Ranking just below the breastfeed/formula-feed debate brews the Cry-It-Out (CIO) wars. CIO seems to be a rather modern issue. I suppose since most of the world’s cultures shared beds or rooms and breastfed on demand, CIO wasn’t considered. I have heard about those babies who sleep through the night from infancy. The reality, however, is that most babies (and in fact, most children) quite simply do not. Your baby does not need to be “sleep-trained.” Your baby already sleeps–it is a basic human need. Sleep training is about forcing a habit onto a developing baby who knows better than anyone else when to sleep. Beware the sleep trainers!
Note: I speak with sympathy–Norah does not sleep through the night and resists anything that resembles a routine.
A Quiet Place by Peggy O’Mara: I love this article. It is a great mix of biology, humor, and nurture.
No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley: The title is a book and it saved my sanity by helping me relax into nighttime parenting. The link is to a few articles available immediately.
Dr. Sears: Good ole Dr. Sears has an entire section of his site dedicated to sleep. He includes information on nightweaning, co-sleeping, and 31 ways to help your baby sleep.
Notre-Dame’s Mother/Baby Sleep Lab: Dr. McKenna shares research about infant sleep behavior and includes excellent studies on co-sleeping.
Julie’s Two Cents: (Yawn). I finally came to the realization that it was ok to nurse Norah to sleep. It was ok to co-sleep. She will not (I hope) be on Dr. Phil one day because we ruined her forever. We did not plan to co-sleep. It never crossed our minds. However, the first time we slept as a family–a couple of hours after birth–our midwife placed Norah between us in a comfy queen size bed. We prayed over her and then fell into peaceful slumber together. We never looked back. By the way, I am typing with Norah asleep on my shoulder.
Even if you don’t plan on co-sleeping, read up on co-sleeping safety. At some point during the journey, your baby will be in the bed with you. Consider a co-sleeper or bassinet that can be close to the bed. A friend gave us a little box-like thing that you can place in the middle of the bed when baby is small. You could make something similar by using two rolled up towels. Other couples simply store away their bed frame and rest their mattress on the floor as their baby becomes mobile. Others push the bed against the wall or use a toddler rail. What will your family bed look like?