A great post by Amy Webb about how the debate over how best to get baby (and parents) to sleep often gets confused with other issues…not helpful. Here she pinpoints some of these confusions….
From Amy’s The Thoughtful Parent blog:
My point with this post is not to come down on one side or the other regarding sleep training. Overall, I think it is up to each family to decide how to manage sleep issues in their family based on their values and needs. My point is to illustrate how the media often frames controversial issues like this in a way that is misleading and oversimplifies the research they claim to be referencing.
First, let me discuss a few things that we do know in regards to responsive parenting. These are based on hundreds of research articles:
– infants whose parents respond to them in a responsive way, especially in the first 3 months, but I would say first 6 months, generally develop better overall, learn to self-regulate better, and ultimately cry less
**Note: most pediatricians would not recommend sleep training prior to 6 months of age. Newborns do not have the ability to self-soothe well and must be responded to promptly. Older babies, however, do have the ability to put themselves to sleep (assuming no health problems are present).
– infants whose parents chronically neglect them or their cries for attention have poorer outcomes overall
**Note: if infants’ needs are repeatedly ignored, of course, they will not develop ideally. Pediatrician-recommended sleep training methods do not involve chronic neglect of an infant’s needs.
– infants of depressed mothers are at risk for poor attachment which can lead to further problems with self-regulation, behavior, and later attachments
**Note: extreme sleep-deprivation is a risk factor for depression, particularly postpartum depression