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Fecha captura: URL Original: Recopilado por: Título: Asunto: 19/05/2005 Fecha artículo: 14/04/2005 Mizin P. Kawasaki, MD Autor artículo: Understanding Co-sleeping Co-sleeping is a family arrangement that enables children to sleep with their parents

El contenido de este artículo esta recogido a través de canales públicos vía Internet de acceso general. La publicación en este documento es meramente de difusión pública debido a su interés en opinión del recopilador y debe ser acogida como tal. Gracias.

What is co-sleeping? Co-sleeping is a family arrangement that enables children to sleep with their parents. The term "family bed" has been coined by others and Tine Thevenin has written a popular book about this subject. Co-sleeping is a very natural part of daily life for many families throughout the world. It is a cooperative effort that encourages family well-being. This article will attempt to dispel some myths about co-sleeping.

Myths about co-sleeping Myth #1: It is perverse for parents and children to co-sleep in the same bed.
The parental bed is stigmatized as a den of sin and desire, even though most parents, particularly parents of a newborn, use the bed primarily for sleeping. The majority of healthy adults, which includes parents, sleep in bed so that they may feel rejuvenated upon awakening in the morning. Sexual activity in the parental bed is a real and healthy occurrence, but sleeping is the predominant activity in bed. Co-sleeping enables parents and children to sleep together in the same bed and there is nothing perverse about this in healthy families. In reality, perversity is perpetrated by those persons who never received the nurturing stimulation of loving and caring interaction that an activity like co-sleeping offers. The developmental neuropsychologist and cross-cultural psychologist, Dr. James W. Prescott, has researched criminal behavior for over two decades and he has challenged the law enforcement community to present him one hardened criminal who was breastfed for over two years. Dr. Prescott is convinced that there is no hardened criminal who would meet that qualification. The reason is that the individual who has been loved unconditionally and nurtured will develop into a humane being, not a callous and inhumane criminal or a pervert. Humane nurturing includes the healthy human interactions of skinto-skin contact achieved through breastfeeding, carrying, and co-sleeping. The majority of parents who wish to co-sleep with their children are healthy humane beings. They love and respect their children not only as their charges, but as fellow human beings. They recognize the inability of their youngsters to fend for themselves and they do their best to respond wisely to their youngsters’ needs. Responding to a child’s need to co-sleep with her parents is not perverse at all; it is perverse to ignore a child’s needs.
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Myth #2: A child needs to sleep alone through the night.
One must consider that a child who is lovingly cared for throughout the day would need to be as close to the same caretaker, her mother, during the night. If so, how can a young child be excluded from the parental bed? If parents were co-sleeping in the same bed before the arrival of their firstborn child, is there any reason that the baby should not join them in the same bed? Even if a baby seems to prefer sleeping alone, it is highly questionable whether she should sleep alone. The fact is that human babies need human contact around the clock, be it day or night. Human infants are born in a highly immature and dependent state because they are only "half-done." As Ashley Montagu has written, the human infant is remarkably immature because her gestation in the womb encompassed only the first half of her true gestation. The brain of the human fetus grows so rapidly and to such a large size in the womb that the baby must emerge after nine months of gestation. Otherwise, neither the baby nor the mother could survive childbirth. After birth, the baby’s brain volume more than doubles in the first year alone, indicative of the enormous amount of learning and maturation that occurs during that period. At around the age of nine to ten months, the baby will begin to move about on her own by crawling, a milestone that marks the end of the gestation outside the womb. In other words, from the time of birth until the infant crawls about on her own, she completes the growth and development that should but cannot occur in the womb. Ashley Montagu has written that, after birth, the baby needs "a womb with a view." This external womb is provided by a loving and caring mother who attends to her baby’s various needs. The baby who cannot ambulate needs to be in close proximity to her mother at all times, including during the night. The baby is a highly dependent being, especially during the first year of life, whose needs must be satisfied in order for healthy maturation to occur. A healthy newborn may sleep more than 16 hours per day and a great deal of that time can and should be spent close to her mother’s body. A young baby can be carried in a sling or baby carrier during the day. A mother who maintains her baby close to her body provides the healthy stimulation that will foster healthy growth and development outside the womb. This closeness between mother and baby can and should ideally occur at nighttime also. Snuggled near her mother, a baby will most likely feel comfortable and at ease. She can breastfeed on demand and feel the comfort of her mother’s loving presence nearby. A mother’s loving presence also assures the infant of tactile stimulation which plays an important, but often unrecognized, role in encouraging the infant to breathe deeply. The cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) remains to be identified, but the prevalent theory is that vulnerable babies, usually under the age of one year, may breathe shallowly and fall into apneic (nonbreathing) states. In Neonatal Intensive Care Units, preterm infants may be afflicted with apnea spells and the immediate remedy applied by nurses is a mere touch to the apneic infant’s skin. More vigorous tactile stimulation may be given to those infants who do not respond to a light touch. The usual result is that the infant begins to breathe normally again. Because even healthy young infants may breathe shallowly, there may be greater cause for a mother to be close by in case a little tactile stimulation will encourage the baby to breathe more deeply. Co-sleeping provides the baby with the skin to skin contact that may encourage deeper breathing.

