If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.
Blog Posts 1–5, based on the United States of America Department of the Army Field Manual: Holistic Healing and Fitness, describe what really matters for your child’s sleep. If sleep is an important enough topic for national defense than surely sleep should be considered a serious topic for parenting!
Inexperience, for first-time parents, naturally creates some anxiety about how to best raise your child. Every imaginable opinion is available online to support widely divergent points of view. Many sites create false hopes to get you to buy their product and services. Their marketing preys on your anxiety. Some sleep-deprived parents become desperate. Even though some widely once-popular products and programs have been shown to be useless or dangerous, some of these products and programs are still available!
Caveat emptor (Let the Buyer Beware) is a well-known phrase, but parents also need to beware of false claims regarding rearing children. Myths (Blog Posts 36 and 37), fads (Blog Post 143), and fake news (146 and 147) are a sad part of the history of parenting. Here is a brief cautionary history to give you some perspective on fake promises.
It once was popular to add cereal to a baby bottle or a spoonful of cereal to make the tummy fuller under the misguided belief that their baby will sleep longer through the night.
“We studied whether feeding infants rice cereal before bedtime promotes their sleeping through the night. One hundred six infants were randomly assigned to begin bedtime cereal feeding (1 tablespoon per ounce in a bottle) at 5 weeks or at 4 months of age. Caretakers recorded the infant’s sleep from age 4 to 21 weeks for one 24-hour period per week. Sleeping through the night was defined as sleeping at least 8 consecutive hours, with the majority of time being between the hours of midnight and 6 AM. The results were also reviewed changing the requirement from 8 hours to 6 hours. There was no statistically significant trend or a consistent tendency of one group to have a higher proportion of sleepers than the other. Therefore, feeding infants rice cereal in the bottle before bedtime does not appear to make much difference in their sleeping through the night.” Infant Sleep and Bedtime Cereal. Macknin, M.L., Medendorp, S.V., and Maier, M.C.. Am J Dis Child. 1989;143(9):1066-1068.
The Institutes for The Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP), founded in 1955 by Glenn Doman and Carl Delacato, teaches a controversial patterning therapy (motor learning), which the Institutes promote as improving the “neurologic organization” of “brain injured” and mentally impaired children through a variety of programs. Patterning has been widely criticized and multiple studies have found the therapy ineffective.
American Academy of Pediatrics position statement: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, patterning treatment is based on an oversimplified theory of brain development and its effectiveness is not supported by evidence-based medicine making its use unwarranted. The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Children With Disabilities issued warnings regarding patterning, one of the IAHP’s therapies for brain injured children, as early as 1968 and repeated in 1982. Their latest cautionary policy statement was in 1999, which was reaffirmed in 2010 states: This treatment is based on an outmoded and oversimplified theory of brain development. Current information does not support the claims of proponents that this treatment is efficacious, and its use continues to be unwarranted.
(To be continued)