Have you ever wondered why your child does something, even when you’ve told them not to and explained why they shouldn’t do it? Perhaps your three year old insisted on touching the oven door, even though you told him not to because it was very hot. Being told something and doing it yourself are two very different things. It is only when the child touches the oven door and experiences the heat that he truly understands and learns.
Is it possible to work with a baby’s sleep gently? Absolutely, because in every case it is not the baby that needs changing or fixing, it is usually something the parent is, or isn’t doing. That said, it is only possible to change sleep gently to a biologically appropriate level. The fact remains that babies don’t sleep through the night, while that may be a problem for parents in our busy world, the reality is there is normally nothing wrong with the baby.
This talk of ‘sleeping through the night’ must end, it is factually inaccurate. This myth and misinformation pathologises normal infant sleep and turns it into something problematic that needs fixing. The fact is, the baby achieves nothing from being taught to be quiet while they transition between sleep cycles, the benefit here is solely for the parents.
So what do we know about the effect and efficacy of cry based sleep training based on current scientific evidence? The answer is ‘not a lot’.
Welcome to the first of my special guest interviews on why gentle parenting matters to parents around the world. For this special first interview I chat with multi gold winning Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey about breastfeeding, bedsharing, tackling tantrums and postnatal bodies.
The mainstay of almost all baby sleep training is the idea of teaching ‘self soothing’ or ‘self settling’. This approach believes that if babies are put down ‘drowsy but awake’ and parents do not rush in to feed or rock when they wake, that the baby will learn to settle back to sleep without parental input.
One of the questions I’m most commonly asked is “when do children grow out of the need to sleep with somebody?”, or in other words – when do children naturally outgrow bedsharing?
All toddlers tantrum. Granted some more so than others, however tantrums and toddlers go hand in hand, you don’t get one without the other. The thing is, they’re not being naughty, manipulative, bad or disruptive (purposefully anyway), they’re just being toddlers. Actually they would probably rather they didn’t tantrum so much too.
Let’s get this out there right now. Gentle parenting isn’t permissive parenting. For those who are new to gentle parenting, perhaps practitioners of more mainstream methods, the most common criticism is relating to supposed permissiveness. They are wrong. Boundaries, limits and discipline play a crucial role in gentle parenting. If you do not discipline your child how can you be truly respectful of them?
Throughout human civilisation, mothers have been at the core of the family and indeed society itself. The family matriarch demanded respect. Hers was a position of authority and huge value.
The last one hundred and fifty years have consistently eroded the position of ‘mother’.