Babies and Sleep

David Trammel's picture

Are Western traditions of putting young children into their own bedrooms to sleep for the night, really the best thing for parents and children?

"Is the Western way of raising kids weird?"

"From sleeping in separate beds to their children to transporting them in prams, Western parents have some unusual ideas about how to raise them.

"Is he in his own room yet?" is a question new parents often field once they emerge from the haze of life with a newborn. But sleeping apart from our babies is a relatively recent development – and not one that extends around the globe. In other cultures sharing a room, and sometimes a bed, with your baby is the norm.

This isn’t the only aspect of new parenthood that Westerners do differently. From napping on a schedule and sleep training to pushing our children around in strollers, what we might think of as standard parenting practices are often anything but."

I suspect that far more breastfeeding mothers in the US sleep with their babies than admit it to the pediatrician.

If I'm typical, a new nursing mother quickly discovers that having baby next to you is the only way to get any sleep (assuming you're not dealing with colic).

Did I admit it to the pediatrician? No, because I knew how I'd be condemned for risking my baby's life despite knowing that mothers since the dawn of time slept with their babies and the babies lived.

My garden buddy did the same thing with her two children for the same reasons. I don't know if she told the pediatrician or not. Both of her boys turned out just fine.