REFERENCE: McGarr, R. J., Hovell, M. F. (1980). In search of the sand man: Shaping an infant to sleep. Education and Treatment of Children, 3, 173-182.

This study was designed to determine whether a mother's attention could be used to reinforce her infant's sleep behavior. A three-month-old girl with a history of frequent middle-of-the-night awakenings and crying was provided mothering attention contingent upon sleep. This was accomplished by having the mother wake the child with a music box before her expected awakening and then feed and console her before she had the opportunity to cry. Gradually the time of awakening was extended later and later into the night. By the end of training these procedures resulted in an increase in the infant's first sleep episode from five to seven hours and a cessation of crying. It was concluded that the behavioral shaping procedures were responsible for this child's sleeping more normally and could serve as useful adjunctive treatment procedures for pediatricians.


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