I've been reading a lot about AP versus the BabyWise style of "cry-it-out" parenting. My husband and I are looking to start a family soon so we're considering which style (or combination of styles) might be best for us. My sister has done BabyWise (though not to a T) and swears by it, but in reading more about it, I find some of it a bit disturbing. On the other hand, there are aspects of AP that seem a bit extreme as well. Is there a balanced approach out there (and any balanced books as well that would be helpful)?

 

Thanks everybody!

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Object permanence and all the developmental stages of a child (from a psychology perspective) are discussed in that book I mentioned to you that's the "Bed Timing: the when to guide to helping your child to sleep.."  Extremely comprehensive, and will definitely give you the ins and outs of each developmental stage, and what this means for you as you consider sleep training your child. For instance, Sarah mentions 7-9 months as being the stretch between which many children learn object permanence...but the book makes it clear that 5.5-7.5 months is a good time to sleep train your child, BUT 8-11 months is NOT a good time to sleep train your child. So object permanence isn't the only thing that must be considered from the standpoint of developmental psychology. 

 

For example, here's what the book ACTUALLY says about object permanence and the emotional stage of social referencing (8-11 months):

"object permanence, social referencing, and search for absent people make separations particularly difficult" and "babies constantly test parents' availability" during this time.

 

For this reason, the authors recommend *not* sleep training during this time. So object permanence isn't the reason to start sleep training your child. And I would be inclined to take the word of two individuals who are active professors, researchers, etc in the field of developmental psychology. I think when it comes to sleep training, you don't want the 'coles notes' version of what might be going on: you want to know for sure what's happening so sleep training occurs at a more natural time for the child. Who wants sleep training to be traumatic?

 

In fact, when they say that 5.5-7.5 months is a good time, they explain the motor initiative in this emotional stage as:

 

"a very robust stage, when babies are more interested in grasping objects and moving their bodies than tracking caregivers' whereabouts"

 

And in fact, if you read the book, you'll see that some of the assumptions Sara makes in her response about developmental psychology and how that applies to when its' best to sleep train are proven untrue by this book. She is right about 4-5 months being a bad time, but not right that, in general, 7-9 months is a good time because of "object permanence". And her response doesn't take into account the fact that the authors earmark 2.5-4 months as generally a good time for sleep training, although they acknowledge that, depending on the baby, this may be a good time or too early. We sleep trained our daughter a week before she turned 4 months, and that was not a minute too soon, because we noticed changes in her at 4 months and 1 week that we think would've truly made 4 months a bad time to sleep train her. Luckly, we'd sleep trained her just in time. (And she's a MUCH happier baby because of it - my parents even noticed she was smiling more and more cheerful once we sleep trained her, and they didn't even know yet that we had sleep trained her).

 

To be honest, I've seen many parents try to sleep train between 7-9 months for exactly this reason and fail, so I'm inclined to believe the authors' assertion. Now, I won't comment on Sara's own method in terms of her family: each parent must do what's best for their children, and no doubt she is following the cues of her children as she decides when to sleep train, which is paramount, I think. But if you're interested in what passionate researchers and parents have come to realize about when sleep training is best for most babies, you may want this book :). 

 

But I say all this acknowledging that we did the 3 day rule, and our lovely daughter only whimpered on an off for30 -40 minutes the first night...then she was hooked :).  So we had a very gentle sleep training experience, and I think it's because we sleep trained her a time that was developmentally appropriate.

Thanks, Marci!  All good stuff to take into consideration.  And you're right, I think the 3-day rule does seem a bit more humane!  :o)  Thanks again.  I will definitely consider looking into reading that book!  :o)

The reason they say that's not a good time to sleep train is b/c since babies now know you exist they are going to want you. Before that they don't really know you exist anymore so they don't tend to cry as much/long for you. So, for me what that means is doing it before that might be easier & make it happen faster but IMO will likely be more tramatic for them. To me, its not just about the end result it's about the emotional toll it may take on the babies while I am trying to "train" them. For however many nites they are left to fuss/cry, before they have obj perm, they truly believe they are all alone. For me, having them feel like that for even 3 days is not acceptable. (That's just me, parents are free & I encourage them to do what they feel is best for them).

