At our child's nine month doctor visit, my wife mentioned
to our pediatrician that
our child wasn't sleeping well, waking up several times during the night. The
pediatrician recommended Dr. Richard Ferber's
your Child's Sleep Problems, which provides a method for getting children to sleep
through the night in their crib. Ferber's method is to let the child
cry for progressively longer intervals so that he/she will eventually learn
to go to sleep on his/her own. We tried this method on our child,
and after about ten days, it was mildly successful--he tended to only fuss for a few
seconds when he woke up and then would go right back to sleep, although he was often
up for an extended time around 4am. But his mood during the day was
significantly altered. He was much more insecure and clingy. My wife was
not satisfied with the result, so
she went to the library and did more research on infant sleeping
and came across Good
Nights, by Dr. Jay Gordon and Ms. Maria
Goodavage, which recommends
sleeping with your baby, or "family bedding." The big scare for most
people who contemplate family bedding seems to be that they'll roll over on their child and suffocate
him/her, but statistics show that family bedding is actually less dangerous
than having the baby sleep alone in a crib (according to the book). You can
read the book for more details on the many positive attributes
of family bedding.
My wife, child, and I are now total converts.
Our child still doesn't always sleep through the night, but he tends to
only wake up once, and more importantly, his mood during the
day is now dramatically improved
to where he is happy and confident. We highly recommend
Nights, and we wish our pediatrician had been more open minded than to
recommend only Ferber's book.
Update (3-3-2007): Here's an article from the NY Times
on sharing a bed with your children.