Baby Sleep Squabbles

by The Editors Of Babytalk

Baby Sleep Squabbles

Losing sleep over all the baby bedtime advice out there? You’re not the only one: Several new trends in the world of infant sleep have been making headlines lately  — and keeping parents up all over again. Here’s the Babytalk take on it all:

Controversy: A vocal group of parents is revolting against putting babies to sleep on their backs  — a proven way to reduce the risk of SIDS  — insisting that their infants sleep better on their tummies.

The bottom line: Every expert we spoke to thought this was insane. “Babies do sleep better on their stomachs, but that’s why SIDS may happen in that position  — they can’t rouse themselves,” says Gary Freed, M.D., director of the pediatric sleep lab at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Putting babies to sleep on their backs is best.

Controversy: Co-sleeping is frowned upon by the American Academy of Pediatrics, even though many parents swear by it.

The bottom line: Parents need to research the risks and make their own decision. Some experts, including Babytalk contributing editor William Sears, M.D., support bed sharing. If you do choose to co-sleep, follow all the safety precautions found at

Controversy: Richard Ferber, M.D., says his cry-it-out method isn’t right for all babies, leaving parents who “Ferberized” their kids upset.

The bottom line: Dr. Ferber’s sleep strategy was never as one-size-fits-all as the media made it out to be, but consult your doctor before trying it  — and don’t Ferberize before your baby is 5 months old.