 

I didn't say sleep training was good to do during this time...as I don't believe in "sleep training" at any age**. If your only consideration is in what developmental stage sleep training would work best then your authors/you are right. But if you take into account WHAT the babies are feeling/thinking during that time then, IMO, before obj perm is much harsher then after...before they believe you no longer exist & that's why you aren't responding. I can't imagine how frightening that must be...after they can begin to understand that while you still exist and respond when they get upset, they cannot get out of bed just b/c they cry to...

 

I would rather my child fuss a little every night (they don't, I am just making a point) to learn that just b/c they want to get up doesn't mean they can and learn how to deal w/an emotion (frustration) that they will face their entire lives then have them spend ANY amount of time, no matter how short, believing they are all alone in the world w/no one to respond to them. (This is my opinion only NOT a value judgement I DEEPLY respect the fact that parenting is a personal choice based on the needs of the family & baby)

 

I do respect the authors' take on WHY sleep training works better at certain stages & I agree. However, there are many other theories, by just as credible researchers & developmental psychologists, that reveal flaws in theories that sleep training a very young infant is EVER a good idea based on considerations of other domains of development (like feeling left all alone vs feeling frustrated) that is also based on research***. For them, and me, the idea of when it is most tramautic or effective isn't based on the amount of time it takes to "train" them or how much they fuss (I am not talking screaming or being really upset just protesting being in bed) but the emotions/thoughts they have to/are developmentally able to deal w/while its happening.

 

And in many, many cases even babies that were trained to sleep and have been peacefully doing so for months...regress at the time that obj perm happens. Even the best training can't negate innate developmental conditions--the same reason sleep training isn't effective at this age explains why they often regress at this age. And the "training" has to start all over...

 

**I say I don't believe in sleep training...I am not training them to sleep I am teaching behavioral & emotional limits and setting foundation for the development of self discipline they will need throughout their lives. I am considering all domains of development & basing what I do on Developmentally Appropriate Practices and the ind'v needs of each child. It seems like semantics but the theories are very different.

***Many thoerists actually argue that you can't train/teach a baby before a certain age/stage of development because they don't have the cognitive ability to learn--things that appear to be being learned are neurological reflexes not actual "learning." To some harcore ppl they argue that babies that appear to be trained have actually given up trying to communicate b/c its ineffective--the argument against CIO. I don't readily agree w/this when it comes to gentle training like you employ and when it truly works like w/your daughter :-) or the gentle way I do my kids--like you said they both take into account the needs of our babies the most impor thing. But I do agree that, based on what I know about learning, true learning that stays intact throughout all developmental stages, can't occur before certain cognitive functions appear.

 

Why training appears to work (I guess that depends on your definition of "works"--to some it simply means that the baby is now sleeping, to others it is whether that lesson/behavior stays intact throughout all stages of development, in other words true learning occurs) is b/c about 40%  of babies have an easy to warm temperment and about 15% are slow to warm--this means that for 55% of babies they will respond well to the conditions that surrond most training methods based on innate personality. About 15% are difficult to warm and are usually referred to "challenging or hard babies" and likely will be difficult to "train." Another 35% won't fit neatly into any category-and may or may not respond well to the training based on specific situ/conditions. This is why training seems to be effective--for the majority of babies it is. But it isn't likely to hold stable throughout development--as evidenced by the incidence of regression of previous sleep patterns/habits as they reach certain ages/stages. Their being easy will make future lessons--like if/when their sleeping regresses--also easier, further strengthening the idea that training works.

 

To be fair to me, I am not just "making assumptions." I am educated and trained in child development & developmental & educational psychology. I am a degreed and licensed Child Development & Educatioanl Professional --I have over 72 hours of univ classess in child development, guidance and developmental & educational psychology, I have over 300 hours of practica where I observed & studied children in all ages of development, and had to pass a State Board on HOW children develop in ALL domains from birth throuh age 8. (as to the quality of my education...I only missed 1 question on my state boards & graduated summa cum laude in the top 10% of the univ) That isn't to say I am right (that's why these are ALL called theories ) or that I know more than or even as much as other trained professionals...but my statements are founded in both diadactic & experiential knowledge as well as on historical & current thories & research and are well above the level of assumptions--it's just not the same theories that the author's belive in/support or emphasize. 

