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Luckily for new parents, there is a sleep philosophy to suit everyone’s temperament. The tricky part is finding the perfect fit. If you can’t stand to hear your baby cry, then Richard Ferber, M.D., (see chart below) is definitely not for you. If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping with a tiny infant in your bed, then steer clear of William Sears, M.D. Let our guide to four of the most prominent ways of thinking about babies’ sleep help you pick an approach that feels right for your family.
|Expert/book||Sleep philosophy||Best suited for|
|William Sears, M.D., and Elizabeth Pantley, The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night (McGraw-Hill, 2002)||From the father of attachment parenting, techniques for developing a “night time parenting style” that encourages bonding, such as baby “wearing” in a sling or carrier and co-sleeping.||Attachment-parenting aficionados or other parents who want to be close to their babies at night.|
|Marc Weissbluth, M.D., Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, 3rd Edition (Ballantine Books, 2003)||Advocates consistent naps and early bedtimes. Urges parents to look for their baby’s drowsy state as a cue to tiredness. For the 27 percent of babies who Weissbluth says have sleep problems by 4 months, he offers “no cry,” “maybe cry” and “let cry” solutions.||Baby-centered parents who nonetheless want some control over their child’s sleep.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics/
George J. Cohen, M.D., American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child’s Sleep: Birth Through Adolescence (Villard, 1999)
|By the time a baby is 6 to 12 weeks old, he should be able to begin to sleep for six hours a night but may need help with self-soothing. Put baby in crib awake but drowsy. When he cries, wait, then speak softly and pat him.||Middle-of-the-road types who don’t believe in stringent “sleep training.”|
|Richard Ferber, M.D., Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems (Fireside, 1986)||Structured sleep plan for babies 6 months and older. “Ferberizing” calls for 5-, 10- and 15-minute intervals of crying interspersed with comforting by your voice and patting.||More controlling parents who really want or need their baby to sleep alone and when they do.|