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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  8,735 Ratings  ·  1,582 Reviews
Now, Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a leading researcher, distinguished pediatrician, and father of four, offers a revolutionary new program to ensure healthy, happy sleep for your child- both at night and during equally important daytime naps. In Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, he explains, with authority and reassurance, his full step-by-step program for instituting healthy sle ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published 1987 by Ballantine Books
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Community Reviews

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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
Jun 18, 2008 Pamela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Syd Markle
Sep 28, 2010 Syd Markle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2008 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 29, 2010 Breeana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 22, 2007 polly rated it liked it  ·  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
Aug 17, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 07, 2013 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 05, 2008 Marita rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 14, 2008 Marisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jul 06, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 14, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
I'm really struggling to read this book -- the poor organization, the condescending tone, the wordiness. So I think if I can review it as I go with all my snarky thoughts I will enjoy the process more and possibly make it through. Because this has been recommended to me so much (and because I got a free copy) I am trying to be humble enough to finish it. I skimmed through this for both of my previous babies, but I'm now trying to read it thoroughly in preparation for my third.

So far:
I need to re
Dec 14, 2012 Rosy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 19, 2009 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: expectant parents, parents of young children
Recommended to Carolyn by: Jennie
Shelves: nonfiction, own
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
Sep 19, 2012 Evaly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Carrie (Care)
Jul 20, 2009 Carrie (Care) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: july-09-dec-09
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
Feb 19, 2012 Alissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 17, 2007 Katharine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 22, 2008 Lianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 12, 2017 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
В общем, это, конечно, всё очень интересно, но смысла кроме "надо спать, а не спать не надо" я извлечь не смогла.
И практических советов касательно моей трёхмесячной плюшки тоже.
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
Sep 30, 2013 Jessimc rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's probably a diamond in there, but there is a LOT of rough around it.

Weissbluth needs a major ghostwriter/rewrite. I had a couple different MD's recommend this book to me so I wanted really badly for it to be the sleep bible everyone says it is. I did my best to live by it as one would their religion for a whole year but the problem is I wasn't ever real sure what it was telling me to do. And I don't think I'm a dummy. My English comprehension scores were nearly perfect on the ACT. HE JUS
Nov 25, 2008 Krista rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 25, 2008 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 15, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Mar 28, 2014 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book provides some idea of what sleep patterns may look like for your baby but it also provides fuel for the longest guilt trip you will take as a parent. His guilt-inducing chapters include boxed warnings indicating that you could ruin your child with botched sleep and long winded explanations of anecdotal research supporting his stance. If you are a sleep deprived parent trying to find answers, look elsewhere lest you lose more sleep trying to read through verbose chapters and then squand ...more
Jul 02, 2016 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not all that impressed with this book's advice. One good point is that you only have to read your relevant chapters, not the entire book, cover to cover. The book's advice for our almost-2-year-old is not all that extensive, though. Also, I wasn't particularly impressed with the advice that you should threaten an older child who gets out of bed with putting a lock on their bedroom door--and then actually do it if they don't take you seriously. That is absolutely not safe.
Amy Brown
I read this book when my kids were babies and I am revisiting it now because a friend has a baby and I didn't remember the advice from this book. (Not that I will pass on the advice unless she asks, of course!)

I love this book because it's packed with research and facts, and because I rather appreciated Weissbluth's pull-no-punches manner. Sometimes he comes off as harsh, but my reading of that at the time (and now) is that he cares more about your baby's health than your feelings. Which is fair
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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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