 

This was not meant to be argumentative or offensive. I am trying to engage in a healthy academic discussion. I hope that I was able to pull it off & sound that way. :-)

 

Thanks for your input, Sara!!  :o)

Sarah, you said:

For however many nites they are left to fuss/cry, before they have obj perm, they truly believe they are all alone. For me, having them feel like that for even 3 days is not acceptable.

 

My reply:

this book isn't some lopsided representation of what developmental psychology has discovered about child development. It's quite comprehensive, clearly written, and very thoroughly takes into account the *emotional states* of the child at each developmental stage. Do you honestly think such acclaimed researchers would suggest that children could be successfully sleep trained between 2.5 and 4 months if they really, truly believed that the vast majority of children this age will assume they're utterly alone, thus leading to feelings of abandonment?  Frankly, I'm working on completing my PhD studies in lit...and one thing we *don't* do is comment passionately on a view that comes from reading a certain book *without* having read the book in question. So I'm appalled that you would respond as you did without having read the book (which, I might add, is the ONLY book of it's kind on the market today to assist sleep training parents. They're they only one's who successfully tackle when to sleep train).

 

Which brings me to this. Sara, you said:

To be fair to me, I am not just "making assumptions." I am educated and trained in child development & developmental & educational psychology. I am a degreed and licensed Child Development & Educatioanl Professional --I have over 72 hours of univ classess in child development, guidance and developmental & educational psychology, I have over 300 hours of practica where I observed & studied children in all ages of development, and had to pass a State Board on HOW children develop in ALL domains from birth throuh age 8. (as to the quality of my education...I only missed 1 question on my state boards & graduated summa cum laude in the top 10% of the

 

etc....

 

My response:

This came off as snobby. I've read other replies you've written in various discussions, and this is the first time I think something you've written sounds snobby. It could just be a personality difference...but boy was it off-putting. Putting your credentials (which dramatically PALE in comparison to those of the researchers of this book who completed PhD training and years of research) out like this? [Like how you ranked, etc?  Definitely not something I would do, because I'd think it might sound snobby. But as I write this I recall that we all have different personalities :)] Your credentials, though, don't even compare. Which is why I would've expected someone who replied to this to *read the book in question* prior to posting a response. I would seriously be interested to see what you'd have said if you read the book.  Particularly since their stance is based on mounds and mounds of research in developmental psychology. Which is not the same as studying all this at the BS level and doing placements etc (not even CLOSE...no matter if you graduated summa cum laude). My response that you were making 'assumptions' is based on what I read in this book, which is at odds in some significant spots with what you've been suggesting to Sarah. I didn't mean to imply that you were 'guessing' your way through this, and I apologize for the inference.  I should have been more careful with my word choice.  Essentially, I'm suggesting that the researchers and authors have a far more nuanced take on Bed Timing (they actually stress Bed timing more than simply sleep training...but anyhow) than what you've suggested to Sarah.

 

Had you read the book, I'm pretty sure your response might've been a lot different.  [I say this quite honestly - I wouldn't have dared to do what you did so candidly, but that's because of my academic discipline, in which you comment directly by using the text...you don't generalize these things. I have no idea what's acceptable in your discipline]

 

Ah well :). I am in my discipline and you are in yours :).  My suspicion is that we may have to 'agree to disagree' on this.

 

Generally, what you wrote didn't make you seem inflexible. You do seem interested in the theories themselves, whether or not you read the book in question. [FYI, the three day training I implemented was from a different book than the book on Bed Timing...not sure whether or not you realized that from my first post to Sarah on this subject, but just in case, I wanted to make it clear. I basically used these two books, one for the practical 'how to sleep train' our daughter; the other to understand when might be best for us to sleep train her from the standpoint of developmental psychology.]

Marci--

First, you replied to Sarah then to Sara but everything you wrote I said...don't what her to take heat for what I said :-)

 

You said "in which you comment directly by using the text." 

     I am actually confused as to what you mean by that. I did agree, based on your quotes, that the authors were right about why sleep training at certain stages would be more effective based on my own knowledge of child devl'p.  But otherwise, I cannot figure out where I commented directly by using the text...

In my discipline, we do use quotes...

