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infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

  • 1.  infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

    Posted 09-09-2019 01:12 PM
    Hello! We have an infant who hasn't slept yet at school. When the teacher talked to the mom about how the infant sleeps at home, the mom said that she always lies down with her baby to sleep at night and at nap time.

    Has anyone had this issue? We have informed the mom about how difficult it is for her baby to sleep at school, but haven't said anything else.

    I know there is some increased risk for infants, especially if parents are obese.

    Any advice is appreciated!

    Nina Burrows
    Preschool Director
    FUMC Preschool
    Fort Worth TX

  • 2.  RE: infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

    Posted 09-10-2019 05:49 AM
    Hi Nina,

    I had a similar situation. I would suggest rocking the infant to sleep and then stay near the crib if possible so if the infant knows you are right there. You can still take care of other children, but stay as close as possible. After a few days, maybe even weeks, the infant should be able to just sleep. Just be patient.
    Now about the co-sleeping. There are ways a family could co-sleep more safely, however it is a safety concern. I would share some information with the parents about infant safe sleep and also co-sleeping.
    Good luck to you!

    Theresa Roedersheimer
    Infant/Toddler Policy Consultant
    Raleigh NC

  • 3.  RE: infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

    Posted 09-10-2019 10:01 AM

    Thank you, Theresa!


  • 4.  RE: infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

    Posted 09-11-2019 10:02 AM
    Hi Nina Burrows
     This is a most common Pediatric Problem and the one and only person who can help you to get the results in a week is the primary care taker. Separation and Stranger anxiety start when fore brain is connecting , causing crying and anxiety , irritability and failure to learn.
    According to WHO -CIDID and NS 39.1 % of 6 years old are anxious. Unless mommy can fix the problem this leads to phobias later on besides anxiety, that prevents an infant from learning on a strange social or even a familiar social learning environment. Please ask mother to work hard for 7 - 14 days to sleep train the infant.
    BY letting an infant be swayed to sleep on a shoulder and laid down , when they get up it is shocking to them and startles them. But of they self soothe to sleep, they get up, play and fall back to sleep.
    White noise, consistent routine, leaving infant in the crib and going back once in 10-15 minutes and not giving the body contact works better to reassure self trust and security.
    Mom can use a separate room, if the parents can, white noise, pitch dark or brightly lit room and not a night lamp. Shadows scare infants.
    Only primary care taker can do this for better future Social and Emotional learning and development and for better language acquisition , if she loves her infant, painstakingly they have to train and not react to crying but understand why they should sleep train.

    [Meena Chintapalli, M.D. F.A.A.P
    Founder and C. E.O of A thru Z Pediatric Clinics, retired December, 2018.
    Founder and CEO of The SAI Institute Of Educare
    April, 2002.
    Society For Assistance International
    San Antonio, Texas.

  • 5.  RE: infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

    Posted 09-11-2019 01:21 PM
    I just want to chime in and add a bit of information to this discussion.  First, the terms "co-sleeping" and "bed sharing" are not interchangeable, and it can cause confusion when discussing the topic.  Co-sleeping is when baby sleeps in the same room as mom, and this is recommended by the AAP for at least the first six months, but preferably a year, to lower the risk of SIDS.  Bed sharing is when a little one actually sleeps in the bed with mom, and while this specific practice is not recommended by the AAP, there are safe ways that it can be done.  See here:

    I do realize that not all moms meet the safety standards indicated for safe bed sharing, but it is probably more helpful to attempt to teach mothers the safest possible way to do it, rather than expect that in desperation for sleep, it won't happen at all.

    Audra Detillier
    Celebration Christian Daycare
    Metairie LA

  • 6.  RE: infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

    Posted 09-11-2019 06:17 PM
    Another perspective to co-sleeping is also based on ethnicity - in many countries co-sleeping is done and accepted/expected. But as Educarer, it is our job to understand that and educate parents by providing various resources on Infant safe sleeping. First time parents can also be protective or possessive of their infant and may feel that they are not competent parents if their baby cries or does not sleep well!
    It also depends on temperament of the infant, attachment and health condition of the infant - some need physical touch/rocking/cuddling or some sleep on their own.
    Yes, patience and consistency in our care and nurture will help the infant sleep soundly gradually.
    We can suggest Infant Massage to the parent - research shows that massaging helps in relaxing and calming the infant - better and longer sleep pattern.

