Read When: People are Claiming Sleep Training is Necessary

We hear it all the time. Claims of “if you don’t sleep train your baby will never sleep”, or “if you don’t teach them to self soothe by x age, they’ll never lean to do it”

However, there’s no evidence to back these claims. In fact the evidence all says the opposite. Why? Because that’s just not how humans work. We aren’t stagnant. A baby who is carried constantly will still learn to walk, a child who isn’t taught sight words at 4 will still learn to read, if you live in a country long enough, you’ll pick up the language even if you didn’t lean it first.

So let’s break this claim down starting with the history of infant sleep - how we came to believe sleep training was required.

From the Developmental Anthropologists

Biologically Normal Infant Sleep - Dr James Mckenna (on The Attachment Parenting Podcast)
Why do our Babies Sleep ALone? - Dr Cecilia Tomori (on The Attachment Parenting Podcast)
Why we Need Primal Parenting - Dr Dacia Narvaez (on The Attachment Parenting Podcast)
Rethinking Infant Sleep and Mainstream Parenting Advice - Dr Tracy Cassels (on The Attachment Parenting Podcast)
Cosleeping and Biological Imperatives: Why Human Babies Do Not and Should Not Sleep Alone - Dr James McKenna

Why Everything Sleep Trainers Tell You Is Rubbish Nicole Gorring - Integrity Calling
Training for Sleep Training: The History behind THAT question - Amanda Cannarella  - Be.Loved
Why Do We Make Children SLeep Alone? - Benjamin Reiss - LA Times
The History of Sleep Training Nicole Gorring - Integrity Calling
The History of Sleep Training in Germany Karin Bergstermann/Annie -PHD in Parenting
Babies Need To Be Held Mary Francell What Babies Need
Holding Babies (or not) can leave traces on their Genes The Natural Parent Magazine

On Sleep Training In General

Myth Busting - “You need to Teach Your Baby To Sleep” Sarah Ockwell Smith Via Facebook

Is it Right to Train Babies to Sleep? Lucy Wallis and Rajeev Gupta

Will Your Baby Be Spoiled if You Don’t Sleep Train? Nicole Johnson

Dr Dillner's health dilemmas: should I Sleep Train My Baby? Luisia Dillner

Research in the Journal of Family Psychology, which videoed both parent interactions and babies sleeping (in 35 families), found that the more responsive parents were with their babies before bedtime, the more they responded to emotional cues and the closer the physical contact they had with them, the better their babies slept.

What Will Happen if I Don’t Sleep Train My Baby? Forum

3 Huge Lessons From a Sleep Training Failure Katie Hurley

In the early days, rocking was part of my daughter's bedtime routine. The routine is different now that she's 8. We read, chat about the day, hold hands and use guided imagery to drift off to sleep. She is always asleep before 8 p.m., and she only wakes up during the night when she's sick. I guess the rocking wasn't so bad, after all.

I Used To Be One Of You (about mainstream parenting in general, primarily discipline, but the concept applies to sleep too. “According to everyone and their dog my child should be a nightmare to get to sleep independently, should wake constantly throughout the night, demand milk and be hysterical if I say no etc etc. And yet… none of that happened. Why? Because everyone grows up.”) Nicole Gorring - Integrity Calling

When You Don’t Sleep Train Your Child Lara - LifeWithBabyKicks

Sleep Learning and The Zone of Proximal Development Nicole Gorring - Integrity Calling

Why listening to Other Parents on Your Child’s Sleep is Often a Complete Waste of Your Time Tracy Cassels - Evolutionary Parenting