     "from a biological perspective, it is appropriate for babies to awaken during the night during   

     the first year of life. In fact, although infants can be conditioned to sleep long and hard alone,

     and without intervention and, hence, fulfill the cultural expectation that the should sleep  

     through the night, the fact remains that they were not designed to do so, and it may not be

     either in their best biological or psychological interest."   This is a quote by Dr. James McKenna Ph.D, Former Chair of Anthropology at University of Notre Dame and current Director of Mother-Baby Sleep Lab at the same. (http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/babysleep.html)

 

There is another book on the market that is based on child development & offers information on sleep it's called "The Science of Parenting."  But it comes to a different conclusion and instead of recommending sleep training it supports bedsharing.

 

You asked me "Do you honestly think such acclaimed researchers would suggest that children could be successfully sleep trained between 2.5 and 4 months if they really, truly believed that the vast majority of children this age will assume they're utterly alone, thus leading to feelings of abandonment?"

     My answer: Yes to the first part. Most CD prof agree on that point. The disagreements come in as to whether 1) its necessary/natural to expect a child to be trained to sleep 2) Exactly what the baby actually "feels"and what if any effects that may have on the developing child--does the child have negative assoc w/being/feeling alone.  There are experts and acclaimed professionals on both sides of the controversy. As far as having "feelings of abandonment" (as a long term psychological issue vs just feeling abandoned while its actully happening), this is also a subject of controversy and runs the extremes. Some hardcore ppl believe that, no matter how gentle, it does and has long term effects on devel'p. Others don't feel that it has any emotional effects on a baby and believe it teaches good sleep habits and ensures that baby (and family) get good sleep.  Still more don't feel that it has any effects on the baby, but feel that it is best to follow their babies lead rather then training them. There is credible research and studies and developmetal theories that could (and are) used to defend all those positions. I fall into the last category, but I strongly believe in the research behind bedsharing rather then sleep training. You fit into the middle category. I agree to agree to disagree :-)

 

(I want to add that many, many years ago it was acclaimed researchers and medical professionals that decided babies needed to be on a strict feeding schedule and that the CIO method was THE way to go...both things today's researchers and med prof are actually recommending against)

You are right I did sound snobby...I knew it sounded that way when I wrote it. But I was insulted. I was discussing my opinions/practices and threw in some developmental theories. Your responses specific to me offended me. Somehow, it became about me rather then the topic of sleep training v bedsharing, which was what my post was mainly about.

 

For example "And I would be inclined to take the word of two individuals who are active professors, researchers, etc in the field of developmental psychology. I think when it comes to sleep training, you don't want the 'coles notes' version of what might be going on: you want to know for sure what's happening so sleep training occurs at a more natural time for the child. Who wants sleep training to be traumatic?" 

     I found that a little off putting--not that you feel that way b/c i totally agree w/ your statement, they have WAY more credibility then I do, but you could have worded it more diplomatically. AND it is based on the assumption that your book & professionals are absolutely right and mine are not credible--b/c I could share books & studies w/you that would serve to support my take on sleep training instead of supporting theirs...

 

Then you said "you'll see that some of the assumptions Sara makes in her response about developmental psychology and how that applies to when its' best to sleep train are proven untrue by this book."  

     I never said that any age is best to sleep train...I  said when I felt children are most able to emotionally understand & deal w/the stress of being left alone to sleep based on Obj Perm--NOT the same thing (maybe I should've included some quotes b/c this is also based on "mound and mounds" of books/studies/research I have read by other, just as scientifically credible, ppl w/different theories about babies and sleep). No wrong assumptions about when it is best to sleep train b/c I argue against sleep training period. I think this is the reason this statement bothered me so much...it was inaccurate and condemned me for something I didn't actually do.

I felt like it was a personal attack rather then a discussion/disagreement about the topic. You could've disagreed w/my position w/out making it personally against me. 

I clearly stated that I don't know as much as the authors do--but I didn't argue their point--I agreed with their description of development and even agreed that their reasoning on why some stages were likely to be more effective then others (again based on quotes you provided) was right on...I simply disagree that sleep training should be done at all.  

 

I felt personally and professionally attacked and I responded like I did...

 

You said "My response that you were making 'assumptions' is based on what I read in this book, which is at odds in some significant spots with what you've been suggesting to Sarah. I didn't mean to imply that you were 'guessing' your way through this, and I apologize for the inference.  I should have been more careful with my word choice."