Myth #3: Parents should not be inconvenienced by their baby’s needs during the night.
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During the night, an infant awakens frequently because her sleep cycle of about 50-60 minutes is shorter than an adult’s, which is about 90 minutes. Many parents find this normal infant sleeping pattern to be bothersome since it does not correspond to their own sleeping pattern and need for sleep. It seems that nearly all parents wish to sleep through the night and they consider it a problem when their baby does not fulfill this wish. In fact, some parents may attribute the baby’s sleep awakenings as a manipulative force in her character. The result is that a baby’s normal sleeping pattern, which is part of her healthy infant development, begins to be misconstrued as an infant’s conscious attempt to interfere with her parents’ sleep. It must be stressed that a healthy baby does not consciously and wilfully interfere with her parents’ sleep. A healthy baby experiences tremendous changes after birth and her body must adapt itself to the challenges of her new environment. The first year of life is critical because the baby’s body must function to survive outside the womb. Truly the first year of life is a gestation outside of the womb, as Ashley Montagu has written so often. One must consider how taxing the challenge of surviving outside the womb must be for the young baby. Consider the baby’s immature digestive tract. In the womb, there was no need for ingestion, digestion, or elimination. Outside the womb, though, there is a definite need for these bodily functions to begin operating. The baby’s mother produces the ideal nourishment for the newborn: colostrum. The colostrum is important and vital to the well-being of the newborn for it provides the perfect substance to help activate the baby’s digestive and immune systems. Colostrum is a laxative that helps to clear out the meconium in the baby’s digestive tract and it is rich in lactoglobulin which provides the baby with immunizing factors against various diseases. The amount of colostrum produced in the first few days of life is only approximately 50 cc (the equivalent of 10 teaspoons) per day. The amount may be small, but it just right to encourage the healthy development of the infant’s gut and immune system. The benefits of breastfeeding are incalculable to the infant and they are transmitted to the baby throughout the day and night if her demand for nursing is satisfied. If one understands the importance of breastfeeding, how is it possible to withhold breast milk from the baby, except when one truly cannot nurse because of severe physical disability, the need for medications that may pass through the breast milk, or an infectious state that precludes breastfeeding? It may seem inconvenient that mothers need to nurse throughout the day and night, but this is a cultural perception of what inconvenience is. Inconvenience is completely subjective. The person who believes that nursing a baby is inconvenient may willingly get out of bed to heat up a bottle of infant formula several times a night. Many mothers do not feel inconvenienced by a hungry infant nursing at their breasts during the night, yet they would feel inconvenienced by the need to get out of bed to fetch a bottle of formula. The point is that a baby will become hungry during the night because she needs nourishment. If parents could appreciate the natural course of human development, then they would most likely opt to provide their baby with the unparalleled benefits of breastfeeding. The mother-infant pair should be inseparable during the early years of life. This is most especially true during the first year of life because young babies need to breastfeed frequently throughout both day and night. From the newborn period on, a mother’s breast milk changes moment to moment to accommodate the baby’s growing needs. The two lives of mother and baby are intimately entwined in a mutually cooperative and beneficial relationship. The activity of breastfeeding provides the optimal nourishment and physical intimacy for the baby’s healthy growth and development. Breastfeeding encourages the communication of love between the baby and her mother. Many

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mothers become motherly and loving as a result of of the hormonal influences effected by breastfeeding. They enjoy mothering and breastfeeding as responsibilities and not as inconveniences.