    Jagruti Patel
    Patel Family Child Care
    Redlands CA

  • 7.  RE: infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

    Posted 09-16-2019 11:01 AM
    I reiterate again, there are no short cut techniques and it is fine for putting off sleep training.
    As soon as the infant starts crying from maternal separation, it is an indication of social brain connecting and emotions from hippocampus connected.
    It is important to teach the infant the value of breaking the anxiety by sleep training.
    This critical social emotional learning that will promote life time pathways of self trust, security and accepting interactions in different situations is critical for cognitive skills development and speech.
    If infant grows up with insecurity and anxiety learning skills get affected.
    First time patents or any patent need to be educated about how brain connects with the world through experience.
    A child who is sleep trained is a happy person. South American, Mexican, Asian Indian families do co sleeping.
    Well trained parents to nurse , do not co sleep or share bed.
    If they do, with a small divider bed, available at a cost of$180/- , in the first 8-10 weeks.
    39.1 % have anxiety disorder by 6 years.
    Parents can be trained and reassured.
    This stage of 6-9 months is good and ideal for sleep training. Failing to do so will lead to life time pathways of social emotional insecurity.
    Parents will understand that love means do what is good for infant in the long run. The results of self reliance sprout quickly in a week, releasing the brain with interactive learning , in a state of calm happiness.
    A time has come with the latest knowledge of neuro science, fMRI scans with voxel based flow anisometry, we are measuring the thickness of functional nerve fibers, axon length and thickness.
    A time has come that all caring for children have to go beyond opinions and learn the Multi Sensory processing, binding and integration.
    This is realistic goal to prevent language delay, social emotional learning problems.
    Sent from my iPhonem
    Meena Chintapalli
    I had to treat a 14 year old with extreme attachment problems, co sleeping with mom since birth, got abdominal pains at school, lot of absenteeism and IQ was 85 - 90
    Mom would not let her child sleep separately. Marriage broke down.
    I was a pediatric director for neurodevelopmental inpatient facility .
    I treated a depressed 6 year old boy as he was afraid of losing mommy if he went to school and always was in mommy’s bed , never sleep trained
    I saw language delay snd social phobia with co sleeping and failing to sleep train by 12 months.
    Learn more about sensory processing of experiences
    It is 90 % established by 3 years and hard to train after 24 months

  • 8.  RE: infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

    Posted 09-18-2019 08:10 AM
    Meena, I must challenge your whole argument, First, I am deeply troubled by the judgmental tone you assume regarding family decision-making. You talk about "well-trained parents" as if they are dogs who have learned to respond to a leash. As early educators, it is not our job to "train" families. Should we provide support and resources? Yes. Might we suggest ways to allow the early care experience to better meet their child's needs? Yes. But we don't arrogantly imply that decisions they have made in their own home are wrong.

    Then, to state that failing to sleep train in the early months will "lead to lifetime pathways of social emotional insecurity" is just incendiary. (BTW, do you have any research evidence for such a bold claim?) Families all over the world and for centuries have chosen this sleep method for babies (or had to use it for a variety of reasons) and families still make this decision. Are they all wrong? Have all these people been emotionally scarred? To use such dramatic statements (especially that lack any proof) to sway families to our way of thinking is just wrong.

    Sherry Sanden
    Illinois State University
    Normal IL

  • 9.  RE: infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

    Posted 09-18-2019 04:17 PM
    Meena:  Again, your post is extremely judgmental about parents and caregivers.  You write: A child who is sleep trained is a happy person. South American, Mexican, Asian Indian families do co sleeping. Well trained parents to nurse , do not co sleep or share bed.  What this really says is--therefore those South American, Mexican, Asian Indian families who do co sleeping are not good parents?  Not 'well trained parents'--whatever that might mean?  There is a lot of hubris in your posts and outright dismissal of other opinions.  I respect that you are a scientist and I respect neuroscience--but there are too many statements here that put down all other ways of thinking and being.  There are many ways to be a good parent and a good caregiver and many lenses through which to view parenting even when taking neuroscience into account.  This is not a 'my way or the highway' forum and I'm grateful for that.  I would encourage you to consider being open to what others are saying here.  There are ways to include diversity of thought and still include science.

