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The Hands That Stopped Rocking the Cradle: Or the Very Bad Parenting Advice of Two Dead White Men

Truth: Most of the world’s babies sleep in the same room as their parents.

Also truth: Most Americans lie about putting babies in their beds.

So will someone please explain to me why parents expend so much time, energy, and even money, trying to get their babies to sleep on their own?

It seems counter-intuitive that babies who’ve just come from a cozy, mobile womb environment should sleep on a flat, immobile surface. And then be forced to soothe themselves.

Isn’t closeness what a baby really craves, including touch, the mother’s familiar smell and heart beat? And most certainly, rocking and relaxing into oblivion at her milk-laden breasts.

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After doing a bit of research, I discovered that the bee in our cultural bonnet – this fixation with making babies sleep independently – was pressed upon us by two out-of-touch baby gurus back in the day. It wasn’t our love affair with cribs that served as the catalyst for letting babies cry it out, but vice versa.

The reason the baby crib came about was to promote the anti-nurturing beliefs of pediatrician John Holt and behavioral psychologist John Watson – now a couple of dead white men.

Imagine being a new mother and having a doctor or nurse tell you you’re screwing up. Continue reading