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A better understanding of dr richard ferbers views regarding co sleeping with children

Sleeping with the Baby

The author and his wife defied the experts. As a co-sleeper, I wondered, on reading her remarks in the newspaper, after another night in the sack with the boy, what does sleep have to do with consuming product? Sleep is one of the secret channels by which parents communicate with their kids—under the radar, one hopes, of commercial influence and government control. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is the federal agency built at the intersection of those interests. As a father, I was ambivalent about the announcement.

Ten months ago—at the other end of the long, dark tunnel of sleeplessness that is new parenthood—I was firmly against co-sleeping. Since we had prepared a bedroom for him, and filled it with C.

The bottom line was that my wife favored co-sleeping. Grudgingly at first, I adapted to the family bed, and as I did my views about co-sleeping evolved. And sleep is, of all the issues new parents face, the most complex.

A study conducted in the Boston area by Sara Harkness, Charles Super, and Constance Keefer found that more parents seek advice on how to get their children to sleep than on any other health or behavioral subject. The science on which the C. Suad Nakamura, which identified five hundred and fifteen U.

The study made no attempt to measure the relative statistical significance of these five hundred and fifteen infant deaths—an average of sixty-four a year—out of 3. Most SIDS babies die while sleeping by themselves, in their cribs. A series of studies performed by James J. It could just be a blink, but now the second eyelid is sliding down, definitely heavier than a blink would be. The muscles around the chin relax, and the head settles sideways. Teaching the noble savage what adults mean by sleep is the first great challenge all parents face.

Sleeping with the Baby

Sleep is the beginning of culture—our first attempt to pass our habits along to our children. Sleep is also the beginning of moral judgments, both about the baby Is he a good sleeper or a bad sleeper? His sleep, or lack thereof, is a comment on our ability to provide contentment and peace; it seems articulate in a way that his cries and grumbles and cooing do not, perhaps because sleep is one of the few states that we have in common at this point.

My wife comes in from the bedroom, literally staggering with sleep deprivation.

Dr. Ferber Revisits His 'Crying Baby' Theory

Piled around us on the sofa where we sit with the baby are the parenting books from which my argument against co-sleeping is derived: But we are more inclined to trust books than family members. Grandmother is cherished for her love and her willingness to hold the crying baby, but her methods are suspect, because they are based on tradition and not on information. Sounds sensible to me, but my wife was deeply suspicious of the male-dominated rule-makers of child rearing.

William Sears, a San Clemente pediatrician. Sears, a Christian who supports the kind of sleeping arrangements most Christian writers on child care oppose, is an intriguing character; together with his wife, Martha Sears, a La Leche League leader, he raised eight kids in a king-size bed. And, as the co-sleeping advocates point out, sleeping alone may mean merely switching dependence from the parents to objects in the crib—pacifiers, blankies, Teddy bears, and Teletubbies.

Is there any actual scientific evidence that where the baby sleeps matters to his future? A study conducted at the University of Michigan showed that kids who sleep alone wake up fewer times during the night than kids who sleep with their parents.

Other studies have suggested that mothers and babies who sleep together eventually develop similar sleep cycles, which is why they tend to wake each other up: I slept with my parents until I was at least five. This is a revelation: I married a co-sleeper. I do not come from co-sleepers. I was put in my crib and left to cry it out, more or less. It was comforting, like listening to punk rock sixteen years later. Most pediatricians I spoke to reported seeing more co-sleeping now than at any other time in recent memory; some saw this as part of the same trend that has led to longer time in diapers and longer use of the pacifier.

Also, many mothers work all day, and nighttime is the only extended time that they have with their children. Single mothers are more likely to sleep with their kids than married mothers are, he told me, and he also knows of some mothers who sleep with their kids when their husbands are away on business, without telling the husband.

But you have to be careful: It seems that the issue of where the children sleep is also about class. Interestingly, there is less of a stigma against the practice among African-Americans; in one study, only seventeen per cent of white Americans admitted to co-sleeping, while fifty-seven per cent of African-Americans said that they did it. Yet the practice of co-sleeping invites a distinction in the primal taboo.