Myth #4: A child is not harmed by forcing her to sleep alone through the night.
There are babies who may sleep through the night, but then there are the greater majority who do not. Every young baby is unique and has a different temperament with variable needs, just as adults do. Parents who would embrace the baby who sleeps on her own ought to behave similarly toward those babies who cannot sleep alone. The individuality of babies predicates tolerance and understanding on the part of parents. Not all babies can sleep alone at night and to attempt to make these youngsters sleep alone is unhealthy. It is analogous to trying to force a circular block to fit into a triangular opening. It cannot be done without damaging the circular block and the fit will never be right. At this point, we are not discussing inanimate objects but living human babies. Dr. Richard Ferber, a sleeping expert well known to the general public, promotes the mistaken belief that young babies and children can and should be taught to sleep alone. Dr. Ferber has popularized a method that purports to succeed in getting any youngster to sleep through the night. The method entails separating one’s baby from any human touch before the baby begins to nod off to sleep. The baby is required to remain alone, accompanied only by inanimate objects such as pacifiers and stuffed animals. The baby is placed in the crib and great importance is attached to the baby’s visual registration of the crib as her sleeping place. With mechanical precision, Dr. Ferber recommends the baby to be isolated for gradually increasing lengths of time. Ashley Montagu remarked that the clock is one of the premier symbols of the dehumanized condition of humankind. It is unsurprising that Dr. Ferber depends completely upon the clock to ritualize a young baby’s separation from the loving parents upon whom she depends. It is evident that the baby’s dependency is a human one and that Dr. Ferber’s efforts to break that human dependency are inhumane. Parents who have endured listening to their baby cry for even one long minute understand the torture of hearing their baby’s suffering. If parents are so tortured, imagine how the baby is even more tortured by the parents’ neglect. Yet parents are asked to be patient and to endure the baby’s crying so that she will learn to sleep through the night. If one stops to think whether or not this is reasonable, one would aver unequivocally that nothing could be more unsound than torturing one’s own baby. A young baby cannot speak and articulate her pain, but she can cry. If a baby’s own parents ignore her cries, who else will heed them? It is clear from the bestselling nature of Dr. Ferber’s book that millions of parents are willing to ignore their own babies’ cries. There are parents who utilize the Ferber method with such zeal that their neighbors have intervened with calls to the police to report child abuse. The irony is that so many of these parents believed that they were doing something right and good for their baby by forcing her to sleep on her own through the night, even if that meant hours of tormented crying. As mortifying as intervention by the police or a neighbor may be, parents should be able to reflect upon what exactly they were trying to accomplish. Parents must listen to their own consciences and hearts even though today’s child experts and medical practitioners inform them that babies do fine with "crying it out" approaches to child-rearing.
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Dr. Prescott has criticized the cruel nature of regimenting a baby’s sleeping habits and he criticizes the Ferber sleeping regimen. Dr. Prescott notes that parents following Dr. Ferber’s advice ignore not only their baby’s cries, but also very disturbing behaviors that indicate the severity of the baby’s distress. In his book, Dr. Ferber acknowledges that babies will engage in repetitious and stimulating behaviors, like head banging, body rocking, and head rolling but he labels these as normal behaviors. Dr. Prescott disputes this dismissive interpretation of these behaviors and offers an understanding of the damage the baby experiences from the neglect incurred by following Dr. Ferber’s advice. Dr. Prescott has researched the vestibular-cerebellar complex in the brain, an area not generally well understood. Dr. Prescott describes the vestibular-cerebellar complex as the "environmental umbilical cord" that keeps a baby bonded to her mother. Dr. Prescott notes that the vestibular sensory fibers are fully myelinated at birth, the implication being that the nerves transmitting information to the cerebellum do so as fast as they ever will from birth onward. The fetus in the womb received vestibular sensory stimulation by floating and moving about in the womb. The well-being of a baby is determined by two different systems that work in conjunction with each other: a baby needs the body touch and intimacy provided by activities like breastfeeding and co-sleeping and the body movement of being held and carried. A baby who is carried about on her mother’s body receives the correct sensory stimulation for the healthy development of the vestibular-cerebellar complex. One must imagine a distressed baby who does not wish to sleep alone, but is forced to because her parents believe that this is the "right" thing to do. She is crying alone in her crib, abandoned by her parents who wait behind a closed or slightly ajar door with a timer in hand. The parents may be resolved to endure the first five minutes of their baby’s crying and they do not want to be deterred from their task. This is a scenario that is repeated in many homes each night with a baby being "taught" to sleep alone. If the baby actually only seeks the comfort, love, and warmth of her mother’s embrace, how is the baby able to receive the stimulation that will soothe her if her mother will not carry her and hug her with the affection that she seeks? As Dr. Prescott has written, the baby will engage in self-stimulation that purports to compensate for the lack of stimulation she really requires for satisfaction of her needs. Whereas a simple hug or embrace would provide just the right kind of stimulation the baby needs, the baby resorts to complicated forms of self-stimulation like head banging, body rocking, and head rolling. This perspective on movement stimulation in babies enables one to gain a better understanding of the abnormal nature of a baby’s repetitive body movements. Those babies who engage repeatedly in such movements are deprived of the healthy stimulation that would obviate the need for such drastic self-stimulation. Dr. Prescott also notes the fragility of the young baby’s brain and the potentially damaging effects these body movements may have upon the delicate blood vessels in the brain and developing brain neurons and connections.

