Publisher's Weekly


Publisher's Weekly, May 2020

Axelrod, a biologist who studies sleep at the Rockefeller University, debuts with a straightforward manual for getting babies to sleep at least seven hours nightly at 16 weeks of age. Drawing on current research into circadian rhythms, Axelrod recommends a disciplined schedule from birth, with red lightbulbs (which don’t trigger the circadian system) and blackout curtains installed in the bedroom; prompt wake-ups that “make it clear—the day starts now!”; and shortened naps to ensure babies are sleepy by bedtime. Her method calls for letting babies, at three or four months, to cry for at least 90 seconds at night before parents respond, and for parents to soothe but not pick up or feed them throughout the night. Though Axelrod notes that research into why babies cry is still inconclusive, she asserts that, through concerted application of her system, babies can be taught to self-soothe after just a few days. Parents, especially first-time parents, may have a hard time buying her constant reiteration that this method is “gentle” despite being temporarily hard on parent and baby alike. Nonetheless, those exhausted by the vagaries of baby sleep will appreciate having a clearly explained and reassuring guide from an expert in the field. (May)

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