Editor’s note: In observance of Get Better Sleep Month this May, Attachment Parenting International (API) brings you a 4-part series on normal, healthy infant sleep. Here is part 4:
Often in our culture, it is true that parents find themselves in the very difficult place of making sleep-deprived family sleep choices without support. It is also true that in defending their choices that run counter to what is culturally prevalent, parents respond and react more defensively.
But if we follow evidence-based normal human development, early independence is a fallacy. We find instead that parents and infants are designed to be in close contact, breastfeeding and sleeping in intervals that begin at 2 hours and then slowly stretch out over time. If this were somehow maladaptive or unhealthy, we simply would not be here to tell the tale.
This fact leads us to grapple with our culture, our beliefs about it, and the parenting choices we make. Looking again cross-culturally, we can still find cultures that honor biological sleep needs and, perhaps as a result, have less need for infant sleep-training. I wonder if the sleep medication rates differ there, as well? Either way, a good night’s sleep need not be cookie-cutter to be beneficial.
API’s Response to 2016 AAP Statement on Infant Sleep: Infants and parents benefit from breastfeeding and sleeping near one another, reducing SIDS risk by 50%