Every parent, especially those parents who have newborns, know how hard it can be to get your fussy baby to fall asleep. You do just about everything you can to help your baby sleep. You change her diaper and you put on comfy clothes. You feed her and you burp her. You turn down the lights and you sing. You rock and cuddle her. Eventually, your efforts pay off but not without a lot of frustration in the meantime.

There are some experts who suggest that your efforts may be working against your baby’s ability to fall asleep, ironically. They suggest that you create an environment where your child has a need to be put to sleep, and where he is completely unable to fall asleep on his own.

There are also folks who don’t think this is the case. They think that babies ought to be comforted, and that if your baby is having a hard time falling asleep it’s all right that you need to go through all of those motions to get her to settle down and go to sleep.

Which side is right? Research isn’t conclusive. Part of the problem, to be sure, is the individuality of babies. Each one is unique and has their own personality and needs.

In addition, there may be some common ground between these sides, as well. For example, it’s generally agreed that, when your baby wakes in the night, it’s not always best to jump right into feeding. If your baby wakes up because he’s warm and instead of covering him up with a blanket, you are stimulating your baby rather than just meeting his comfort needs. This may contribute to your baby having sleep problems. as well.

The most important thing is that you pay attention to your baby’s needs, and that you learn your own baby’s personality so you know what she’s asking for and can better give her what’s important.