The Great Baby Sleeping Debate
So how well does your baby sleep? Sleep is so important for healthy babies and their tired parents! There are a few lucky parents who wonder what all the fuss is about, whereas the rest of us tear our hair out trying to establish good sleeping patterns. As with everything baby, there are so many opposing views.
So, should you leave your baby to cry? Should you nurse him to sleep? Should you wait until she is already asleep before you put her in her crib? Should you co-sleep? Or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, are separate rooms better for establishing quality sleep habits?
Controlled crying or the gentle touch?
Would you let you baby cry it out? Some parents swear by this method. One of the famous proponents of this is Gina Ford in her book the Contented Little Baby Book.
Many people report that they had a very happy and very content baby, after just a couple of weeks using this method and that they slept through the night from as early as 6 weeks old.
Here’s a much more gentle method from Lavender and Macaroons
They give a really handy step by step guide to gently train your baby into good sleep patterns, which you can see at the end of this post.
The Ferber method falls somewhere in between the two previous methods, but nearer to the Gina Ford end.
Separate rooms or co-sleeping?
Mother’s Little Helpers is a big fan of putting your baby in their own crib in their own room. Here’s why. Hint, did you ever consider that you or your partner may be keeping your baby awake? Yes, it may be you disturbing his sleep rather than the other way around.
And in contrast, Yvette Mannes on Romper.com outlines 9 benefits of co-sleeping and the research that backs it up.
But we have to make you aware that much of the official advice is against co-sleeping. Although co sleeping with a baby is a common practice, the NHS says that the safest place for a baby to sleep for the first six months is in a cot in the same room as the parents. With co-sleeping, there is a higher risk of Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). There’s also a risk that the parent might roll over in their sleep and suffocate the baby, or that the baby could get caught between the wall and the bed, or roll out of an adult bed and be injured. In the US, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room-sharing without bed-sharing, but is not as expressly anti co-sleeping as the UK. Kelly Mom has a very thorough article on this.
Falling asleep whilst nursing
We mean the baby falling asleep not you! Although, inevitably you will often feel sleepy too. It’s probably not a great idea to let your baby consistently fall asleep when feeding, especially the evening feed before bedtime. Try to make sure he gets his fill of milk before falling asleep. If you think he’s dozing off, play lively music, talk or sing to him, or even change his nappy. If you allow him to sleep before he’s had enough milk, then you may be storing up trouble for later, as he may wake up in an hour or so because he’s still hungry.
Rebekah Lowin in Today.com advises that the earlier you put your baby to bed, the longer she’s likely to sleep. So don’t delay bedtime because you think she won’t sleep. She probably will. And you’ll welcome having a bit of an evening to yourself or with your partner.
Our best advice is to try what speaks to you as a parent. If it appeals, then it’s really worth giving it a go. Just take what works for you. Some people don’t like routine and structure, some people would never leave a baby to cry. Every baby and every Mum is different, so on this matter I’m afraid we have no definitive solution. What we would say however, is pick your method and be consistent. Babies and children thrive on consistency and love, LOTS of love.