Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems
by Dr. Richard Ferber
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Family bed or Ferber? Are bedtime problems caused by attachment issues or bad sleep habits--or something else altogether? If a night's rest is a distant memory and you stumble through your days bleary-eyed, you're not alone. A number of books suggest ways to help your little one fall asleep and stay asleep.
On the other end of the spectrum from family-bed advocates are the classic Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, by Dr. Richard Ferber, and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. Both books are steeped in research from their authors' respective institutions, the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders in Boston and Chicago's Sleep Disorders Center.
Over the years, Ferber's approach has been dubbed the "cry it out" method. Ferber does not, however, suggest you let your child cry indefinitely. He says we need to teach children how to end bad sleep associations (e.g, falling asleep only while nursing or rocking), and create good ones. During the transition period, you should return to reassure a crying child after ever-increasing time increments, until he is able to fall asleep alone. Ferber also offers advice on bed-wetting and night terrors.
Reviewed by Joanne Cronrath Bamberger, an attorney, freelance writer, and adoptive mother in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
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