     Thank you...you must've read my mind b/c thats exactly how I felt and my response was written accordingly.  :-)

 

I DO apologize for sounding snobby. I really am not. I am a passionate advocate for bedsharing but a more passionate advocate for supporting each other in the decisions we make...as Moms we don't have to agree on all (or even most) things, but I don't feel that we should EVER place a value judgement on those decisions. My way is better. But only to me. Just as your way is better to you. I am opinionated but not judgemental...but it has taken lots of practice. :-) And you hit the nail on the head when you said your response was made based on this book...there are other books that say differently on the idea of sleep training. Thats why it's a controversial topic...

 

Having read what you wrote again you said "Which is why I would've expected someone who replied to this to *read the book in question* prior to posting a response."

     My original post about obj perm wasn't written as a response to the book or anything you said(honestly I didn't even read your posts until after you responded to my post, talking about & quoting what the book said, I had to go back through your posts to figure out what book you were talking about)--I had never read the book or even heard of it and I certainly wouldn't have responded to argue the accuracy or validity of a book I have never even heard of....I am thinking you may have thought my post/discussion about obj perm was a response to the book--which it wasn't...but if taken that way it would explain the tone of your response to me...my posts had nothing to do w/the book at all until your post containing the quotes and even then it was only a line or two... and I was arguing against sleep training in general...NOT the book or its methods or its portrayal of developmental stages and their effects on sleeping. In my original post, I told Sarah about MY practices and  beliefs of the effects of Obj Perm on sleeping. She asked me to tell her more about it which I did. It had absolutely nothing to do w/the book (and any similarities in concepts or descriptions is b/c we all learned the same theories from the same theorists.) It was simply my opinion and parenting practices I formed based on my knowledge of child devl'p.

 

Knowing you are a lit major actually makes me feel better...the tone & style (persuasive writing) makes more sense  knowing that you major in words. You fell into your writing zone and wrote a great response based on the available info...:-) Guess it was my bad luck to be the thing/person you were persuading against :-)

 

I am going to get the book though. You said you would be interested to hear what I would say if I had read it...so i will let you know...

 

 

What a mess :)

Sorry for the typo in my last post Sarah :)

Sara, you said:

I am actually confused as to what you mean by that. I did agree, based on your quotes, that the authors were right about why sleep training at certain stages would be more effective based on my own knowledge of child devl'p.  But otherwise, I cannot figure out where I commented directly by using the text...

 

My response:

I mentioned that I would’ve expected you to read the text in question. By saying this, I was referring to the post you wrote to Sarah after I responded to her explaining the differences between your belief in object permanence’s function with regards to what I most often call bed timing or sleep training versus what the authors of this text believe.  My issue was that you didn’t use the book I was referencing to comprehensively address your reply to her at that point, which is something I feel made for more cloudiness and far less nuance than the issue warrants, IMO.

 

I’m of the mind that I would shy away from teaching kids boundaries which relate to sleep, etc at a time the authors suggest is likely to be difficult for the child because of object permanence. To my mind, choosing a time to set sleep boundaries for you child that is likely to be more difficult for the child based on his or her developmental stage at that point is not at all the way to go. It’s clear you feel differently, but I don’t want to cause undue stress or even trauma for the child, which is what I’m concerned may come of the timing you’ve suggested to Sarah. So while you earmarked object permanence as something that might signal to parents a better time for setting sleep boundaries with their baby, I firmly disagree. As do the authors. Of course, there are always exceptions, however.

 

Sara, you included this quotation:

"from a biological perspective, it is appropriate for babies to awaken during the night during  the first year of life. In fact, although infants can be conditioned to sleep long and hard alone, and without intervention and, hence, fulfill the cultural expectation that the should sleep  through the night, the fact remains that they were not designed to do so, and it may not beeither in their best biological or psychological interest."  [ This is a quote by Dr. James McKenna Ph.D, Former Chair of Anthropology at University of Notre Dame and current Director of Mother-Baby Sleep Lab at the same. (http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/babysleep.html)]

 

My Response:

My understanding was that babies have sleep cycles and that, while they do wake at night/fall into lighter sleep patterns where they are prone to wake, may even open eyes, etc, essentially they learn to soothe themselves back to sleep. So I thought this whole ‘baby sleeping through the night’ was a misnomer anyhow. My daughter just kind of sticks her thumb in her mouth and gets on with her sleep.  I see how for some children this could be a way of “condition[ing them] to sleep long and hard alone,” but if the parent is keen to have sleep boundaries not be traumatic for the child, I think these things go on a case by case basis.  For instance, if my baby was crying and really distraught, I wouldn’t be interested in leaving him or her in the crib. Since Annalise was sleep trained/taught sleep boundaries/bed timed [:)], we’ve had about six nights where we put her in her crib, and she started crying. So I just picked her up out of the crib, held her close till she stopped crying, put her on the bed beside me, let her play for a couple minutes and relax, and then we both fell asleep :).  Every time it happened the same way. I don’t sleep as well with her in the bed, but for those six nights, that was what she needed. We would always try her in her crib first, and after this time period, she went to sleep just fine in her crib again. [So I never get people who worry that if baby sleeps in parents bed, he or she won’t go back to the crib...at least, we never had this problem].  I’m not wholly inflexible on where baby sleeps, but likely that is also because we are used to her crib being in our room and her being near us.

 

Sara, you said:

Somehow, it became about me rather then the topic of sleep training v bedsharing, which was what my post was mainly about

 

My Response:

Interesting. Because in my mind, it was never actually about you. When I mentioned the ‘coles notes version’ etc, what I was trying to get at was that the response you gave to Sarah lacked the specificity I’d noticed in the book. In my mind, having a BS in this area just isn’t the same level of expertise as having a PhD. But you might be happy to know that I’m consistent – in my life in general, I tend to get assistance from the person I feel has the very most expertise in a given area. So when I was pointing out to Sarah the difference between your response and the authors’, as well as the difference in credentials, I was essentially suggesting the same thing I believe: get the person who is likely to have the most expertise on board, and learn from them. This idea is surprisingly unoriginal :) - as a researcher, I am always asking ‘who can I contact who has the most expertise in this area?’. She is certainly entitled to her own ways of defining expertise, I’m not privy to how this process works for her. But that is what I was suggesting. It’s not that she can’t learn from what you’ve suggested; it’s not that you don’t have any expertise; it’s just that, if I were ranking levels of expertise in this particular area, I would lean towards following the perceptions of the authors because of their credentials. So it’s not that you aren’t credible, personally or professionally; it’s just that I perceive the authors to be *more* credible in this area. But I do apologize for not being more diplomatic – again, I should have watched my word choices. And if you felt that the post became about you, then I obviously didn’t chose my words well.

 

Sara, you said:

 No wrong assumptions about when it is best to sleep train b/c I argue against sleep training period. I think this is the reason this statement bothered me so much...it was inaccurate and condemned me for something I didn't actually do.

 

My Response:

I’m sorry for misrepresenting your suggestions to Sarah. The main issue for me was the role of object permanence in setting boundaries for the child, etc. I know you were talking out of your own experience and what you’d learned via psychology...the main reason a red flag went up for me was your positioning of object permanence in the boundaries-setting process for the child. I did acknowledge that you were likely doing what worked for your family and following the cues of your children, and refrained from commenting on that specifically. After you read the book, I’m interested to see more clearly how your theories and the theories of the authors might interact.

I would definitely be interested to hear what you think of the book and the approach of the authors, etc once you’ve read it – that would be great :)!

 "My issue was that you didn’t use the book I was referencing to comprehensively address your reply to her at that point, which is something I feel made for more cloudiness and far less nuance than the issue warrants, IMO."

     This doesn't really clear that up for me...you orginally said I shouldn't have "used the text to comment since I hadn't read it." Now you are saying, I should've used the text in my reply...So, which is it, I did but shouldn't have or I didn't but needed to? I didn't use your book b/c I wasn't really discussing your book as much as I was discussing my own beliefs about the role obj permanance plays in the emotional development of babies and how that can shape sleep. Having that discussion w/out reading the book was OK b/c I wasn't arguing spec about THAT book but about my beliefs about sleep training in general. Plus, as you pointed out, since I have never read it, using it in my response wasn't possible so not sure how/why you expected me to use that book in my post. I am guessing you were looking for me to pick out quotes and specifically respond to them based on my own quotes/beliefs--which is the format you were using--but I wasn't looking to be that formal...I will read it and then we can argue/discuss the book and its methods (and I will use the text) :-)

 

 "I’m of the mind that I would shy away from teaching kids boundaries which relate to sleep, etc at a time the authors suggest is likely to be difficult for the child because of object permanence."

