LLately, I understand, there has been a frisson of activity on a parenting page regarding a blog I wrote in 2014. In the blog about preventing sleep problems in six month olds I quoted from my book “Your Cherished Baby’ and suggested:
Ideally, he should be put down drowsy but awake. If possible there should be minimal fussing after tucking in. Unless it is your choice and the baby’s habit, once down, avoid rocking, cuddling or patting to sleep. And if it is, you have a choice to gradually (step by step, night by night) wean the baby off such input or continue it.
1st wave behaviourism (remove the stimulus and the behaviour will change) has been a technique that has been used with babies for eons. We know that by withdrawing a caring response babies have an innate ability to silence themselves to avoid predators. However we know this ‘extinction’ of the protest cry is unhelpful in the long term as it programmes the baby to believe that her parents are unreliable and life is not necessarily safe. I have laid out this information clearly in my books and blogs.
But what about the ‘gentle persuasion’ methods, as in the quote above?
“When information changes, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”.
What has changed for me is the realisation that exerting any pressure on the baby to sleep longer often makes the situation worse, even in the short term. Babies find it hard to reconcile the fact that during the day the