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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  7,561 ratings  ·  1,483 reviews
One of the country's leading researchers updates his revolutionary approach to solving--and preventing--your children's sleep problems

Here Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a distinguished pediatrician and father of four, offers his groundbreaking program to ensure the best sleep for your child. In Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, he explains with authority and reassurance his step-b
Paperback, 528 pages
Published April 12th 1999 by Ballantine Books (first published 1987)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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This book was recommended to me by a good friend who had literally poured over every book she could find on the topic of sleep. She sees it as the sleep bible.

Unfortunately, I had a hard time with the book for several reasons.

1) It's very dense with a small typeface - note easy to read when you're exhausted and looking for a solution.
2) It's totally unclear where in the book there's actual practical information on how to help your child sleep.
3) The author is strongly opinionated and has kind
I really love this book – though I notice I almost always hear negative reviews and comments about him which is a huge shame. People think of him as having a "cry it out" stance and of being anti-"attachment parenting" but this couldn't be further from the truth. What is great is that he doesn't have one philosophy or think there is one method of doing things. He gives many different sleep strategies that include no crying, some crying, and "cry it out" and he tells you which strategy is likely ...more
Aug 20, 2008 Kelly rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with an open mind about nighttime parenting
First off, let me say that I didn't actually "read" this book cover to cover. I skimmed it. A LOT of people recommend this book, and I can see why. But it bugs me. In my opinion, the author has a "do or die" approach, like if you don't help your child sleep better NOW and in his (the author's) way, he/she is going to suffer for it for the rest of their lives. It made me feel guilty as a parent for not doing everything he says, like I'm harming my child, which I know I'm not. Also, it's almost li ...more
Sep 28, 2010 Syd rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: New and expecting moms
Shelves: non-fiction, kindle
I give this one two stars not because the ideas were bad. The concepts are fairly sound and it is helping me get my 3 month on a napping schedule that will help him grow and be happy. I've already seen significant improvement in his mood.

I give it two stars because the book repeats itself over and over and over. It needs a good editorial scrub. It's as if someone felt it should be a certain number of pages, so they kept stretching the material. It's very redundant and honestly, could be boiled
Sep 27, 2007 polly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents

This book is really not great for babies under 4 months of age, although it did introduce me to an important concept (don't keep a very young baby awake for more than 2 hours!). It is geared more to babies 5+ months and toddlers, preschoolers, children. For the first four months, definitely go to Dr. Harvey Karp's "The Happiest Baby on the Block," which is astoundingly good--and I recommend the DVD more than the book.

Dr. W is extremely knowledgeable about sleep patterns and methods. This
This book makes me feel like a failure as a parent when my child has sleep issues. I hate his preachy tone and militant approach. I have literally thrown it across the room in frustration. Several times when we have encountered a new sleep issue with Nora, I go back to this book, hoping that he'll have some good advice. We are currently trying his "sleep rules" approach to deal with her getting out of bed a thousand times a night, with some success, but I think it has more to do with the holiday ...more
The sleep bible! I swear this is the book that saved my life and now has me pregnant for the third time. Sleeping babies are the best babies ever, and this book teaches parents how to make sure their kids get all the sleep they need, how to get them to sleep, details on how much, napping, falling asleep in cars, etc - I still read it for my 3 year old and review it for my 1yr it has tips all the way to to the teen years. I have not met anyone yet who has religiously followed it say it ...more
This is the most amazing sleep book ever written. I read it with my first and it is a miracle! It totally teaches you how to train your kids to sleep. I refreshed my memory and re-read parts of it with our second and it still worked wonders. Every parent of a newborn should read this. You'll never regret that you did!
Nov 29, 2010 Breeana rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Moms, Dads, Parents, Anyone with kids.
What a lifesaving book!

Like many first-time parents, I started off pretty darn ignorant. I did everything wrong regarding my firstborn's sleep habits for the first about 9 months. I became a miserable being surviving on almost no sleep and lots of frustration. My baby turned into a sullen little thing, too. I knew something had to be done when I realized he hardly smiled or giggled at all.

I researched different sleep-training books and liked the reviews from on this one, so I bought i
I feel like all the books say the same thing in different ways and then sell it as the ONLY thing that works. The funniest thing is that they also seem to say that if you pay attention to your child you will notice patterns and respond according to your best instincts. DUH!! Pay attention to what your child needs. I never thought of that! I feel like most of these books are written to make mothers/parents feel bad, especially if you are breastfeeding. God forbid you don't like to hear your baby ...more
Let's start with the positive. His notion that children calm down and sleep better and generally behave better after 6 weeks was spot on with my two children.