    That makes sense if the only information you have on this subject is from 1 or 2 books that all support the idea of sleep training. And if you assume that the authors in question are RIGHT about ST being the superior way to address sleep in infants. But my argument is that what the authors suggest to do  (sleep train) is unnatural at any age and is NOT superior. Based on my "books" our theory is much different from the authors...we believe that when babies are able to understand you still exist even when they can't see you the may dislike not being near you more but it is less traumatic b/c they are more able to cognitively and emotionally understand that you will always be there and will respond to them anytime, as opposed to believing that you just vanished fr the world.  Supporters of my theory (and opponents of sleep training/solitary sleep in general) believe that a baby that feels all alone and believes you no longer exist is going to be more traumatized by THAT then by an older baby that knows you are there and wants you but is learning boundries in what they can and cannot have...(in sleep and other areas of their life so the expectation is consistent) that's why you go to them, sit in the room w/them, comfort them ---they know you are there--they HAVE you it's just not in the exact way they would like (sitting in room w/them as opposed to getting them out of bed which is what they want).

 

As for your response to my quote. Babies (actually humans at all ages) do have sleep cycles. Supporters of ST believe that it is important for babies to self soothe during these wakenings. Supporters of BS believe that these times a baby wakes up its important to have Mom there to provide for emotional and biological needs. Diff of opinon. It is believed that these wakenings are important to protect the baby from SIDS. Babies have an "out of sync" respiratory & circulatory system as well as an immature nervous system--these wakenings (very simply stated although the science behind it is very involved)  are thought to help the baby re-sync these things to avoid SIDS. In sleep lab studies, babies that BS spend less time in the deep sleep that is usually associated w/SIDS. Interestingly, there is an inverse relationship to the rate of SAFE bedsharing and incidence of SIDS, as the rates of BS decline the rates of SIDS goes up. The SIDS Global Task Force Child Care Study found that geographical and cultural regions (traditional societies as opposed to industrialized ones) where safe BS is the norm have the lowest SIDS rates. Opponents of ST/solitary sleep (like myself) consider this to be evidence that expecting a very young infant to sleep alone is unnatural and is a social construct rather than a biological or innate expectation. There is a vast collection of evolutionary and anthropolical evidence that supports this theory...

And while we fundamentally disagree on ST...our practices in general seem to be very similar. I think the big diff is the age at which we expect our babies to begin sleeping alone in their bed and...I do same thing you do...start out in their bed (just when they are older) and if they are truly upset & not going to sleep I bring them into my bed. I have also found that most of the time their bed is fine and its rare when I have to get them out b/c they are upset & not going to sleep (I find its usually when they had overstimulating day, are teething or are uwell/getting sick). I don't think either of us neatly fit into the AP OR CIO/ST "camps." I think we are both in the middle w/you leaning more towards the ST & I leaning towards BS.

 

I also use experts when making my choices--honestly research is a hobby of mine. And in this way I was VERY lucky since as I was forming my thoughts/beliefs about this topic I had access to my Univ entire research database--as well as many, many textbooks and peer reviewed articles I used in my classes about overall development in all domains. (I can better understand what the experts are talking about when it comes to developmetal stages b/c I have a BG in the field of CD, I also know when 1 theory that is being used to strengthen a position can be argued against based on other theorists' views.) Someone w/out a BG in CD may believe that it is black and white as far as stages and development go...but that is simply not true. Historical foundations and leading experts are made up of  many accepted theories, some which actually oppose other accepted theories...sometimes you just have to pick what you believe to be true in this field and those are the theories/theorists you consider to be "your" credible experts. I have read hundreds--literally--of studies about this topic from credible sources and experts in all fields assoc w/it--although I didn't reference any. Because, in addition to using experts, I also believe that you cannot make an informed decision based on only the view of one side of the research. I read about both sides of a topic (in this case what some experts say about ST/solitary sleep versus what others say about BS, all filtered through which developmental theories/theorists I believe to be "right" ) then make my decision based on which "set" of experts and theorists I tend to agree with.

 

This is no diff then the controversy surronding the Maternity Care system. 2 groups of experts (midwives & their position based on their research versus OBs, the ACOG & their positions based on their research) that fundamentally disagree on whats "right." My point is (on ANY controversial topic) which "expert" you believe to be "right" has less to do w/ their credentials (since we could find credible experts and leading acclaimed professionals that support each side) and more to do w/which set of experts you agree with/support.

