In what my husband has dubbed my meta-analysis of sleep theories, I found a book at the library by Cathryn Tobin, MD called The Lull-a-Baby Sleep Plan. It only took an hour or so to go over the whole thing, and I am glad I spent the time. Much more than that and I think I would have fallen asleep. It was written in very easy-to-read language and had a nice tone-- not too simplified and friendly, which made the time go faster.
Her ideas are solid, if you get to the book early enough, although she does include a section on older babies (over 7 months). But perhaps I am jaded by all of the sleep books I have been reading and the tone I am starting to find a bit annoying. But maybe that is because I am getting better sleep these days (thanks, No-Cry Sleep Solution and Baby Whisperer for some ideas). This book is like all the others: it tells why she is the authority on sleep, gives a bit of info on baby sleep patterns and the requisite crib and bedsharing safety/ SIDS avoidance guidelines, describes her plan, then gives a section on what to do if it's not working. She includes a glossary in the back, which I found quite useful and interesting, though.
So what is her plan? I was asking my self this for a good third of the time I spent perusing her book. Then it dawned on me that she had been telling it the whole time (well, 2/3 of it, anyway). I just hadn't recognized it because it wasn't anything novel (thanks, this time, to The Happiest Baby on the Block). She tells you to first make sure baby is tired (like all the books). Use white noise and swaddle the baby for the first few months. Then she says to have a good, solid bedtime routine~ and use it for naps, too. Then- and here is her plan- sit and lull your baby to sleep. She describes this as sitting beside the baby and using your voice. You can talk or sing or read a boring book aloud, but to sit there and let the baby eat her hands or coo and if he gets worked up, you can calm with touch or by picking up, but if you catch him tired this will be you easy way to lull the baby to sleep. Oh, and you must put baby down sleepy awake (all the books say this, too, but it is her basic premise as well).
She says you need to do this when baby reaches a certain age (generally 4-7 months, but she has a chart with readiness signs). If you miss this window, she gives suggestions that sound similar to what other books say -- basically variants of leaving baby and coming back in to check on them so they don't cry too much (or alone too long, at least). She also reminds you to stop and see what baby is doing rather than rushing in to help (a la Baby Whisperer).
Like all good plans, she promises sleeping through the night and falling asleep easily is you follow her plan religiously at every sleeping opportunity for a prescribed period of time. Hers is 7 days.
Seems a little simple, but maybe that's the point. It actually reminds me of how my in-laws put our 1st child to sleep (they put him in bed and THEN read to him, hoping he will fall asleep while reading, then give him a goodnight kiss and leave the room). Perhaps it is old wisdom, written down in a book that our generation will read and use.