Articles 237 out of 439 | Showing 1 records/page
New parents under pressure from parenting gurus about child sleep patterns, study finds
Date of article: 07-Aug-12
Article By: Rachel Baker, News Editor
New parents feel they face unnecessary pressure from parenting gurus who claim that newborns should sleep through the night, the UK’s biggest ever child sleep study has found.
To mark the start of National Child Sleep Week, which runs from Monday August 6 to Sunday August 12, the research examined sleep habits for newborns to children aged ten of 10,766 UK families. Run in conjunction with the UK parenting website Netmums, National Child Sleep Week aims to help families struggling with their child’s sleep routine.
The research found:
• Just 26 per cent of newborns sleep through the night by 12 weeks of age – the time when many parenting experts claim newborns should sleep through by.
• Fewer than two thirds (63 per cent) of babies go through the night with unbroken sleep by 12 months.
• More than three quarters of children sleep through the night by two-years-of-age, but a considerable 16 per cent of parents say their older children still ‘wake regularly’ at night time.
• One in 50 mums and dads are so desperate for sleep they have hired a sleep specialist – at a cost of up to £1,000 a week!
The research found that the most common age for children to start enjoying a full night’s sleep without interruption is between seven and nine months, with 56 per cent of tots sleeping soundly by this age. Sadly, the pressure to be a ‘perfect parent’ is worrying new mums and dads so much that a third of parents admit they lie about their children’s sleep patterns, with one fifth of these pretending their child is sleeping through when they are not.
The parents surveyed revealed they also frequently cover up how badly they are coping with sleep deprivation (62 per cent of the third who lied). A further quarter (24 per cent of the third who lied) were also untruthful about co-sleeping with their children.
Throughout this year’s National Child Sleep Week, there will be free online sleep clinics and question and answer sessions on Netmums.com with sleep-specialist health visitors. There will also be opportunities to chat to parents online about coping when suffering sleep deprivation, along with relationship experts who will help new mums and dads keep their home life on track.
The research found that the traditional method of enforcing sleep routines is still the most popular way to teach babies to sleep with almost two in five families using routines (38 per cent). Controlled crying was successful for 37 per cent of new parents, whilst one in eight co-sleep with a quarter (25 per cent) letting children sleep in their parents’ bed ‘occasionally’. One in five desperate parents have even tried driving their children in the car until they fall asleep while one in 33 are turning to modern devices such as the burgeoning sleep apps industry.
Sadly for new parents, a quarter of all UK children wake before 6.30am everyday which means their parents never get adequate rest which can result in accidents due to sleep deprivation. New parents have reported serious incidents such as accidentally starting fires in the kitchen by placing baby sterilising equipment on the hob through lack of sleep, while others have collapsed through lack of sleep and have been hospitalised.
The UK’s biggest ever child sleep study found the nation’s favourite bed time is between 7pm to 7.30pm with over a third of children getting tucked up in bed at this hour, followed by one in five between 7.30pm to 8pm. A goodnight kiss is Britain’s favourite night-time routine, followed by 97 per cent of families every night. Four in five families give children a pre-bed drink while 57 per cent read a bedtime story. And 56 per cent of children sleep with a much-loved soft toy while over a quarter doze with a dummy.
The study found children still love to hear a made up bed time story and three in ten parents do this every week.
One in 33 families don’t put young children to bed until 9.30pm or later and a further three per cent admit they do not have set bedtime, which leaves their children exhausted.
Parents revealed they are confused about the best source of information to get help on sleep problems. One in five parents have turned to the web for sleep advice including chatting with other parents and experts on Netmums, along with 20 per cent who ask for help from friends and family and 21 per cent who discuss problem with their heath visitor. Netmums Health Visitor and sleep specialist Maggie Fisher said: “Sleep is key to health – for both parents and children. Without adequate sleep, parents can feel they are struggling to cope, be at risk of depression or see their relationship suffer.
“While many so-called parenting gurus are well meaning, they can set unrealistic expectations of babies’ sleep patterns, and when children don’t follow it, parents feel like failures and are convinced they are doing something ‘wrong’.
“This research shows there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to children’s sleep. Different approaches work for different families and even different children within the same family, and for National Child Sleep Week, we aim to help you find what will work best for you.”
Hollie Smith, author of the Netmums book Baby Sleep Solutions, comments: “We know from the conversations on our forums that lack of sleep is a huge problem for many families but even so, it was a shock to hear so many tales of desperation.
“Sadly, parents come under huge pressure to have babies or toddlers who sleep through the night before six months when the reality is that many don’t reach that milestone until later. A full night’s sleep becomes something of a holy grail when you’re an exhausted new parent, so perhaps it’s not surprising that some even feel the need to lie about it.
“Fortunately there are lots of things parents can do, both to pre-empt sleep problems and to reverse them. It’s just a case of finding out which way suits you and your family.”