 

As for my sugesstions to Sarah--I gave her my opinions &  the theories of the experts I find to be "right", just as you did...I clearly communicated that diff experts have diff opinions/beliefs on this topic and encouraged her to do her own research to find out what which set of experts SHE supports.  If the only experts you ever read about tout ST or BS as THE superior method of course you will agree w/them, you don't have enough info NOT to. However, if you read about the theories of experts on both sides of the argument you have all the info needed to make a decision. I also stated several times that parents should do what works for them.

 

I will go get the book and let you know what I think. Would you be interested in reading some info on the other side from credible experts that argue against ST and instead believe that BS is the superior way to handle infant sleep and let me know what you think? Like "The Science of Parenting" or the website I gave in my quote. There is a specific article that I would love for you to read fr that website: "Why babies should never sleep alone: A review of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS, bedsharing and breastfeeding" it is by Dr. McKenna and was pub in a peer reviewed journal, Paediatric Respiratory Reviews. It discusses the foundations of the ST perspective and the cultural & anthropolgical evidence supporting BS. It can be found at this link http://www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/articles.html  click on the arrows on the left side of the page to find the article. You may also want to read his CV so you know what kind of expert he is and what his credientials are. I encourage you to read other articles as well but spec that one.

The whole 'text referencing' thing is getting really hard to explain via electronic communication...so I'll leave it. I have a certain expectation, but you've explained why you didn't see the need to do so, so I'll let it rest. People will get cross-eyed reading our responses lol!  And at this point, it's not going to make or brake anything.

 

I'm game to read _The Science of Parenting_. And I'm also game to check out the websites and resources you've mentioned. I'm pretty happy to read these sorts of things, as research is also a hobby of mine :). I should be clear, though: I didn't base my sleep training method on just a couple sources. Have you ever read _Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices_? It's written by Sarah Buckley, MD. Anyhow, I 100% planned on Bed sharing since I found her material in this book on co-sleeping/bedsharing really persuasive. I looked up some of the sources she mentioned in the book, since I was keen on this. But our daughter just didn't seem to sleep best in bed with us (except in the rare crying episode), nor did we sleep well. Not what we planned at all, even though we were totally open to it. I don't know if this was because of her traumatic birth (I didn't get to see her till 6pm the day after she was born), or if it was just her own personality. It's like she was happy with it for a few weeks...then she just kind of stopped resting well in our bed. I don't know. Still very weird for me.Then - now that she was out of our bed, once she was past three months we started wondering if a sleep training deal could be done to get her to sleep a longer stretch. I was still pretty happy with late night feeds, but she stopped having them, likely due to the sleep training method we used.  To this day, I don't actually know for sure if we could have done something to make bed sharing better for her.

 

But I'm interested in reading the sources you mention since my husband and I do plan to have another baby. And I'm pretty open to different sleep arrangements for my second child. I guess we'll see :)


P.S. [I tried to edit this post with this comment, but for some reason it didn't show up] The book on Bed Timing doesn't purport to support either CIO or AP/Bedsharing etc. The authors make it very clear that their concern is *not* 'how' to set boundaries regarding sleep, but 'when' it may be best to do so.  The book is remarkably focused as a result, and can prove useful for people of completely different views on 'how' to go about this process.

On a lighter note: This is a hilarious blog about this topic--sleep training in own bed versus bedsharing. Our "discussion" made me think about it.

http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2010/07/02/cribs_v_beds_parenting...

Lol...this was funny :). Oddly enough, while I might seem like a CIO -er/part of the "Crib" gang, I'm not sure I perfectly fit the category. I generally prefer gentle parenting methods, and I'm not sure I would've done it if it seemed traumatic for my daughter specifically. And I'm not against the "Bed" gang, since I've put her in our bed sometimes. I don't sleep well with her in the bed nor does my husband...and generally, she doesn't sleep well in the bed either unless she's cries a bit before bed.  These seem to be the only nights she will actually sleep in our bed well. She slept in our bed for the first few weeks after birth, and then she seemed to prefer sleeping in her crib, but definitely hadn't been taught sleep boundaries yet. Bed sharing apparently helps breastfeeding moms quite a bit too, and I think UNICEF created a flier about safe bed sharing...as long as parents try to do it safely, I'm definitely not against it.

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