Charlie - posted on 04/26/2011 ( 34 moms have responded )
Some of the nation's leading sleep authorities are softening their long-held positions. In a coming new edition of his landmark 1985 book, pediatrician Richard Ferber is backing off his controversial system for training babies to sleep. The approach, which involves leaving a child to cry for progressively longer intervals until he or she falls asleep, has many ardent followers. But the crying method has also drawn loud criticism as being neglectful.
Dr. Ferber now says that letting children cry "was not meant to be the way to treat all sleep problems" and his updated book, coming this spring, will make it clear that he offers other solutions besides crying.
Dr. Ferber, 61, says that he has been largely misunderstood. When he first published his book in 1985, "there weren't any others," he says. The book, which has been reprinted 45 times, contains advice on a range of sleep issues, from bed-wetting to teens who can't get up for school on time. But he is most known for his signature controlled-crying method, which involves leaving a baby alone in the crib to cry for progressively longer intervals until he or she falls asleep. Parents are instructed to go into the room at the end of each interval to console -- but not touch or pick up -- the child.
Dr. Ferber, who is also director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children's Hospital in Boston, says that now, "we've had a lot more experience. There really are a lot of different ways" for children to learn good sleep habits.
Co-sleeping is central to the attachment parenting approach touted by Dr. Sears and others. Even Dr. Ferber, who had been opposed to the practice, now says that sharing a bed can be effective for families.
Dr. Ferber says that he will be revising his book because some parts need to be updated. For instance, he says new research suggests that babies don't need as much sleep as he originally advised. And he wants to clarify that his crying technique was targeted at a specific problem: the child who can fall asleep only while being rocked or held. While he still presents this approach in his new edition, he says he tells parents they can use gradual steps to wean a child off of rocking and soothing behaviors. And he clarifies that some children such as those suffering from anxiety will not be helped by the crying method.
Thoughts ? Does this change anything for you whether you are for or against it ?