Ferber, Richard 1944- (Richard A. Ferber)

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Ferber, Richard 1944- (Richard A. Ferber)

PERSONAL:

Born 1944. Education: Obtained M.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders, Children's Hospital Boston at Waltham, 9 Hope Ave., Waltham, MA 02453.

CAREER:

Pediatrician. Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders; Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, associate professor of neurology.

MEMBER:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Board of Sleep Medicine, National Sleep Foundation.

WRITINGS:

Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1985, revised and expanded edition, Fireside (New York, NY), 2006.

(Editor, with Meir Kryger) Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine in the Child, Saunders (Philadelphia, PA), 1995.

(Editor, with Stephen Sheldon and Meir Kryger) Principles and Practice of Pediatric Sleep Medicine, Elsevier (Philadelphia, PA), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

Pediatrician Richard Ferber's research and findings have led him to be considered one of the nation's foremost experts on children's sleep behaviors. He holds joint appointments as the director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston's Children's Hospital and as an associate professor of neurology at the Harvard Medical School. He is also a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Board of Sleep Medicine, and the National Sleep Foundation.

After releasing his findings, Ferber garnered a large following of restless parents looking to understand why their babies would not sleep well at night or by themselves. In an article in U.S. News & World Report, Janet Rae-Dupree wrote that Ferber suggested that "babies need to know they've been born into a loving world with caring parents who are sensitive to their needs," adding that "premature or sickly infants have different needs from full-term, healthy babies. Some just need more nurturing." Essentially, Ferber suggests that by six months of age, babies can be taught to soothe themselves to sleep after being put in bed while still awake. However, it is parents who must refrain from following the baby's cries, by showing their acknowledgement with pats on the back but refraining from feeding or picking up the crying child. By decreasing the amount of timed pats, Ferber believes the baby will adjust over time to being able to sleep without the constant attention and comfort from parents.

Ferber published his first book, Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, in 1985. In 2006 he published a newly revised and expanded edition of this book. The book outlines the approach Ferber takes to teach infants to sleep on their own without the constant attention of the parents at the baby's every cry. The revised edition expands the section on napping in the day and includes updated scientific studies on sleep patterns since the original publication date. The biggest shift from the original to the newer edition is that Ferber reversed his position on sleep sharing, or parents sleeping with the child. Ferber insists that an infant is not hindered by sleeping with the parents from later learning to sleep on their own.

Booklist contributor Jennifer Mattson remarked that shortly after she gave birth, this was the book she "pored over most avidly." Martha Brant and Anna Kuchment, reviewing the book in Newsweek, commented that this book is the "bible of pediatric sleep," adding that Ferber "so dominated the field that his name entered the parental lexicon," called "Ferberizing." Brant and Kuchment summarized that "those worried that the tough-love doctor has become a mealy-mouthed New Ager needn't fear. He still says bonding is best done during waking hours, and he insists that cosleepers have a plan for getting the kid out of their bed—ideally by six months and definitely by three years. But the fact that Ferber now accepts, if not embraces, bed sharing is heartening to many." Douglas C. Lord, writing in Library Journal, called the author "a sleep giant in the land of nod." Lord suggested that Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems "deserve[s] space on the shelf."

Ferber also edited Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine in the Child with Meir Kryger in 1995, and Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine with Stephen Sheldon and Meir Kryger in 2005.

Ferber told CA: "When we started our sleep disorders program for children in 1978, there were no other such centers anywhere in the world. We quickly learned that we were addressing a huge and largely unmet need. There were only so many families we could help directly in our center and I wanted to share the information we were learning with families as well as practitioners around the world. This led to the writing and publication of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems and subsequently to our textbooks."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, October 1, 1997, Bruce Schnapf, review of Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine in the Child, p. 1068.

Booklist, January 1, 2007, Jennifer Mattson, review of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, p. 160.

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, May 1, 1996, Robert L. Findling, review of Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine in the Child, p. 693.

Library Journal, April 1, 1985, Diane K. Harvey, review of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, p. 150; March 15, 2006, Douglas C. Lord, review of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, p. 92.

Los Angeles Times, April 18, 1985, Roselle M. Lewis, review of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, p. 11.

Newsweek, May 29, 2006, Martha Brant and Anna Kuchment, "The Little One Said ‘Roll Over’," p. 54.

New York Times, February 18, 1993, Carol Lawson, "Sleepless Children, Worn-out Parents," p. 8.

New York Times Magazine, October 9, 1994, David Blum, "Richard Ferber: The Sleep Doctor Helps Parent and Child Make It through the Night, All the Way through the Night," p. 44.

Parents' Magazine, November 1, 1988, review of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, p. 92.

Pediatric Views, June, 2004, author interview; June, 2006, "Dr. Ferber Updates His Landmark Sleep Book."

Publishers Weekly, February 8, 1985, review of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, p. 66.

Science Books & Films, March 1, 1986, review of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, p. 219.

Slate, May 31, 2006, Ann Hulbert, "The Dr. Spock of Sleep."

Today's Parent, August 1, 1988, review of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, p. 48; April 1, 2006, John Hoffman, "The Gurus Get Real," p. 34.

U.S. News & World Report, October 16, 2000, Janet Rae-Dupree, "It's Tricky Getting a Baby to Sleep Like One," p. 70.

ONLINE

Baby Center,http://www.babycenter.com/ (August 4, 2008), author profile.

Harvard Medical School, Division of Sleep Medicine Web site,http://sleep.med.harvard.edu/ (August 4, 2008), author profile.

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