Babies probably do need night time parenting.
The detailed answer:
Should babies learn to be independent at night? Let’s imagine…
Imagine you wake from a nightmare. Your heart is racing, the dream lingers on and shadows seem to be full of dark purpose. Your mouth is parched. You probably reach for the water beside your bed and then snuggle in close to your partner, letting their slow, sleepy breaths calm your pounding heart. Or imagine the phone rings late at night. It’s a close friend of yours in pieces after a massive argument with her other half. She sounds desperate. You are tired and have work in the morning, but you talk to her for a while anyway, offering reassurance and promising to meet up the next day.
As adults, we sometimes need the attention of other adults. Imagine then, how much harder it is for a baby who awakes alone in his cot, no drink to hand, no warm body to snuggle up to. If a baby cries out in distress, like the friend in the example above, imagine if, instead of providing reassurance, she is told that it’s nighttime and her distress needs to be dealt with in the morning.
Society tells us that parenting shouldn’t be a 24/7 job, but for many babies – and toddlers – it really is. Babies can’t turn off their feelings – not many adults can, to be fair, and it’s probably not a healthy response for any of us – so the idea that parenting ends at bedtime really isn’t feasible.
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