The best way to teach the baby to sleep through the night is to practice co-sleeping. The issue is not without controversy, there are both people in favor and against this method, but the truth is that more and more families practice co-sleeping with their children.
In our Spanish-speaking countries, there are parents who prefer to sleep with their babies, while for others it is a taboo. In countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, China and Japan, co-sleeping is common.
But thanks to the methods used to teach the baby to sleep alone, the parents are now worried about teaching their children to sleep, as if sleeping was not a natural process of every human being.
Is it possible to teach the baby to sleep?
To teach the baby to sleep, you have the Ferber and Estivill methods. These methods fulfill the initial promise, teaching the little ones to sleep alone, without the closeness of the mother, which is what the baby naturally seeks .
The proposals of these methodologies aim to teach the baby to sleep alone, in a room different from that of the mother, silent, in an environment that does not resemble the narrow and noisy space in which she slept while she was in the womb.
Many pediatricians tell new parents, especially first-timers, that they must teach the baby to sleep with methods such as those named. They expose the baby to stressful nights, when co-sleeping could be the most respectful option with the sleep cycles and the needs of the baby.
The methods to teach sleep cause stress in the baby. He cries to be near the mother, but she refuses to hold him in his arms. The baby continues to cry and finally falls asleep due to fatigue.
Why is co-sleeping more natural?
The baby spent a good part of the 40 weeks of gestation, sleeping in the womb . The baby knows how to sleep, there is not much more to teach him. He learned to sleep in a noisy and moving environment.
The mother walked, exercised, climbed or climbed stairs or was in a car, and the baby was sleeping. The baby listened to his mother’s voice speaking or the sounds of blood circulation, digestion or breathing, and fell asleep.
At birth, the baby needs to hear his mother’s heart, smell the smell of his skin and cry if he is not in contact with her. Although co-sleeping may be the best option to ensure the baby’s peace of mind, many mothers choose to leave it in a separate room.
The babies of mammals always sleep next to their mother. However, the human species, the most rational, is the only one that separates its offspring before it is ready to become independent. Strange paradox, do not you think?
But does co-sleeping put the baby at risk?
There are many myths about co-sleeping and letting the baby cry so that he learns to fall asleep. It is said that if parents run every time the baby cries, they will be “spoiled”; that the baby can die “crushed” by their parents while they sleep together.
In countries such as Japan or China, babies sleep with their parents approximately until they are 5 or 6 years old. These parents do not think they should teach the baby to sleep or that they will leave him alone in a room other than theirs. In the United Kingdom or Sweden, western countries, co-sleeping is also practiced.
In fact, in these countries deaths due to sudden death syndrome, where infants die suddenly, are very rare. These episodes are very common in those children who sleep apart from their parents.
What do the specialists say?
Margot Sunderland says in her book “The Science of Parenting ” that co-sleeping favors children and helps them become healthy and peaceful adults. This child psychologist is part of the governing body of the Children’s Mental Health Center in London and has published more than 20 books.
Training the baby to sleep alone from the first weeks of birth triggers the stress hormones , Sunderland says. Co-sleeping up to 5 years old is the best option for this specialist. This is justified because until this age children experience separation anxiety, even to older ages.
Likewise, Nils Bergman, pediatrician and neonatologist, creator of the Kangaroo method for the care of premature babies, agrees with the British. His thesis is that the baby needs to be skin to skin with his mother.
When separated from the mother, it triggers a state of anguish and despair, the hormones released by this action are harmful to the brain of the baby. For Bergman, co-sleeping should be practiced at least until the first 3 years of life.
What are the advantages of co-sleeping?
- Babies feel more secure and protected. When the child cries in the middle of the night his mother is at his side to give him the comfort he needs and help him to reconcile the dream again.
- Mom and baby rest better. The baby wakes up several times in the night, if he sleeps in the same room, the awakenings are milder, if he sleeps in the same bed or in a co-sleeping bed, just by feeling close he will fall asleep again.
- There is no risk of being crushed by parents. On the contrary, parents are more attentive to any need of the baby .
- If you need to be breastfed, you can be quickly taken care of since you will not have to stop and go to the room where you are.
- The night cries almost disappear. Stress levels are lower; the general well-being of the baby is much greater; With less nighttime crying, everyone in the home sleeps better.
- If you are a working mother, when you get home after several hours away from your baby, he claims your closeness. If you breastfeed, you will see it attached to your chest. The co-sleeping allows them to recover the time they were not together and to strengthen their emotional bonds.
Sleeping as a family is a beautiful experience, it is worth giving you the opportunity to experience it. Evaluate it before subjecting your child to the stress of teaching him to sleep in a different room.
You can trust that all the instincts of protection to the baby will be alert while they sleep together. It does not apply in cases where parents are addicted to alcohol or drugs, as they may lose consciousness and harm the child.
If you practice co-sleeping, you will be available to provide the security and love that the baby needs, in this way he can grow up healthy and happy. In addition, it is the best alternative for your brain to develop its full potential.