Last week a Salon article addressed the controversial topic of sleep parenting. Ada Calhoun shared how she and her husband grappled with conflicting advice about what was best for their newborn.
“Cry it out” sleep training. Attachment parenting. Baby management. New parents can become overwhelmed by all of the advice offered by parenting books.
Now Calhoun is joining the debate with her own book. Instinctive Parenting advises parents to “find what works for you and your family and ditch the anxiety and judgment.”
But sleep parenting can vary widely across cultures. A recent study compared countries that are mostly Caucasian with those that are primarily Asian.
The study involved parents of 29,287 infants and toddlers. Seventeen countries were represented. Parents completed a questionnaire on the Internet.
Results published in March show that young children in Asian countries went to bed later and slept less. Bed sharing and room sharing also were more common in their homes.
Bedtimes ranged from 7:27 p.m. in New Zealand to 10:17 p.m. in Hong Kong. Total sleep time ranged from 11.6 hours in Japan to 13.3 hours in New Zealand.
In New Zealand only 5.8 percent of parents reported sharing a bed with their infant or toddler. In contrast bed sharing was reported by 83.2 percent of parents in Vietnam.
The initial results of the study were presented at SLEEP 2008. Another report based on the research will be published in April.
It shows that 57 percent of parents in Caucasian countries reported that their child falls asleep independently in his or her own crib or bed. This was reported by just four percent of parents in primarily Asian regions.
In 2006 the AASM published practice parameters for bedtime problems and night wakings in young children and infants. A task force of experts reviewed all of the current research on this topic.
The report recommends sleep training to help infants and toddlers learn to fall asleep on their own. You can read a summary of the report on SleepEducation.com.
Discuss any ongoing sleep problems with your child’s doctor. He or she may refer you to an AASM-accredited sleep center for help.
Read more about sleep and children.