    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA

  • 10.  RE: infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

    Posted 09-12-2019 02:50 PM
    A lot of really good info has been shared but I can't  help asking what age the infant is first.

    In a perfect world, of course you would have a civil conversation with the parents and they would agree to do what you are asking of them.

    As other posters mentioned, the terms co-sleeping and bed sharing are not synonymous, but one thing that hasn't been mentioned is that even the term "sleep training" can mean so many different things, depending on the child, the approach, and the family.

    Trying with the least intervention possible then adjusting based on the needs and current independence of the infant then fading those supports methodically over time, it is possible to help him or her sleep. That may mean holding, rocking, white noise, a fan, a transition object (if allowed for the infant's age), then helping the child ease back to sleep if he/she stirs once put down... patting on back and making shushing noise or singing. As long as you slowly fade these things, the child won't become completely dependent on them.

    As as a parent, I was not a fan of sleep training and honestly my kids all settled into great sleep habits... eventually. First baby was easy and self weaned off any aides, but my twins took 2.5 years to really sleep on their own overnight.

    As a parent I think we owe the parents the respect of letting them do what works for them as long as it's safe.  But I also think you can try things out and gently make suggestions over time with a stable relationship of mutual respect. Again, as others mentioned, co-sleeping can be cultural influenced so it's tricky.

    As as a teacher, I know other teachers wouldn't do it, but if I had to sit next to a 4 or 5 year old for a few minutes and help them fall asleep (pat back, song, simply be near), I would, because ultimately the child needed sleep and when a child is sleepy, is not the time to push their limits. Often times the kids that struggled the most to fall asleep, had behavioral challenges and sleep was key. And maybe the quality of sleep at home wasn't optimal, because of various home-life variables.

    I don't think I have all the answers here, I just know it's a sensitive topic with parents and I wanted to add some thoughts to the discussion. Best of luck!

    Annika Mehta
    Owner, Story Spark
    Amarillo, TX

  • 11.  RE: infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

    Posted 09-12-2019 05:28 PM
    I think that Audra, Jagruti, and Annika make very good points.  Thank you for pointing out the difference between co-sleeping and bed sharing.

    Much research has been done on the harm of letting infants cry it out, including at bedtime.  Would I wish that a baby (and older child) fell asleep easily on their own and was able to put themself back to sleep when they awoke?  Sure--what a nice thing for a parent and caregiver.  But there is also a longterm cost to not physically soothing a baby when they are in distress.  As has been mentioned, holding the baby for a while and rocking them might help.  It seems like perhaps the baby hasn't been in childcare for very long.  Falling asleep, for some babies and children, is a very vulnerable feeling and perhaps they just don't feel safe enough yet.  Figuring out what helps this baby feel safe--probably holding and/or staying close--might decrease their stress level and help them to eventually be able to sleep.

    I'm sure it's hard for the adults in the classroom, the parents, and especially for the baby.  I hope that by the time you read these responses things have gotten easier and you've been able to have some respectful conversations with the parents about their sleeping at home.

    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA

  • 12.  RE: infants who co-sleep at home and can't sleep at school

    Posted 09-13-2019 06:56 AM
    Hi all,
    i appreciate the perspectives shared on this question but I worry about the implication from some of them that it is our right/responsibility to "educate" the parents about what is best for their child, especially on an issue as sensitive as the way they've chosen to soothe their child into sleep. As some have mentioned, in many cultures co-sleeping or shared sleeping is the norm. Others choose it as a way to bond or maintain closeness with their child, especially working families who feel that they don't get enough time with their children during the day. It's important to be sensitive to this and not race in to try to solve a family "problem" that doesn't exist.

    Yes, this makes it challenging in a child care situation where we are attempting to meet the needs of multiple children. Certainly we should share information about how their child is sleeping in our care, and it is appropriate to ask families if they have suggestions for supporting this. But to send the message that we know what is best for their child in their own homes is overstepping. Our job is to match our caregiving to children's and families' needs and not the other way around.

    Sherry Sanden
    Illinois State University
    Normal IL