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Practical help, soundly based--and much of this could indeed be welcome news for exhausted parents. Ferber, director of the sleep clinic at Children's Hospital in Boston, has access to the latest information on children's sleep patterns and disorders, and has helped originate some of the creative treatments and cures now available. Here, he translates this background into readily understandable, usable material, delivered in sympathetic terms (he himself has two children). Ferber first describes normal sleep in detail (the stages of sleep have come to be defined quite precisely in the last few years)--concluding that ""if your baby does not begin 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."" The range of disorders, which Ferber then covers separately and in detail, include: sleeplessness itself (traceable to inappropriate pre-bedtime routines, feeding problems, and/or medical problems such as colic or asthma); sleep rhythm disturbances (biological rhythms leading to problems in daily schedules); sleeping interruptions, such as sleepwalking or nightmares; and ""other problems"" that include such rare disorders as narcolepsy and sleep apnea. After discussing each problem and its probable origins, Ferber offers considerable practical help in eliminating them. Ferber goes far beyond the ""let him cry for a while"" school of many pediatricians, and repeatedly stresses that drugs are always a last resort. Though the subject is covered sufficiently for most in the general guides such as Leach (The Child Care Encyclopedia), those wrestling with a persistent or more serious problem will find this a real boon.

Pub Date: March 6th, 1985
Publisher: Simon & Schuster