Myth #5: The mother-infant bond is not impaired by the Ferber method.
The physical consequences of using the Ferber method have been discussed, but there is also a much higher risk of breaching the trust that exists between mother and baby. A mother who has carried her baby in the womb has an undeniable bond with her baby, yet the intervention of medical procedures and hospital birthing have contributed to undermining this essential human bond. There is no bond more important in human life than the mother-infant bond. An infant is intimately connected to her mother in the womb and outside the womb. The Ferber method helps to break down the healthy mother-infant bond because it forcibly separates the baby from her mother.

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Drs. Marshall Klaus and John Kennell are two pediatricians who have studied infant-mother bonding for decades. In their book Bonding they present evidence that the newborn and mother should be in intimate contact immediately after birth. The optimal circumstances for every healthy newborn is to be dried quickly and placed promptly onto her mother’s warm abdomen. Drs. Klaus and Kennell found that the baby, if left undisturbed on her mother’s abdomen in a quiet environment, would initiate a precise sequence to begin breastfeeding on her own. They observed that the healthy newborn is completely capable of gradually crawling up her mother’s abdomen, finding her areola, and latching on to suckle. This finding confirms the importance of a mother’s availability from the immediate newborn period onward. If the breasts are available, then the baby will seek to nurse. On the contrary, a mother’s absence from the newborn’s immediate environment makes it extremely difficult for the baby to latch on to the breast and to fulfill the capability to suckle at the breast. It is imperative that the baby and mother be placed together immediately after birth since the baby possesses the capability to inititate breastfeeding. As Ashley Montagu has pointed out repeatedly, a capability is only a potential whereas an ability is the fulfillment of that potential. The importance of providing a newborn with the correct environment is crucial for enabling a baby to learn how to breastfeed. It is no wonder that newborn have difficulty latching onto their mothers’ breasts since the majority of newborn are whisked away from their mothers immediately after birth. Drs. Klaus and Kennell’s observations also demonstrate the comfort and satisfaction the newborn experiences by simply lying on her mother’s abdomen, skin to skin. If the need for skin to skin contact is so important in the immediate newborn period, is it possible that such a need disappears after only a few weeks or months after birth? The need for touching does not disappear at all after the newborn period and it remains a profoundly important human need throughout one’s lifetime. Ashley Montagu wrote a detailed and thoroughly researched book in 1971 called Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin, in which he explains what the title describes. The human need for touching has since been corroborated by many researchers. It is evident that a child’s need to be physically close to her loving parents, especially her mother, is real and beneficial to her well-being. It is truly regrettable that as we approach the 21st century, there is a woeful disregard for the mother-infant bond despite the abundant research that has indicated otherwise for several decades. Forcing a baby to sleep on her own is not conducive to enhancing the mother-infant bond. Pity the poor babies and mothers whose mutual trust is breached, often unwittingly, by the overwhelming push to get a baby to sleep alone through the night. It would be less harmful to the baby if her parents lost a little sleep instead.

