If you’re not happy with your baby’s sleep habits, you need only look in a mirror to find the reason. A new study concludes that, when it comes to whether a baby’s with bad sleep habits, it’s (all together now!) the mother’s fault.
In fact, frequent night wakings was all your fault way back when, back when you were still pregnant, maybe even before the child was conceived.
The Wall Street Journal summarized research, published in the latest issue of Child Development, which finds that mothers-to-be who think a baby crying at night is a sign he is suffering distress and, therefore, needs to be comforted will raise babies who wake more at night. But mothers who believe parents should draw boundaries and not get involved in night crying jags will have babies who sleep better.
To determine the links between parents attitudes and baby’s sleep, researchers attached ankle monitors to the babies and also asked the parents to keep sleep journals.
The parents who went in and soothed their kids — or nursed them or brought them to bed — had children who woke more during the night. (The parents on this team are known as self-aggrandizing weaklings with a martyr complex.)
The parents who let them cry it out, however, had babies who woke up less. (These parents are known by the other camp as selfish and cold-hearted jerks who shouldn’t have had kids if they didn’t want to take care of them.)
I’ve been everything from a co-sleeping comforter to a Weissbluth devotee. A baby’s cry always means distress to me, but a cranky mom on no sleep wound up being psychologically worse for my older kids than a series of (eventually forgotten, right?) nights where we just let the baby cry. Which makes me wonder, was this study done only on first-time moms? Because in my experience, the more kids you have the less rigid your attitudes are in pregnancy — and, really, life.
Were you a wimpy soother or a cold-hearted CIO-er? Did you think you would be when you were pregnant or are you surprised how soft/hardcore you were? Or are you one of these moms who gets high from your kid’s cry?