Sleep Issues (Case Studies)

1. Vivian is the mother of a beautiful baby, Rachel, 5 months old. Recently Rachel has had trouble going to sleep at night and has started to wake up a few times during the night. Vivian is feeling desperate and is worried she’s going to collapse from exhaustion. She and her husband , therefore, decide to use the “Ferber” method of sleep training. In the evening after she gives her baby a bath, a feed and a song, they put Rachel down in her crib. As usual, she starts to cry. They leave her room, wait 5 minutes and then go back into her. The talk to her in a low voice, stroke her head but don’t make eye contact with her. Rachel calms down and stops crying. A few minutes after they leave the room, Rachel starts to cry again. This time Vivian and her husband wait 7 minutes and then go back to Rachel and repeat the same procedure – talking softly to her, stroking her but not picking her up and not making eye contact. They continue this for an hour after which she finally falls asleep. They also repeat the same procedure during the night when Rachel wakes up.

1. Why do you think Rachel might be having sleep difficulties at this age?
2. What would you advise her parents to do?
3. What do you think will happen in the next few days with Rachel’s sleep (if her parents
are using this method)?
4. What are the advantages of this method?
5. What are the disadvantages of this method?
6. Would you use this approach? Under what circumstances would you use this approach?


2. Karen is the mother of a beautiful baby, Jordan, 8 months old. Recently Jordan has had trouble going to sleep at night and has started to wake up a few times during the night. Karen is feeling desperate and is worried she’s going to collapse from exhaustion. She and her husband, therefore, decide to use the “Dr. Sears” approach to baby sleep. In the evening, they bath Jordan, and give him a relaxing massage. Karen then nurses Jordan who falls asleep while feeding. Karen waits 20 minutes and then puts Jordan down in his crib. The first time Jordan wakes up during the night, Karen moves him to her bed and nurses him and he quickly falls asleep. Karen also falls asleep quickly. During the night either Karen gets Jordan to sleep by nursing or her husband gets him to sleep by stroking, and talking softly to him. Jordan stays in the bed for the rest of the night.

1. Why do you think Jordan might be having sleep difficulties at this age?
2. What would you advise his parents to do?
3. What do you think will happen in the next few days with Jordan’s sleep (if his parents are using this method)?
4. What are the advantages of this method?
5. What are the disadvantages of this method?
6. Would you use this approach? Under what circumstances would you use this approach?


3. Samantha is the mother of a beautiful baby, Jack, 11 months old. Recently Jack has had trouble going to sleep at night and has started to wake up a few times during the night. Samantha is feeling desperate and is worried she is going to collapse from exhaustion. She and her husband, therefore decide to use the “baby whisperer” approach to baby sleep. In the evening after bathing and nursing and singing, Jack is sleepy . Rachel holds hi m on her lap for 5 minutes and then puts him down in his crib. As usual, Jack starts to cry. Samantha picks him up, holds him and talks softly to him until he calms down and then she returns him to the cot. After a couple of minutes, he starts crying again and so Samantha repeats the procedure – she picks him up, and calms him and then puts him back down in the cot.

Samantha repeats this procedure for 1 hr after which Jack finally goes to sleep. During the night when Jack wakes up, Samantha does the same procedure only this time without talking and without making eye contact (so that baby won’t be too stimulated).
1. Why do you think Jack might be having sleep difficulties at this age?
2. What would you advise his parents to do?
3. What do you think will happen in the next few days with Jack’s sleep?
4. What are the advantages of this method?
5. What are the disadvantages of this method?
6. Would you use this approach? Under what circumstances would you use this approach?