Mother-2-Mother Concerns: Baby’s Sleep

Reprinted from (2000-2006), with permission from the author, Paula Y.

When, where and how baby sleeps is a hot topic. Everyone has an opinion as to what is best for mother and baby. It is important to remember when considering these issues that “what is important” is important only as it relates to *you* – in other words, what is important to some, is not important to others, and it’s really nobody’s business “how” (or where or when) you and baby sleep! “Crying it out” isn’t an option for many parents and luckily, it doesn’t *have* to be. There are many options to the “cry it out” method which are not as harsh and which provide parents and babies with loving, gentler solutions to getting more sleep.

Most breastfeeding experts encourage mother to co-sleep with her infant. Some frown on co-sleeping, but experts like Dr. Williams Sears, father of 8 breastfed children, put it simply, indicating that “the best investment new parents can make, is a bigger bed”, and supports co-sleeping. He offers wonderful information on sleep concerns that can really help a parent understand “how” a baby sleeps as well as ideas to help reduce or eliminate sleep “problems.”

Dr. Jay Gordon, pediatrician says “…Don’t let anyone convince you that this is a harmful choice or that there will be ‘no way’ to get him out of your bed if you don’t do it now. Don’t believe anyone who says that babies who cuddle and nurse all night long ‘never’ learn to self soothe or become independent. This is simply not true but it sells books and the myths stay in our culture.” Dr. James McKenna, PhD, Director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab at the University of Notre Dame, says, ” By sleeping next to it’s mother, the infant receives protection, warmth, emotional reassurance, and breastmilk – in just the forms and quantities that nature intended.”

Nursing to sleep and sleeping all night are also hot topics. There are many out there that would have a mother believe she is creating problems for herself and her baby by doing what comes naturally – hopefully the information here and the links to additional info, will assure the mother that her choice to co-sleep, to nurse baby to sleep, and/or to comfort nurse baby are all choices that are supported and encouraged by experts and many, many parents.