And it is funny. Thank you for reminding us. But then, at a certain point, you definitely want to knock it off, right? At what point is that? The bedroom has been made the site of two not always compatible functions: So we slept with the baby. It starts with the decision to breast-feed. Co-sleeping is like the fine print at the bottom of the breast-feeding contract. The baby falls asleep at the breast around seven-thirty, and you put him down in his crib.

Maybe he wakes up again at eleven-thirty, and you repeat the process. Then he wakes up at 2 A. Some really committed parents continue to get up at this point, and nurse the baby sitting up in a rocker in his room, but if the parents are at all ambivalent the mother gets the baby and brings him into bed, where she can at least lie down and doze while he eats.

After four months of co-sleeping, the situation began to deteriorate. His polyphasic habits did not seem to be shifting toward our monophasic sleep. Instead, the opposite seemed to be happening: Then his four-hour sleep phases shortened to two hours.

  • He might settle at around six months and start sleeping better;
  • Co-sleeping is like the fine print at the bottom of the breast-feeding contract.

Instead of sleeping in his crib until 2 A. My wife and I, however, were beginning to exhibit symptoms of sleep deprivation: There was a sense of growing distance between ourselves and the world. Did I go out this morning to get the Times, or was that yesterday morning? Never seen that forecast before. I try to focus on the big red-lettered digital clock: He almost invariably wakes up within ten or fifteen minutes of the hour he was born 3: My wife fetches him and brings him back to the bed.

I lie there wide awake, Father Time, while Mother Nature and her baby go at it next to me, eating and giving life, in a deep rhythmic bond. My main job is to avoid rolling over on my son.

Sleeping with the Baby

Sleeping with babies is not like sleeping with adults. Babies have a different agenda when they sleep, and they behave differently in bed as a result.

Infants are in REM sleep—the so-called rapid-eye-movement phase of sleep, which is associated with dreaming—twice as much as adults are. Thirty-week-old human fetuses are in REM sleep virtually all the time, newborns about half their sleep time. Building on experiments performed on baby rabbits and cats, which show that newborns prevented from REM sleep develop behavioral difficulties as adults, sleep experts believe that REM sleep in infants plays an important role in the structural development of the brain.

As the psychiatrist J. Adults in REM sleep are paralyzed, presumably to prevent them from acting out their dreams. They twitch, squirm, bicycle, grumble, smile, head-butt, thrash, and make weird half-laughs: Indeed, the brain waves of an infant in REM sleep hardly differ from his waking alpha waves.

It is during delta sleep that the neurotransmitters which are important to making sleep feel refreshing, such as acetylcholine and serotonin, are released. And you know what that means: The Exxon Valdez spill, Chernobyl, and the Bhopal disaster all happened at the hands of sleep-deprived workers. Auto fatalities are more likely to be caused by the sleepy than by the drunk, but because there is no stigma attached to sleep deprivation—indeed, it is often considered a sign of virtuous hard work—few blame the sleepless drivers.

In one recent poll, cited by William C. But the ethos of sleep deprivation may be changing. One could take heart from a recent story in theWall Street Journal which reported that the founder of Amazon.

Sleeping with the Baby

Montaigne records that the ancient Romans killed King Perseus of Macedonia by keeping him awake, but in modern times no human is known to have died from lack of sleep. InPeter Tripp, a popular d. He experienced delusions and paranoia, and, at the end, when a doctor in a dark suit was examining him, Tripp thought the man was an undertaker preparing to bury him alive and fled the room screaming. InRandy Gardner, a seventeen-year-old high-school student in San Diego, stayed awake for two hundred and sixty-four hours, and, according to Dr.

Dement, who played pinball games with Gardner toward the end of his vigil, showed no hallucinatory behavior or adverse effects, other than being really, really tired and he won all the games.

Both Tripp and Gardner recovered from their ordeal with one long sleep. Animals, however, have died from lack of sleep. But the most famous of all sleep-deprivation experiments on animals was performed by Dr. Allan Rechtschaffen, a now famous sleep researcher in Chicago.

Sleeping with the Baby

He placed two rats, both wired to an electroencephalograph, on a revolving circular platform, separated by a barrier.

As soon as the EEG showed that the designated sleep-deprived rat was falling asleep, the platform would begin to tilt, and the rat would be plunged into cold water, or, in other experiments, smacked against a wall.