For the past two weeks I've been trawling through the internet, trying to find everything and anything on sleep in babies and parents. I just find it fascinating that while there is so much information on how to get baby to sleep, hardly anyone is looking at how to help parents sleep.
The scientists admit that there is a disconnect between sleep research and popular opinion on infant sleep - they suggest that either there must be an infant sleep epidemic (unlikely), or parent expectations of infant sleep are unrealistic.
Of course parents have unrealistic expectations: every week another so-called expert pops up claiming he has found the foolproof way to make babies sleep. If your baby isn't sleeping, you must simply be doing it wrong.
Nobody mentions that there is very little scientific evidence to back up such claims, especially in the case of very young infants.
The actual facts show that babies simply do not sleep like adults. Their sleep is supposed to be sporadic and fragmented and although their sleep starts to consolidate at 3 months, it is nowhere near what we would call a good night's sleep. Even at one year of age many children have problems sleeping through the night.
The much larger problem is that nobody seems to know what to do to improve parent sleep. It appears that the traditional advice, "sleep when you infant sleeps" is next to worthless: mothers simply don't nap once their baby is a week old and providing updated information for mothers also has little effect on their quality of sleep.
I have always been huge fan of napping, even before I had the excuse of being 41 weeks pregnant. For a while a scheduled afternoon siesta allowed me to start work at 6 am in the morning and still be awake for dinner with my husband at 11 pm. I simply refuse to believe that the only alternative for parents is to accept that they will be miserably sleep deprived for a year or more. So, although the research tells me I will fail, I'm going to continue with my plan to prioritise parent sleep and stop fussing about infant sleep and try to find some research to back up my ideas. It's gotta be out there somewhere!