Sleep is a book designed to share what is typical and what is problematic in regards to development of sleep in children, birth through teenage years. The book has some general advice that is common in the public domain regarding options for ‘sleep training’ and the importance of routine. A large portion of the book is dedicated to sleep problems like Sleep Apnea, Leg PaSleep, etc.
"12 Hours of Sleep by 12 Weeks" by Lisa Abidin outlines one theory on infant sleep. The book is a prescriptive schedule of when your child should sleep and eat. If that schedule works for your child, which it’s not unreasonable to think it might, then the book is worthwhile. If the schedule outlined does not work for your family or child, then this book won’t work for you. We think that the schedule outlined in the book is not a bad one, but it also is not the only one that could possibly work. In our opinion this book blames more influence than necessary on hunger’s relation to sleep. The practical advice for troubleshooting throughout your child’s early years is lacking. For breastfeeding mothers this system is unreasonable.
"90 Minute Baby Sleep Program" by Polly Moore was a popular one among our 2012 cohort of families. The biggest value in this book is that it encourages you not to let your child get overtired. Again this is a prescriptive schedule of when your child should sleep. In this book, it is based on when they woke up. Many parents believe they have noticed a 90 minute cycle and find this book helpful in the early years. If using better timing, as the book has suggests, doesn’t work there is not much additional advice. There is very little support for beyond the first 9-12 months of life in the "90 Minute Baby Sleep Program". I wouldn't spend time reading this one because the basic information is, notice your baby's sleep cues and don't let them get over tired.
Dr. Ferber was the one of the first widely read authors to advocate for the “cry it out” method in 1985. This book, in its second edition, is more than an explanation of how to use the “cry it out” method. The book is very long and explains more about sleep research, how to develop good habits, and possible challenges. The second edition describes well the method and reasoning, but ultimately advocates allowing your child to cry themselves to sleep while you check in.
The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley is overall a fairly reasonable book. It is long and tedious like the Weissbluth book and presents a little more respectful way of helping your child learn to sleep. It completely rejects the “cry it out" methods, which is more respectful but not always reasonable for every family. In many passages in this book, the author expects too little from the child. While it is good to not set unreasonably high expectations, it is also necessary to set limits that support both you and your child to get a restful night’s sleep. The book is generally well written and, other than length is easy to read and reference. I think the title sets you up to fail because some children cry as they learn to block out all the distractions of the world so they can get to sleep. I would recommend following your instincts and listening to your child, but if you are consuming many sleep books trying to find your way, this isn't the worst choice out there.
"Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Mark Weissbluth M.D. is probably the book that is the closest to be able to recommend that we have found. Our biggest negative with "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" is that the book is horrifically long. It’s a tedious read, but overall the information is good. There is so much information on the importance of sleep that if you’re pregnant and trying to have a plan, it may be helpful or it may make you crazy. This book also highlights the importance of sleep. It can lead you to feel anxious and overwhelmed by the process. But the step by step advice is good (though not perfect) and it seems like it would be easy to reference once you put in the hours needed to read through it. Depending on your parenting style, you might feel better with reading the RIE books and following your own path or you might be looking for more. If you're an anxious parent already, this book might not be for you. In my opinion, the importance of sleep is so strongly stated it causes unnecessary stress for families. Do the best you can, your child will figure out how to sleep.