Mums who seek advice through Facebook groups and forums are vulnerable and ready to listen to anything.
“1 years old and co-sleeping is perfectly normal. She obviously still needs you close by and when she is ready then she will be able to sleep on her own. My 3 year old is still co-sleeping and I am used to feet in my face now. I think its better you co-sleep rather then letting her be scared and alone whilst letting her "cry it out."
“My 10 month old gets up 6 times a night. I'm happy she's getting extra nutrients at night. If you're struggling with having to get up and feed, could you consider safe co-sleeping? I only have to roll over to feed bub back to sleep. Soooo much easier than getting up.”
Some mums and very mislead by what the term “sleep training” means. Sleep training does not mean “cry it out”. These mums believe that they must not let their baby cry at all, or they won’t develop empathy or will be “emotionally damaged”.
These kind of statements place an idealistic and unfair pressure on parents, especially first time parents. Sleep deprivation is a contributing factor to post-natal depression and post-natal anxiety.
Sleep deprivation and post-natal depression
It has been proven over and over that sleep deprivation is a huge contributing factor for post-natal depression . Getting up 6 times a night is not normal and is asking mums to survive for the first year on 2-3 hours of consolidated sleep a night. Suggesting that co-sleeping is the answer is not at all supportive as if the child is still feeding 6 times a night that mother will still be getting broken sleep. A full night of broken sleep equates to only getting a few hours of sleep in total. Fragmented sleep is almost as bad as not sleeping at all.
Babies can go through the night on one feed until they are between 6-9 months. Feeding 6 times a night is excessive and not needed.
A study done by Medic, Wille and Hemels in 2017 showed that, “sleep disruptions have substantial adverse short- and long-term health consequences…Sleep disruption is associated with increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, metabolic effects, changes in circadian rhythms, and proinflammatory responses. In otherwise healthy adults, short-term consequences of sleep disruption include increased stress responsivity, somatic pain, reduced quality of life, emotional distress and mood disorders, and cognitive, memory, and performance deficits.” 
Dr. Avi Sadeh completed a study in 2014 where participants were assessed after both a normal (control) night's sleep and after a night during which sleep was either restricted to four hours or interrupted four times over the course of eight hours in bed. What he found was that fragmented night sleep is as bad for your mental and physical health as only sleeping 4 hours a night. Mums getting up 2-3 times will be lucky to get 4 hours consolidated sleep a night.
“These night wakings could be relatively short — only five to ten minutes — but they disrupt the natural sleep rhythm. The impact of such night wakings on an individual’s daytime alertness, mood, and cognitive abilities had never been studied. Our study is the first to demonstrate seriously deleterious cognitive and emotional effects.” 
Five to ten minutes is the time it would take to get up and breastfeed your baby back to sleep. Doing this for 2 to 3 times a night or more results in diminished daytime alertness, mood and cognitive ability.
The scary thing…Dr. Sadeh’s study was done on ONE night. Imagine the effects after months of broken sleep?
Parents of 2019 are bombarded with so much information and there are hundreds of bloggers out there giving their opinion on sleep training, none of which are backed by science and research. All this does is terrifies parents.
Blanket statements like the above let parents believe that if their baby cries in the first year they won’t develop compassion.
People often use the example of the children who are abandoned in Romanian orphanages to back up their point about empathy. They often tell the story of these children who are raised in an orphanage, never given any attention and are left to cry for hours, days and even weeks. Due to the severe neglect for a few months and years on end they actually end up not developing any empathy.
“Infants and young children expect an environment in which they are going to interact and receive nurturance, not only food, but psychological nurturance, from adult caregivers.” 
How can we relate behavior sleep training to abandoning a child in an orphanage for a couple of years? There just is no comparison.
The Center on the Developing Children at Harvard University has indeed studied the adult brains of these babies who were abandoned in Romania for years, and there are definite negative correlations between abandonment and brain development, including empathy. But there is no mention of this being applicable to the situation of sleep training. 
None what so ever.
So get rid of that mum guilt and unrealistic pressure. Do what is right for you and your family, whether that be sleep training or not. There is no judgement here, just the fact that I want to help achieve good restorative sleep for mums, dads and babies.
 Dørheim, S. K., Bondevik, G. T., Eberhard-Gran, M., & Bjorvatn, B. (2009). Sleep and Depression in Postpartum Women: A Population-Based Study. Sleep, 32(7), 847–855.
 Medic, G., Wille, M. and Hemels, M., Short- and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption, Nature and Science of Sleep. 2017; 9: 151–161.
 Michal Kahn, Shimrit Fridenson, Reut Lerer, Yair Bar-Haim, Avi Sadeh. Effects of one night of induced night-wakings versus sleep restriction on sustained attention and mood: a pilot study. Sleep Medicine, 2014; 15 (7): 825 DOI: 10.1016/j.sleep.2014.03.016
 Pappas, S., “Early Neglect Alters Kids Brains”, https://www.livescience.com/21778-early-neglect-alters-kids-brains.html
(Accessed, 19 June 2019)
 Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (2012). The Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain: Working Paper No. 12
Lauryn Stanlake - Infant and Child Sleep Consultant