Myth #5: Parents will never get a good night’s rest with a baby in their bed.
On the contrary, most co-sleeping families find that everyone sleeps better with the content baby in the same bed. This is particularly true for the breastfeeding mother since she does not need to leave the bed to nurse her baby. Awakening from sleep is difficult, but much less cumbersome than actually getting out of bed. The breastfeeding mother becomes highly sensitive to her baby’s movements and can learn to identify her baby’s various needs fairly rapidly. This enables her to return to sleep that much sooner. Babies wake up often throughout the night and the warm physical presence of loving parents provides comfort and assurance. There may be times when parents may not enjoy sleeping with a baby in their bed. More often than not, complaints are generated by parents who need to sleep in order to work early the next morning. The baby may kick or move about during her sleep, resulting in the disruption of her parents’ sleep. The scenario is markedly worse when both parents work outside the home and they both require a
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good night’s sleep. The need for parents’ sleep is obvious, but who is heeding the baby’s need to receive comfort and nurturing at nighttime? It is ideal for babies to have a mother who is willing and able to be available to her baby full-time, day and night, for at least the first three years of life. As long as a mother is available to her baby, then there are alternative sleeping arrangements that will enable all family members to sleep comfortably. It should be understood that sleeping comfortably takes on new meaning for parents after the arrival of a newborn. Many mothers are accustomed to interrupted sleep because they experienced the frequency of urination during pregnancy. After the baby’s birth, the need to breastfeed on demand is exactly that: demanding. Breastfeeding requires a mother’s willingness to nurse her baby at all hours, regardless of frequency. Thus a mother may find that catching two hours of continuous sleep is wonderfully refreshing. The interruption of sleep that accompanies on demand nursing will disturb her mother’s sleep frequently, but she will learn to adapt to frequent awakenings. At this point, many parents question how nursing mothers can tolerate such an interrupted sleeping pattern. The fact is that many mothers are profoundly committed to nursing their young babies on demand. They rest as often as possible, perhaps napping alongside the baby during the day. They learn to return to sleep after nighttime nursing sesions. They diminish the demands of social activity outside the home and cherish their children’s infancy which is so brief. A supportive and helpful spouse may take on more active roles in helping with household chores. In other words, a nursing mother needs the cooperative efforts of the entire family in order to fulfill her unique role in her baby’s life. The responsibility of motherhood lasts a lifetime, but is most demanding in the early years of a child’s life. Ideally, the responsibility of mothering should be joyful and fulfilling, despite the lack of continuous sleep. For households in which the father is the sole income provider, there is a simple solution to resolve a father’s inability to sleep if the baby’s movements, nursing sessions, or diaper changes disturb his sleep. The father can sleep in another bed. He may sleep better and his wife will not have to worry about disrupting his sleep. As radical as this approach may sound, it is actually a practical way to prioritize the importance of the dyad of mother and breastfeeding infant. This is especially true during the first year of a baby’s life, particularly the first several months. On another note, perhaps by recognizing the importance of breastfeeding and co-sleeping, a father can adapt to his baby’s schedule. Co-sleeping parents comprehend their baby’s dependency and adapt themselves to fulfill their young baby’s needs. A young baby has needs that must be satisfied by those who love and care for her. The extremely immature and highly dependent infant needs a tremendous amount of loving care and affection throughout the day and night. Her needs are not controlled by the artifice of clocks and schedules. Co-sleeping parents abide by the unwritten rule that their responsibility is to provide the love, support, and availability that their baby needs to not only survive, but to develop and grow into a healthy human being.

Myth #6: Co-sleeping and the satisfaction of a baby’s needs spoils the baby.
Many parents worry that if they place their baby’s needs over their needs or desires, they will spoil their baby. Relatives, friends, neighbors, and even strangers admonish parents about not co-sleeping for fear of spoiling their baby. Parents may even become sheepish about admitting to co-sleeping with their baby, no matter how young or little she is. Parents who co-sleep and fulfill their baby’s

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needs are placed into a defensive position about their child-rearing ways. Certainly no parent wishes to rear a spoiled child, but the implication is that co-sleeping will spoil a child. Ashley Montagu has written many treatises on the significance of love. He writes: "Genuine love can never harm or inhibit; it can only benefit and create freedom and order. Love has a firmness and discipline of its own for which there can be no substitute. No child can ever be spoiled by love, and there are few if any human problems which cannot be best solved by its application." Satisfying the needs of a young baby certainly does not spoil her, but fulfills her as a human being. Human beings are born highly dependent and need the assistance of a loving being to care for them. In the majority of cases, that loving person should be the child’s mother. It is the absence of a loving caretaker that creates the spoiled temperament, which clearly unmasks the inability to be satisfied. The spoiled temperament would not develop as profoundly as it does in an unloved or uncared for child if she had been loved and cared for well during her early years. Some persons would opine that a baby who enjoys co-sleeping with her parents every night must be manipulative. It is so sad that a baby may be characterized as being manipulative when it is obvious that she is completely dependent and unable to fulfill her own needs. Even the youngest baby is deemed a wilfull creature by some. Such a terrible misunderstanding of a baby’s loving nature is the product of longstanding prejudice against young children. Ashley Montagu has described a baby to be a highly organized being who is capable of learning to love and to be loved. If parents understood the sensitive nature of their young baby, then they would not cast such aspersion upon their baby’s character. A healthy baby will seek fulfillment of her needs in a loving and cooperative manner unless she is taught otherwise by those who care for her. Fulfilling a baby’s needs does not lead to spoiling; it is the neglect of her needs that leads to spoiling.

