Sleep training and sleep school for babies is big business, and if you are a new mum, chances are that someone in your mother's group has already tried it.
There are different methods of sleep training, however, a new study has shown that genetics, not sleep training or the way a mom or dad parents their child, plays a large role in how babies sleep through the night.
The new research, reported in the June issue of Pediatrics, assessed the nighttime and daytime sleep habits of 995 sets of twins at 6, 18, 30, and 48 months of age. The researchers found that it didn’t matter if parents used the cry-it-out method, co-sleeping or another sleep method if their child was genetically hard-wired to wake frequently through the night. In other words, ignoring such a baby (as instructed by the cry-it-out method) won’t help change your baby’s habits, and it would be more beneficial long-term to give them comfort.
Genetics were seemingly responsible for the sleep habits of roughly half of the babies in the survey. 47% of 6 month-old babies, 58% of 30 month-old babies and 54% of 48 month-old tots showed no change in their nighttime sleep patterns regardless of what their parents did or didn't do.
Parents, don't despair. The study also showed that daytime sleep is more strongly affected by environmental issues than genetics. Longer baby daytime naps can be achieved with a quiet, dark, uninterrupted sleep space.
Also, at the 18 month mark, many babies suddenly became more affected by sleep environments instead of genetics. This means that the 18 month mark may be a good time to intervene and try to instill new sleep habits in little ones who still don’t sleep through the night.
All entries complied by osteopath Dr Wei Chua unless otherwise stated.