His ideas about not allowing infants longer than 2 hours of wakefulness has also worked well. He also talks about watching for signs of sleepiness, which I have found to be astute, although difficult to be watching my baby carefully for signs of sleepiness in the midst of everything else that goes on.

The idea that children don’t sleep as
Carrie (Care)
My sister has raved about this book for years now. I never read it since our previous foster children didn't seem to have sleep issues. Now that we have a newborn and toddler and scheduling them can be difficult - I gave it a shot. Within days we had a better sleep schedule for both children! We didn't even realize the toddler had sleep issues. We were told he was just a handful, difficult, and extra cranky cause he didn't nap well. It was his 'personality'. Turns out he needed an earlier bedtim ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Alissa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents, new parents, soon-to-be parents
Recommended to Alissa by: Jennifer Leigh
Shelves: ebook, parenting
How you rate this book will depend upon your need. If you are reading for knowledge, this book is incredibly enlightening. If you are a tired parent looking for solutions, the research and analytical stuff with bog you down and irritate you. But Dr. Weissbluth does offer solutions to problems. After reading about half of the book, I had put it down for a while and then hit a patch of night waking with my son. Once I revisited the appropriate section (that had not been applicable at all to us bef ...more
I read this book on the recommendation of several people and many mommies swear by it. For me this book can be explained in a nutshell that doesn't need 400 pages: babies need lots and lots of sleep, yours probably isn't getting enough, let your baby cry it out for up to 45 minutes at naptime, unlimted crying at night time. Why I really gave it only two stars is because the author makes annoying and unsubstantiated claims that are not easy to swallow. For example, if your baby gets too little sl ...more
Dec 17, 2007 Katharine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents
The book is a little hard to navigate, but there is some really helpful information in here. I like how he divides the book into age-specific chapters. It's nice to go straight to the chapter relevant to your child to get a sense of what sleep patterns are healthy for that age. His suggestion to always soothe a newborn to sleep within one to two hours of wakefulness was so helpful - it really cut down on cranky periods. The idea that more sleep = more sleep was counterintuitive at first, but aft ...more
I am currently re-reading this book since I have a newborn again. With my first baby, I didn't find out about this book until she was 8 months old, and it was a life saver! But the sleep training was brutal, though absolutely worth it! She started going to bed at 6p and sleeping through the night! Now she's 3 and still goes to bed by 7:30p without any trouble. I am hoping that starting out from the begining with my newborn will be a little easier.
What I liked:
It worked- my baby is on a schedule! Weissbluth is in favor of nursing before sleep, which I find to be more realistic and less harsh for the baby. Trying to do a sleep schedule AND stop nursing before sleep was too much for my baby. He recommends waiting until your baby is 4 mos. old to really focus on the schedule or attempt to let them cry it out (if they have a difficult temperament, like my baby). He recommends a very early bedtime. This has made a huge difference for my baby a
Oct 19, 2009 Carolyn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: expectant parents, parents of young children
Recommended to Carolyn by: Jennie
Shelves: nonfiction
This book really helped a tremendous amount with my newborn! It has a lot of science/research information to back up the advice AND anecdotal information about specific families going through the same kind of things I was. As a new parent it was nice to see several choices of methods available to me to help me with my daughter - and it encouraged me to make the choice that we were comfortable with, it didn't push any one method over others.

I, too, didn't know that a baby could need to go to sle
This book is really flawed, I can't get away from that. If you're looking for a book of hints on getting your child to sleep, this isn't it - the title is misleading. Weissbluth is over-the-top about insisting kids get enough quality sleep (although that's arguably valuable in our overscheduled lives) and there are dire warnings for kids who don't. Sometimes the book is contradictory and it is poorly organized.

So why my rare 5 star rating? It is just full of good information about sleep developm
Nov 25, 2008 Krista rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents to be, parents
Shelves: own, family
I loved this book so much that after returning it to the library, I bought a copy of my own!

My daughter had gotten to a point where she would not fall asleep unless it was or or next to me. I couldn't put her down in her crib without her waking up and screaming. I read a few books - all that I could find time for with a fairly cranky daughter around - but nothing was really working. Everything else that I read seemed kind of theoretical. This book was full of science (not too much as to be over
I have mixed feeling about this book, but overall it is fabulous and I'm very glad that I read it.

