Most parents, in fact the vast majority of parents, experience some degree of frustration in trying to get their fussy baby to sleep. You do everything you can think of, from the basics like putting on a clean diaper and clean clothes to feeding to burping your baby to rocking him or singing him a lullaby.
According to some recent studies, however, you may be doing more harm than good. There is some recent research that suggest that doing too much more than making sure those basic needs are met – feeding, changing diapers, making sure that your baby isn’t too hot or too cold – can cause problems in the long run.
In theory, the problem comes with something called sleep associations. At times, a baby may start to associate sleep with your comforting rock or your gentle song. Over time, this can cause your baby to treat bedtime not as a time to relax, wind down from the day and get some sleep, but rather as a time to look forward to when you are going to hold her and rock her.
The studies aren’t yet conclusive, but one of the possible results is that children who were held until they fell asleep as babies had trouble falling asleep as they got older, and even had difficulty staying asleep for as long, too.
Of course, the thing to remember is this: each and every baby is different. Just like adults have different sleep patterns and preferences, so babies will, as well. The important thing is to do what you think is best for your baby. You need to trust your own judgment, and to make sure that your baby is cared for the way you think she should be, rather than the way a researcher in a university somewhere thinks he should be cared for.