Myth #7: Co-sleeping interferes with parental intimacy and marriage stability.
There are many reasons for the collapse of more than half the marriages in today’s society, but the presence of a child in the parental bed cannot possibly be a major factor in all these failed marriages. If anything, it is probable that the family that makes the efforts to co-sleep is a more cohesive and cooperative family unit. Successful co-sleeping involves flexibility, perserverance, and sacrifice and these are the same elements required for a successful marriage. How could it be that the efforts to nurture one’s needy baby during the night can actually harm the parents’ marriage? Co-sleeping may be detrimental to marriages if one spouse, usually the husband, believes strongly that co-sleeping is wrong and unnecessary. This same spouse, though, would believe equally as strongly that he has a right to sleep comfortably adjacent to his wife. He cannot perceive that the snuggling and affection that he deserves is the same as that required by the nursing baby or the older toddler. The need for human touch and affection transcends age, but one would expect the adult to understand that his young child has an even greater need to be closely and warmly attached to her mother during the night. In fact, if a baby has a need to sleep with her mother, fulfillment of that need would be part of the child’s birthright to healthy human development. Indeed, many young children have a profound need to co-sleep.

Myth #8: Co-sleeping discourages a baby’s independence.
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The responsibility of providing the loving care that every baby deserves is one that should not be onerous, but cultural values emphasize a baby’s "need" for independence. It is understandable that parents cherish their rest and privacy because child-rearing is an arduous task. Yet, there is almost a conspiracy to make providing care for a baby seem like a tiresome chore. Why else are there so many stories and cartoons that depict parenthood as an endless series of tedious diaper changes and sleepless nights? Defying this stereotyped view of parenthood, co-sleeping parents choose to make child-rearing a mutually positive and fulfilling experience for both themselves and their baby. By not choosing to separate their baby from themselves, co-sleeping parents are sparing their baby the grief of abandonment, isolation, and hopelessness. The baby who is placed into a crib far from her mother’s touch, smell, and breasts is a baby who is in solitary confinement. As an aside, it has been noted that solitary confinement, the absence of any human contact, for jailed inmates is truly the most barbaric and inhumane punishment. It must be stressed that the young and very needy infant has no means to remonstrate with her parents, other than crying. Yet child behavior experts will admonish parents to respond selectively to her cries. Even the parents of the tiny newborn receive this callous advice. Such insensitive advice often surpasses cruelty and one wonders why young infants should be treated in such a manner. Many parents today are aware that the push for a baby’s early independence is one that is fraught with problems. Often, a baby is left to cry alone in despair as parents try to determine if the baby can comfort herself. Depriving a young baby or child of loving maternal care is cruel and it has an exacting toll on her well-being. Ashley Montagu wrote the following: "Unless the child has been firmly grounded in the discipline of love and interdependency, he is damaged in his ability to develop clear and definite judgments concerning people and things, and his ability to form such judgments as an adult is seriously handicapped. As adults the judgments of such persons tend to be blurred and vague. Their decisions about the world, people and things tend to be characterized by doubt, suspicion, uncertainty, misgiving and unsureness. They vacillate, in short, they tend to see the world through a mist of unshed tears. They are characterized by an inability to enter into the feelings of others because, when they were young, no one cared enough to enter into theirs." Every baby deserves to experience love and interdependency that will encourage her well-being. Unfortunately, many parents believe that withholding their love will lead to their baby’s developing discipline and self-control. It is the opposite that is true: only through receiving unconditional love and the satisfaction of basic human needs does a baby begin to learn how to love and relate to others. If anything, the problem in today’s society is that there is far too much independence of an unattractive kind. It is the kind of independence that makes persons feel they are alienated and unrelated to other human beings. This sad and unhealthy view of life leads such persons to believe that their actions have no consequences, either for themselves or others. It is only through healthy and humane child-rearing that such a sick type of independence will not be fostered. There is a time to emphasize independence in children and that is when they are past their formative years. The first three years of life are a special time to explore the wonders of human interdependency, when a young child can freely love her parents and be loved in return. With that strong foundation of love, a young child can weather a tremendous amount of difficulty later in life. Why force a young toddler to experience alienation, lowered self-esteem, and the privation of love

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when surely she will face the same later in life? If given the foundation of unconditional love early in life, her encounters with sorrows and mishaps will be that much easier to endure later in life.

