Mother-2-Mother Concerns: Baby’s Sleep

March 20, 2012. Posted in: Mother-2-Mother.com,Nighttime parenting

Reprinted from Mother-2-Mother.com (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.

{ 7 comments }

btoenges March 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Thank you for this article. I have been getting alot of heat about weaning my 14 month old and getting him out of my bed. I personally would like to wean for my own reasons but I am not to sure about letting him go out of the bed just yet. I would love some advice on how to do this, as it seems both go hand in hand, and habits are already created. Also I love the new layout of this website, looks more professional and easier to navigate!!

Lisa Robinson April 10, 2012 at 5:43 am

I love this website. I have been breastfeeding my daughter for 10 months now and aiming on continuing. Have been feeling the ‘social’ stress of feeding her to sleep especially for naps as she’ll be going to a childminder at a year old once I go back to work and i’m not sure how she’ll cope.
This has been most reassuring, thank you so much. i can go back to enjoying feeding her to sleep now…!

Calix Diana April 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Is it safe to sleep with a new born in the ame bed

Claire_hicklin2003 April 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I co slept with my new born until 9 weeks then she slept through until 16 weeks then now she is feeding in the night again so we are co-sleeping again! It’s safe as long as your sensible. Move all pillows etc out of the way.

Lijane44 June 7, 2012 at 8:16 pm

My 3 wo. Sleeps on me, is this ok. It seems to be te only way he will sleep soundly between feedings.

Drkemby June 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm

 yes, it’s ok for your newborn to sleep on your chest or while nursing – it’s most comfortable for them to be close to you and you would be able to tell if they were having trouble breathing, etc much easier while holding them than if they were in a crib.  I think many newborns sleep on their moms most of the day naps.  If you want to set the little one down for sleep, I recommend a swaddle while so young, helps them feel more secure and sleep more soundly without waking themselves up with arms flailing.

MiEr January 13, 2013 at 9:33 pm

I’m a forst time mother. Been having lots of conflicts with my husband about crying baby. As he believe in spoilling the baby and as for me first of all I cannot stand leaving her crying for too long and always tend to her cry and comfort her as I believe this are very important to her mental development, bonding trust and I’m sure a baby cannot be spoil in such a tender age. First few months of my motherhood are nightmare as we husband and wife just constantly fight towards crying issues. Bless him he eventually kind of give in. First, question is anyone have any idea at what age a baby would be spoil and we have to start a discipline. Can someone assure me I’m doing what is the best for the baby upbringing. Not so much who is right or wrong but what is the best for the baby.

I’m partially breastfeeding mum. I kind of nurse my baby to sleep or nap sometime. Not everytime. I just go according to my baby need. Try to set bedtime routine but so far not much luck. By the way my baby is 5 months old now. Again is another issue that I’m the baby’s dummy and is not healthy leaving the baby fall asleep while nursing and the HV kind of agree about not letting your baby sleep while nursing nor co sleeping. I tried wake her up half way nursing etc but she alwys half asleep and nurse at the same time on and off. I really dont know which is right and wrong. Again what my concern is more on what is best for the baby and would I create a bad habbit to my baby that she wont be able to be independent in time to come. Like go to sleep by herself etc. So far she would go to sleep by herself in her basket beside me most of the time but sometime she will need help like nursing and cuddle. Is another issue I’m concern whether I’m doing it right and best for her or otherwise. I must admit I do co sleeping with my baby when she needed it like when she is poorly , after vacination and when nights that she cannot managed to put herself to sleep but I alwys make sure it is safe for her to sleep with me. I do enjoy co sleeping sometime but not always as we as a mother have to be very alert while sleeping with your baby for safety issue so you dont get a very good sleep in a way but overall more sleep for baby and mum. But you can definitely tell the different whenthe baby have a good night sleep ahe is a much ahppy baby and she is even more happy when she sleep with mum.

Another issue that I’m really concern is when is the ideal age to let your baby sleep in her own room. I like the idea of co sleeping but I’m not sure about my husband as all his mates are telling him about training their child to sleep in their own room and all the nightmare they have as the children just constantly on and off needed the parents to sleep with. By the way, I’m from very different background. As a chinese tradition / culture, we awlys nurture, sleep with our baby till they are toddler age. They children usually only move to their own room when they are ready and they are always welcome into parents room for co sleeping whenever they want. Not encourage but not forbidden to.
As I can forsee is another though chapter I’ll be going thru in very near future as I’m sure we’ll have some conflict again. My husband love and adores our daughter with all his heart. The only issue is he constantly frantic about disciple and not spoiling the child as he benn flooded with idea of spoilling child long before we have our own offspring. To me spoilling a child is more on material if you keep on buying them toy when they are toddler age and buy them what ever they want… and no discipline…that is spoilling a child. But tender to every cry , needs, at this tender age is very critical for their mental and behaviour development…

Never realise i’m such a long winding mum…. I do enjoy this site because lots of information here are very practical and helpful. Is also a channel that I’m assuring myself I’m doing the best for my baby….