Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
Bed Sharing at 12 Weeks
December 28, 2023

Found in age groups

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A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain, A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep

Blog Posts 15, 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!

Blog 165Bed Sharing at 12 Weeks

A paper by Professor Ian St James-Roberts compared two parenting styles in London, England:

1. Proximal care (infant demand care) is defined as parenting that involves holding infants throughout the day, frequent or unrestricted breastfeeding, rapid responses to cries, and cosleeping (bed-sharing or family bed). The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages bed-sharing because of its association with SIDS. Mothers chose Proximal Care before the birth of their baby. 29% of the mothers were employed full-time before maternity leave.

2. Conventional care in Western countries is defined as parenting that involves putting infants down often during the day, scheduled feedings, sometimes delaying responses to cries, and separate surfaces for sleeping. 57% of the mothers were employed full-time before maternity leave.

A study compared infants in these 2 groups at 10 days of age and at 5 and 12 weeks of age. All group differences were statistically significant except where * appears.

Conventional CareProximal Care
12 weeks
Minutes of fussing6245
Minutes of crying1613
Minutes of unsoothable crying*23
Infant colic (%) *44
Babies wholly breast fed (%)
10 days7095
5 weeks4590
12 weeks3785
Babies slept with parents entire night (%)
10 days1873
5 weeks2177
12 weeks1070
Nights asleep 5 hours or more (per week)5.02.6

Proximal care at 12 weeks: More breast feeding, and more bed sharing produced 17 minutes less fussing, 3 minutes less crying, and fewer nights of uninterrupted sleep.

General Conclusion

  1. In both groups, at all ages, some babies have unsoothable crying and infant colic.
  2. Conventional care is associated with less holding (awake and asleep), fewer feeds, more fussing (17 minutes/day at 12 weeks), more crying (3 minutes/day at 12 weeks), less wholly breast feeding, and less bed-sharing with a parent.
  3. Conventional care is associated with more frequent bouts of uninterrupted night sleep (5 or more hours) at 12 weeks. That is, more consolidated sleep or less fragmented sleep (Blog Post 11). 

Conventional care and proximal care are associated with different benefits and costs.

My interpretation regarding sleep:

Proximal care infants may not have had as many opportunities to learn self-soothing because of more holding during sleep and more sleeping at night with a parent and/or it is possible that that the bedtime for the infant was later, or too late for the infant, in some proximal care infants because the mother wanted to go to sleep with her baby at night at a time that was more convenient for the mother, but too late for the baby.

My baby sleep advice for mothers practicing proximal care with bed-sharing: Early in the evening when your baby shows drowsy signs (Blog Post 9), lie down with your baby until your baby is asleep. Then, gently place your baby in a co-sleeper for safety. Later, when you go to sleep, the baby can be returned to your bed or keep your baby in the co-sleeper..

(To be continued)

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