The Dream Sleeper
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More About This Title The Dream Sleeper


Dream Team's new way to a good night's sleep for babies and parents

With a simple and easy-to-follow plan for today's fast-moving (and often sleep-deprived) parents, this book offers a new, modern approach to teaching babies how to sleep independently. The authors' proven methods, prepared with a team of esteemed pediatric advisors, show anyone how to coach their baby to sleep through the night on his or her own. The importance of preparation, consistency, and patience is explained in a down-to-earth style.

A primer on the science of sleepInstructions for setting up the sleeping environment and creating sleeping and eating schedulesAdvice on identifying sleep associations and creating a support systemChecklists and strategies to implement the three-part plan

With respect for many styles of parenting, this step-by-step program includes methods for helping baby get a good night's sleep.


Conner Herman & Kira Ryan founded Dream Team Baby with the help of an advisory board including a neurologist, pediatrician, nurse practitioner, psychologist, and behavioral therapist. Together they created new ways of getting children to love sleep.


Foreword by Amy DeMattia xi

Meet Our Dream Team xv

Preface xix

Acknowledgments xxi

Introduction: A Perfect Little World—Until Sleep Deprivation Knocks at Your Door 1

PART ONE Get Ready!

Great sleep teaching begins with choice, change, and flexibility, not a quick fix.

1 What You Should Know Before You Start 7

The benefits of getting good sleep and a look at different philosophies on sleep. How to know whether your baby is ready for sleep teaching—and whether you are too.

2 Sleep Science 101 19

How sleep develops in children and the truth about night wakings. The science behind the reasons sleep is a learned skill—and the reason that going with your child’s natural sleep tendencies doesn’t work for a lot of babies. Also includes an overview of safe sleeping practices. An important chapter for all parents struggling with their child’s sleep issues.


The six critical steps in guiding your baby toward sleep success.

3 Setting the Stage 37

Setting up your baby’s room to encourage better sleep and how to deal with unique or challenging sleep situations such as sharing a room.

4 Identifying Your Child’s Sleep Associations 57

Sleep associations are one of the biggest barriers to sleep. What sleep associations are, the negative associations common in young children, and the more positive associations parents should try to incorporate into their baby’s sleep time.

5 Creating a Daytime Sleeping and Eating Schedule 65

A guide to setting up the ideal eating and sleeping schedule, broken down by ages (birth to two months, two to four months, four to six months, six to fifteen months, fifteen months to three years).

6 Fixing Potential Feeding Issues 79

Examining and then maximizing your child’s feedings to quell fears of nighttime hunger and make sleep easier and more straightforward.

7 Setting Up a Support System 99

Reasons that parents should be equal participants in the sleep teaching process and ideas for getting aligned.

8 Keeping Emotional Issues in Check 109

Tips for managing your expectations of your child’s sleep, being the best sleep teacher you can be, and handling the guilt associated with hearing your child cry.


Where the real work of sleep teaching begins—and continues.

9 Creating Your Lesson Plan 123

Picking the best day to begin, choosing a bedtime, deciding which room or place will work best to sleep-teach, teaching multiples, and emotionally preparing toddlers.

10 The First Twenty-Four Hours 143

The meat of our proven approach for putting a baby down for the night, interpreting different types of cries, determining how to respond to your child while he or she learns, and what to expect throughout the first night.

11 The Next Two Weeks (Including Naps) 173

The challenges associated with napping, what to do when a schedule isn’t working, and how to make modifications to your overall sleep plan.

12 Keeping It Going 195

Various issues that affect sleep, even in children who love sleep: dropping a nap, dealing with sickness or teething, travel disruptions, when to move your child to a toddler bed, and more.

Appendix A: Frequently Asked Questions 213

Newborn and Baby 213

Toddler 218

Feeding 221

Sleep Teaching 223

Crying 229

Napping 231

Odds and Ends 232

Appendix B: Sleep Teaching Overview 239

Appendix C: Worksheet Templates 241

Worksheet 1: Sleeping and Eating Log 241

Worksheet 2: Contract for Sleep Teaching 243

Worksheet 3: Your Child’s Sleep Schedule 246

References 249

About the Authors 251

Index 253