Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sleeping Babies: Who Knew It Was So Complicated?

Very interesting article by Perri Klass in the New York Times.

It asks the question every first year parent wants to know:

What makes a child nap? Most parents cherish toddlers’ naps as moments of respite and recharging, for parent and child alike; we are all familiar with the increased crankiness that comes when a nap is unduly delayed or evaded. But napping behavior has been somewhat taken for granted, even by sleep scientists, and napping problems have often been treated by pediatricians as parents’ “limit-setting” problems.

Now, researchers are learning that it is not so simple: napping in children actually is a complex behavior, a mix of individual biology, including neurologic and hormonal development, cultural expectations and family dynamics.

Hence, the popularity of books in the vein of Go the F**k to Sleep."

Treat:  link to GTFTS narrated by Samuel L. Jackson

While uncontrollable crying is cited as the principal trigger for inflicted injury, the real trigger is the caregiver's response.

A nap allows everyone involved a bit of respite.

To a sleep deprived parent, getting an infant to sleep may be as frustrating as crying. As the article notes,

But for parents and scientists alike, there are many unanswered questions: When is it too early to give up a nap? Too late to hold on to a nap? How do domestic patterns and cultural norms affect the circadian and homeostatic processes?

“I think there’s a dire need for adults in general to be in tune with individual children’s physiology,” Dr. LeBourgeois said. “What are the capabilities, and what are the limits?

For an interesting look at SBS/AHT, and the PURPLE program, seek out this work by Rebecca Sullivan at Cook's

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