Myth #9: Once a family co-sleeps, the child will never leave the parental bed.
There are many families who co-sleep with the proviso that the child leaves the parental bed when she’s old enough. The question is how old is too old? Some parents believe that a two year old is old enough to sleep alone, whereas others believe that a pre-adolescent should still co-sleep. Obviously, it is a matter of family preference and circumstances. The most important issue is whether or not the child feels secure and content about the decision to leave the family bed. If the child feels secure enough to leave the parental bed, that’s fine. On the other hand, if the child does not, then there is little reason to force the child to leave the parental bed. There are cultures world-wide that practice co-sleeping until the child reaches puberty. It is a way of life that is not unusual or questionable. In light of Western mores, some families might feel hesitant to co-sleep with their children beyond the pre-school age. If the child does not agree, then a gradual weaning from the parental bed may be accomplished by placing another bed or mattress adjacent to the parental bed. Eventually, most children voluntarily leave the parental bed. Those children who do not wish to leave the parental bed often have sound reasons. A primary reason is that there is family discord and a child may need to be reassured, particularly after an argument, that the family unit is stable. Children whose parents are divorced are affected by the trauma of their parents’ separation. Co-sleeping with one parent or the other may provide solace to the child. Unexpected illness may lead a child to cling to the parental bed. There are unlimited reasons children may offer to remain in the family bed. Overall, in loving families there is little reason to deny young children the opportunity to co-sleep. Co-sleeping provides the comfort, reassurance, and love that many human beings seek at any age.

Practical Measures to Safeguard Co-sleeping
Co-sleeping parents take measures to assure the baby’s safety in their bed. Some parents lay the mattress or futon directly onto the floor, so that there is no danger of the baby rolling off while sleeping. If the bed is elevated, a bedrail may be placed on the open side of the bed and covered with a soft cloth in case the baby abuts the railing. If one side of the bed sits adjacent to a wall, parents make sure there is no space for the baby to get wedged between the side of the bed and the wall. The baby should not be placed upon a waterbed or on a mattress that is so soft that there is a chance of suffocation. The mattress should be firm and clean. The baby should not sleep on a soft pillow. Some parents may be concerned about accidentally rolling onto their babies and smothering them. This concern has been directed primarily toward obese parents and it is reasonable to assume that a very obese parent may indeed weigh heavily upon a small infant. However, as Tine Thevenin points out in her book The Family Bed, mothers are highly attuned to the activity of an infant nearby and the baby is capable of signaling her distress by crying and using her arms and legs. It is unlikely that a mother would not awaken from her sleep to respond to her child’s distress. If a mother has profound difficulty awakening from sleep or a parent is truly obese, then perhaps placing the baby in a cradle or bassinet nearby would be more advisable than co-sleeping. There are some other practical measures parents take when co-sleeping. The area of the bed upon which the infant sleeps can be covered with a simple flannel backed waterproof pad to minimize
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cleaning of sheets in case the baby spits up or a diaper leaks. An infant who is very active and kicks off her covers should be appropriately dressed so that she will not get cold during the night. A baby should not be bundled tightly because she might wind up face down on the mattress and have difficulty turning her head. It is recommended that a baby sleep on her back. Parents who do not enjoy having their covers kicked off may decide to use separate covers while co-sleeping. In the final analysis, parents decide for themselves whatever works best to make co-sleeping a safe and comfortable experience for all the family members.

