Editor’s note: In observance of Get Better Sleep Month this May, Attachment Parenting International brings you a 4-part series on normal, healthy infant sleep. Here is part 3:
Adult structure helps by recognizing and providing the time, space, and conditions for an infant to sleep and rest, but doing any more would be akin to trying to force teeth to appear in different places in the mouth at different times.
Cross-cultural studies of sleep have demonstrated time and again what we already know about biologically normative infant and child sleep patterns. Why do we continue to ignore it? Cosleeping and breastfeeding have been species-biological norms from time immemorial.
Light bulbs, alarm clocks, factories, and offices are new cultural inventions that require a whole new sleep-industrial complex to maintain. Taking it all into consideration, there is no question of adaptation. Listening to our babies causes us to take pause and ask ourselves: At what cost to our health and well-being do we continue to believe that our sleep is adaptive, and at what cost to our child’s health and well-being are we forcing them to do the same? What growth do they forgo?
Attachment parenting resists a one-sleep-fits-all solution and instead offers a multitude of potential sleep solutions that can accommodate working parents and infant development. All-inclusive sleep solutions with an infant will necessarily change and will necessarily be unconsolidated if we remain responsive to our babies in a healthy way.