The Good: I understand why this book has been referred to as the "sleep bible." After finishing this book, I feel like I no longer have any questions about what normal sleep should look like for my child and how to best go about teaching her to sleep. This book contains information on a large span of ages and phases from the first days as a newborn all the way through adolescence. There are also cha
Dec 14, 2012 Rosy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Dr. Weissbluth's book is one of the most recommended books for new parents distressed at the lack of sleep in their house, and for good reason. He goes into depth about normal baby sleep cycles and offers strategies to help exhausted parents for nearly every complaint they may have. Dr. Weissbluth's main point that really sticks to the reader is that sleep begets sleep. Contrary to popular opinion, an overtired infant will not simply conk out and sleep for 12 hours - rather, the opposite happens ...more
Although the writing feels confused and hodgepodge-y throughout, Weissbluth provides concrete information and advice on how to help your child sleep well, especially for first-time parents. I followed the author's suggestion of reading certain chapters while pregnant and felt like I had a good handle on what to expect and how to help with regards to sleeping when my daughter was born. Now, I often refer to the book's month by month guide on how parents can help their children establish healthy s ...more
I really liked this book. Not only does it suggest a method for making sure your children get enough sleep, it provides the reader with lots of information about the importance of sleep and backs everything up with academic studies. I liked that the author had done his own research and had lots of experience with different families through his practice. I also liked that the author is open to other methods and doesn't condemn any one because he is aware that different children have different tem ...more
I recommend this book to anyone with children - especially if you think there is any room for improvement in their sleep.

This book helped us sleep better! I've been having sleep trouble with 3 children ages 4 months, 2.5 years, and 5 years old. This book was able to help us with ALL of their diverse sleeping issues. Night waking, not staying in bed at bedtime, battles at bedtime, and an overtired toddler. I learned that 1 child was very overtired due to chroincally missed naps. And all THREE nee
I haven't actually had my baby yet, so I don't know how well this works in practice. I just know it's got a good reputation for working.

I'd suggest using this more as a handbook rather than reading start-finish. There actually is practical info in here, but you have to work for it. Skip the intro, and use the index and TOC to help you cut through the crap. The individual case studies are interesting but don't really give you any tools, so you should feel free to skim or skip those too.

Main dra
Introduces three different techniques to help your baby sleep: co-sleeping, the "let cry (graduated)" and the "let cry." Interesting information on sleep habits but pretty dense with information too (which is hard to get through when you have a newborn). Definitely is biased towards the "let cry" method. But even if you are opposed to that, may be worth the read for the information provided on infant sleep habits. When our daughter was 7 months old, we tried the method of letting her cry herself ...more
Tina Demas Broccolo
Initially, this book was wonderful at helping me understand the theory behind sleep and it introduced me to new ideas I hadn't considered; like putting baby to sleep within 2 hours, motionless sleep, second-winds and the overtired state, earlier bed times, etc. These ideas helped me shape my bedtime routines with my daughter in the early days since his directions on what to do are not particularly clear...and that's a bit frustrating. In those early days when you're trying to set up the best rou ...more
So, I didn't actually finish it. I can't even remember how far I got. It was due back and the library, nonrenewable, and frankly I probably won't seek it out again. I know people who have read and used and loved this book, so I trust that there's something worthwhile about it, but it just didn't do it for me. I found the author's style of writing to sound sort of preachy and very repetitive. I felt like I had to drag myself to pick it up again and keep reading. The little nuggets of wisdom that ...more
Alisa Roukema
I learned a lot about sleep from this book and really respect the authour's expertise on the topic. Really appreciated learning how "sleep begets sleeps" and how an overtired baby will sleep worse. Having said that though, I found this book frustrating at times since it seems to be directed to families with 1 or 2 children. I would like to keep my baby home for his naps as much as possible but the reality is that he does get dragged around ( during nap time) to dentist and dr. Appointments, voll ...more
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“...please remember that leaving your baby alone protesting for more fun with you while you get dressed is not the same things as abandonment. Similarly, leaving your baby alone protesting for more fun when she needs to sleep is not neglect. ” 3 likes
“Remember, sleep training means starting to respect your baby’s need to sleep when he is a newborn by anticipating when he will need to sleep (within one to two hours of wakefulness), learning to recognize drowsy signs, and developing a bedtime routine. Then your baby will not become overtired.” 1 likes
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