Reprinted with permission from Nurturing magazine. Copyright ©1998 by Mizin P. Kawasaki, MD. All rights reserved.
Mizin P. Kawasaki, M.D., FAAP Resumen a castellano de los MITOS realizado por “Julieta”. Gracias ;-)

Dormir en la misma cama se ha dado en ver como un signo de mal función sexual o pecado cuando la realidad es que compartir la cama con el recién nacido es un signo de salud mental ya que representa la capacidad de responder a la necesidad de amor del bebe


Si el bebe necesita el contacto de su madre durante el día, también durante la noche. ,Si los padres han dormido juntos como demostración de amor, por qué razón el niño no ha de compartir también la misma cama? El bebe humano cuando nace no esta completamente formado y esta inmaduro, necesita del contacto de los padres, hasta los nueve o diez meses después del parto, que es cuando el cerebro crece mas, tanto de día como de noche. Un recién nacido duerme mas de 16 horas, de día, y necesita tener el contacto de su madre. Cuando el bebe duerme puede entrar en estado de apnea y se ha demostrado que el contacto con la piel mejora ese estado inmediatamente

Durante la noche el bebe se despierta a menudo porque su ciclo es de 50-60 minutos contra los 90 del adulto. Muchos padres consideran que el bebe debe dormir toda la noche y al no hacerlo es consecuencia de algún problema. No es un problema que el bebe necesita alimentarse por la noche, DURANTE EL PRIMER AÑO DE VIDA


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Hay bebes que duermen solos toda la noche, pero la gran mayoría no lo hace. El método Ferber consiste en dejar al bebe a dormir sin mas contacto que objetos inanimados tipo muñecos, ignorar los llantos para que el bebe aprenda a dormir solo. El Dr. Prescott ha criticado duramente el método Ferber tratándolo de cruel, y explica como el cerebro del bebe recibe las sensaciones y las estimulaciones al estar solo cuando su necesidad de contacto no se ve completada, llevándoles a hacer movimientos repetitivos como golpearse la cabeza, que pueden ser perjudiciales para su frágil cerebro

l método Ferber rompe el vinculo madre-hijo que viene establecido desde el embarazo Drs. Marshall Klaus and John Kennell escribieron Bonding, donde hablan de la capacidad innata del bebe para encontrar el pecho de la madre una vez les han colocado en su abdomen La necesidad de contacto no desaparece sino que sigue en todo el desarrollo de la vida del bebe, ha sido corroborado por muchos estudios científicos

Al contrario, los padres que practican el colecho descansan mejor. Sobretodo para la madre que no se tiene que levantar para alimentarle. Puede haber padres que no disfrutan con el colecho, sobretodo si han de madrugar para trabajar ambos, porque el bebe se mueve despertándoles, la solución seria alternar las noches, aunque la madre aprende desde el embarazo a interrumpir el sueño por las molestias, y después por las demandas del bebe. Lo ideal es que toda la familia se enrole en las tareas del hogar y en facilitar el descanso de la madre que alimenta de noche. Otra solución es que el padre duerma en otra cama, al menos durante el primer año

Muchos padres se preocupan por las consecuencias el colecho para la educación del hijo ya que son atacados por familiares y conocidos. Ashley Montagu ha escrito que ningún niño se malcriara si le dan amor y se satisfacen sus necesidades. Muchos piensan que el niño que colecha será manipulador, cuando realmente esta necesitándolo todo

La familia que tiene la capacidad de colechar es más cohesiva y cooperativa. solo es perjudicial para la pareja si uno de los miembros lo considera innecesario

Es un factor cultural el que casi obliga a la independencia del bebe, cuando la realidad es que mantener al bebe alejado del contacto de la madre es cruel. Ashley Montagu escribe que el bebe no esta suficientemente formado para identificar juicios concernientes a personas y no tiene la capacidad de empatía por lo que no entiende los actos de los mayores cuando son subjetivos y abstractos. Únicamente recibiendo amor incondicional y satisfacción es como el bebe aprende las necesidades básicas humanas y a relacionarse con los otros.
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Hay una confusión referente a la independencia con el sentido que hace a los individuos alienados referente a los que lo rodean. Los 3 primeros años del bebe son los que aprenden a explorar los sentimientos de la interdependencia humana, cuando el bebe puede expresar el amor hacia los padres

La cuestión es saber cuando el bebe es suficiente mayor para dejar la cama de los padres., depende de cada caso, lo importante es saber cuando se siente con ganas de dejarla por iniciativa propia. Se puede acoplar una cama adyacente a la principal para el bebe o ya no tan bebe, para que voluntariamente deje la cama principal

En algunos casos se pone el colchón directamente en el suelo para evitar que el bebe ruede y pueda caer. Se puede colocar una barrera en la parte del colchón que queda abierta, el colchón no debería ser muy blando para evitar sofocos o ahogamientos No esta indicado en casos de obesidad de alguno de los padres, lo mejor en este caso seria una camita adyacente. En algunos casos, usar almohadas separadas, procurar que el bebe duerma de espaldas para facilitar su movimiento,

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