sleep books that were no help at all. This one worked. A godsend!
I bought this when my daughter was ready for sleep training four years ago and it worked very well for us. i am buying the nook book now to use with my son
Worked every time with my four kids!!!
Although it may seem like a vast overstatement, I think this is the best book ever. Why do I say this? Because following the guidelines in this book helped my 5.5-month old son sleep through the night for the very first time. Every time. There are a lot of misconceptions about Ferber -- all of them unfounded. The method is neither heartless nor cruel nor will it damage your child - quite the opposite! Checking in on the child throughout the night, but allowing them to fall asleep on their own, will teach them good sleep habits that will benefit them their entire lives. If you are at your wits' end with a child who gets up throughout the night, cries at bedtime, won't nap, and is preventing you both from getting a good night's sleep, buy this book. It'll be the best investment you ever make.