Time Magazine online published an article today on "How Not to Get Babies to Sleep." My husband lovingly emailed me the link to the article this morning. This article is particularly poignant to me right now since I haven't slept much lately. My son is ten months old today and he has slept through the night only once in ten months.

According to the article, "Every new parent knows how difficult it can be to get a fussy baby to sleep, but new research suggests that a parent's best efforts may only be exacerbating the problem — and that inadequate sleep in childhood can have long-lasting health effects. "It is very hard to let your child cry it out when they are toddlers," says Dr. Elsie Taveras of Harvard Medical School, referring to parents' tendency to pick up their children or bring them into the family bed to help them sleep. "But if you approach it differently — 'I am not even going to start my child making these sleep associations' — it's much easier to prevent [future problems]."

It is wonderful to know that in addition to the fact I am struggling with making my son sleep in his own bed, through the entire night, I now need to worry about the long-lasting health effects of his poor sleep habits. Before my son was born I swore I would encourage good sleep habits and that he would be sleeping through the night in no time. I read Baby Wise and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby. In line with the thinking in those books I have tried to be consistent with a bedtime, nap times, and feeding times. I have tried a bedtime routine of bath time, reading, and feeding. I have let him cry himself to sleep since he was three months old.

The problem seems to be when he wakes up at 1, 2, 3 or 4 in the morning and I am totally exhausted. My first inclination is to feed him. Although at this age I don't think he is really hungry in the middle of the night. Sometimes I let him sleep with me in an effort to get some sleep myself. I feel like I am doing everything wrong when it comes to getting him to sleep through the night. At this point in time I think I am almost encouraging the night time waking because I am SO attentive to his needs.

Kari Ann Hong, DDS
1000 Newbury Road, Suite 190
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320