Module: Sleep Environment
Facilitator: Erica Neser
Mum & Mum Dad’s room Dad
Spare room Ben
Ann Ann & Ben’s room
a) Study Figure 1 carefully, paying special attention to the positions of Mum, Dad,
Ann and Ben.
b) Now take a pair of scissors and cut along the dotted line around figure 1 as
indicated. Place the diagram in a large file. This file should be used for storing
any information starting with the words “You should always …”, “By now your
baby should be …”, “My child will never be allowed …”, “I will never …”, “In our
day, we always/never …” et cetera.
Ben Mum ? Ann Dad Ben
Ben Ben Ann Ben Mum
Ann Dad Mum ?
c) Now study Figure 2, again paying special attention to the positions of Mum, Dad,
Ann and Ben.
d) Cut along the dotted line as indicated and stick the diagram on your fridge for
e) Read through the following section and complete the test at the end.
The Family Bed
Independent sleeping is relatively new in human history and the family bed was the
norm until about 100 years ago, and still is in most parts of the world. Certainly, no
prehistoric cave-dwelling parents would have had separate caves for their babies!
It is quite natural for babies to want closeness, day and night. Most of us still prefer to
share our bed with a loved one, and the need for physical closeness is never truly
outgrown. Having said that, your children will not be in your bed forever. Most children
want to have their own bed sooner or later! Studies have shown that bed sharing is not
only safe when practiced sensibly, but also helps children grow into secure and well-
? No one has to get up – especially convenient in winter. ? Baby feels warm and safe.
? Parents feel secure knowing baby is right there with them.
? If baby has kicked off her blanket, she can simply be tucked in again.
? For many babies, this is the only place they get any significant stretches of sleep.
? If you are away from home, baby‟s sleep may not be interrupted as much.
(A co-sleeping ? Baby can help herself to the breast without really waking mummy.
mother may breastfeed more often, but still gets the same amount of deep sleep as a
mother with her baby in a separate room.)
? Can deepen the bonding between parents and baby.
? Promotes breastfeeding, increases milk production and inhibits ovulation.
? Co-sleeping decreases the amount of crying at night.
? When co-sleeping is practiced as a parenting choice, it is generally a positive and
satisfying experience for both parents.
? Parents may not sleep very well with baby sleeping between them – some babies
thrash their arms and legs, and make a lot of noise while asleep.
? Parents‟ movements may disturb baby during sleep.
? Parents may feel a loss of privacy and intimacy.
? Some babies help themselves to a feed more regularly than the mother would prefer.
? Even the staunch family bed supporters admit it works best with only one child at a
time. Not so easy with two or more!
? It may be hard to leave baby with a babysitter for the night.
? You may need to buy a bigger bed!
You should not sleep with your baby on a couch, on a waterbed, if you and/or your
partner smoke, if your toddler already shares your bed, if you have been using alcohol or
medication that makes you very drowsy.
Baby in her own room
Many parents prefer to create a special little space for their children to sleep, and go to
a lot of trouble to make the nursery cheerful and cosy for their baby. Most parents agree
that it would be nice if their children could all sleep in their own rooms – preferably
right through the night! Even through this is a relatively new „trend‟ in human history, it
is widely accepted in Western culture that each child has their own bed, if not their own
room, and many parents see this as the ideal.
? Parents may sleep more soundly, not hearing every noise baby makes.
? Parents have their bed to themselves, with more privacy.
? Parents‟ movements do not disturb baby during sleep.
? You may desperately need some time to yourself and body space, especially if you
have spent the whole day nurturing your children.
? Parents may lie awake worrying if baby is OK.
? Someone has to get up if baby calls.
? Parents and baby may miss each other during the night. Parents can experience
separation anxiety too!
Many families do a combination of these options. You might decide to have baby in your
bed until she reaches a certain age, or you might prefer to have baby sleep the first half
of the night in her own bed, and the rest of the night in the family bed. If the family bed
is not working, try putting baby in her own bed. If she is not sleeping at all in her own
bed, try the family bed! Don‟t worry what others will say or think. You are the one who
has to get some sleep, not them.
Indicate which statement is true:
1. Deciding where your baby will sleep
a) is best left to the experts
b) should be done according to what your friends and relatives advise
c) should be should be done before your baby is born, preferably before you
d) is a very personal matter
2. The following people must reach consensus on where baby will sleep
d) The neighbours
3. Your child will start sleeping through when
a) you let her sleep in your bed
b) you sleep in her bed
c) she is ready to sleep through
d) she leaves home
4. The best sleep environment for baby is
a) in your bed
b) in her own bed
c) in a cot next to your bed
d) where everyone in the family gets the most sleep
e) in the Bahamas
5. Babies should preferably be
a) ignored when they cry at night
b) sleep trained before they are born
c) seen and not heard
d) loved to bits, even though they don‟t sleep through
6. Your baby may sleep in your bed
a) as long as she wants to
b) until she moves out of the house
c) until you have another baby
d) until she has her own baby
e) as long as you‟re comfortable with it
7. If your relatives criticise your sleeping arrangements, you should
a) nod politely and do whatever works for you and your family
b) agree with everything they say, and do whatever works for you and your
c) leave your children with them for a weekend
d) distract them and eat all their chocolate cake when they‟re not looking
8. A co-sleeping mother
a) sleeps less than a non-co-sleeping mother
b) sleeps more than a non-co-sleeping mother
c) breastfeeds more often but gets the same amount of sleep as a non-co-
d) will have synchronised sleep cycles with her baby
e) don‟t know and too tired to care
9. When in the family bed, babies sleep
a) parallel to their parents
b) across both their parents oc) at 90 with their parents
d) upside down
10. Memorise the following statements
a) My baby will turn out fine, not because of everything I do, but in spite of it.
b) No-one is a perfect parent.
c) There is no “right” or “wrong” place for my baby to sleep.
d) I am doing a good job, even if my baby wakes every hour.
11. Practical assignment
a) If your baby is asleep, go into her room very quietly and watch her angelic
b) If your baby is awake, give her a long, sweet kiss and cuddle
c) If your partner is awake, give him/her a long, sweet kiss and cuddle
Congratulations! You are now ready to start the next module of Parenting 101!