top of page

Cancelling "Sleep Training"

Updated: Mar 21

When it comes to baby sleep and tired mothers... we need solutions that support both mum & baby… instead of opting to sacrifice the mental health of one or the other.

Until we take sleep training off the table as a "solution" (and have widespread acknowledgment that this approach is failing and sacrificing babies)…

people won’t understand how important it is to support mothers in having a responsive approach to their babies..

For any change we need to first start with “why”,

“why” would we stop recommending sleep training as the solution for stressed Mums?

Because it’s damaging our most vulnerable humans in the process… it’s not a good solution… it’s a short term “fix” with poor long term ramifications for our future mental health. It’s an approach that is sacrificing our most vulnerable.

Our approach ought to be supporting and educating mothers more to have a responsive approach to their babies…. Not encouraging mothers to extinguish a baby’s cry for help.

My point is, sleep training needs to be taken off the table as an option, and infant mental health needs to be a top priority… and once there’s a cultural acceptance of this, there’s more likely to be cultural support for responsive parenting which will allow the mother to be less stressed also.

Once more people care and recognise the system is failing babies by continually having frontline health workers recommend sleep training to new, tired, confused, overwhelmed mothers… instead of the system putting more support in place so the mother is able to responsively parent…

once enough people realise this isn’t good enough, then the government will hopefully have to step up and provide more resources for a matter (support for maternal and infant mental health) that many people care about.

It might take enough people caring at the grass root level for policy makers to care…

or it might take enough science & research for policy makers to care and to create guidelines/policies that reach down to the grass root level.

I’m not exactly sure at this point what’s going to create the widespread cultural change needed… but I plan to keep trying at both levels to get the outcome of no more babies being left alone with their needs unmet.

We need to reverse the impact of non-compassionate medical men like Holt, Spock and Ferber (Dr Emmett Holt, Dr Benjamin Spock and Dr Richard Ferber)... who managed to create widespread acceptance of sleep training in a species where responsiveness to a baby's cries and co-sleeping are the evolutionary norm.

Instead we need to embrace the work of people like Dr Elaine Barry, Dr Melissa Bartick, Dr James McKenna, Dr Howard Chilton, Sarah Ockwell-Smith, Dr Tracy Cassels and more, whose research supports a responsive, evolutionary approach.

Plus, let's not forget the thousands of years of evolution that preceded the behaviourist and solitary approaches to baby sleep that are devoid of empathy and have only been introduced in the past 100yrs.

Training a baby to not cry for help at sleep time is a very recent trend in the scheme of evolution and was introduced with no evidence that it was not harmful.