Few aspects of my 25 years in pediatric practice have been as gratifying as time spent teaching parents of 2-month-olds the principles of sleep. Exhausted parents who think 5 hours of sleep is close to “all night” are delighted to learn that, with little effort or mental anguish, they can teach their babies to sleep for 9 to 12 hours, uninterrupted, by 4 to 5 months of age.

This method evolved from interest and need. I first read Richard Ferber's then-new book Solve Your Child's Sleep Problem in 1984, a few years after starting practice but before I had children. His method of allowing infants to cry for progressively longer periods over successive nights was quite effective but was criticized by some for traumatizing infants and parents alike.

When Emily was born in June of 1986, I was anxious, at age 35, to teach her to sleep through the night...

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