How will this Ape ever learn good sleep habits?
Will he ever settle alone?
Perhaps instead of the nest mum and baby share for sleep, she should crack on and move him into his own nest - to ensure he's independent? (Interestingly apes only begin sleeping alone once weaned, so perhaps she should introduce a bottle too?)
That behaviour in the picture is surely only going to make him clingy?
Mums are told repeatedly that holding/feeding/comforting/sleeping with their baby to sleep will result in (say it with me) "bad sleep habits". The baby will wake for the breast, unable to self soothe and is perfectly set up for a potential lifetime of sleep issues.
Sometimes they cry so much they are sick - and if they're super unlucky they will have a parent who has read one of the "hardcore" sleep books and clears it away without a look, or a cuddle, or any wonder of why their infant can't sleep and is distressed to the point of vomiting. A few nights ago I had an awful dream, and prodded my other half awake just to tell him it was awful and get a hug; so seemingly most babies are expected to have better sleep skills than I!
Despite years of reading I've found nothing to suggest babies should or indeed have these skills at a particular age - beyond some random (99% of the time completely unqualified) persons opinion. In fact research suggests the opposite - this is from a page I really found quite disturbing:
In contrast, careful scientific studies have found that parenting methods do affect whether or not children wake and signal at night. Three separate studies have found that if parents follow simple steps in how they care for their babies, then their babies are more likely to stop signaling in the night by 12 weeks of age. Two other situations have been found to predict continuation of infant night waking and signaling. They are: breast-feeding (versus formula-feeding) and bed-sharing through the night (compared with an infant sleeping in a separate crib).
Therefore when veering from the norm, it's surely important to prove there are no risks to these changes?
That infants who are not breastfed and sole sleeping, and thus stop signalling at 12 weeks are not at increased risk of SIDS. Do infants stop signalling because they learn there is no point? what is the psychological impact of this? (much harder to measure, especially long term) Or is it something lacking from formula, which in turn hinders their rouse/signal pattern?
Babies are born reliant on their parents for everything, and yes this includes help to go to sleep - in fact this may be a factor in protecting against SIDS. Breastmilk changes composition so that at night it includes more "sleepy hormones" and helps to create circadian rhythms - as my other half pointed out, why would they be there if babies didn't need help with sleep?
RESULTS: The tryptophan in the breast milk presented a circadian rhythm with acrophase at around 03:00. This affected the 6-sulfatoxymelatonin circadian rhythm with acrophase at 06:00 in the breast-fed infants, and also promoted nocturnal sleep. Assumed sleep, actual sleep, and sleep efficiency were significantly increased in the breast fed infants with respect the formula fed infants.Most sleep literature seems to assume children don't want to sleep - that they will manipulate (not that they're capable) vomit, "tantrum", anything to avoid sleeping. What's this assumption based on? What if actually human infants, just like that Ape really do want to sleep, but find it is disturbed by everything from developmental bursts to teething to being separated from mum? What if instead of "waking for the breast", they actually just wake and the breast is the perfect soothing tool they turn to?
The best kept parenting secret you won't find in any guru's book (because it doesn't make any money - people buy into sleep solving solutions) is that all infants will outgrow this need in their own time, without any "training"! Ultimately early security and responsiveness result in - guess what? Healthy sleep habits! Not for a week or a few months, but for a lifetime...