*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Friday, 21 October 2011


If you don't care about babies or human instincts, you can skip this post.

The Ferber fascists are strident.  They're also wrong.  Their explanation is you are training the baby, by gradually lengthened crying, to sleep through the night by themselves.  However, this is a baby, not an adult human.  They're giving the baby a lot more credit for understanding the message they are trying to impart (more on that later) than most adults would deserve.  You know why a baby cries when it is left alone?  Same reason a baby bird or dog does, it's afraid it's going to be abandoned forever.

And why the hell do they think it is so important for an infant to sleep alone?  You get some Freudian explanations from most of them: Freudian justifications tend to give you more, unwanted, insight into the person using one than the subject.  Do any of our primate relatives make their babies sleep alone?  What about mammals in general?  Oh, but we are different.  No, we really aren't, least of all for an infant.  It's worth noting that most cultures do not have such stupid parenting ideas, and their kids are better served by them.  Ferberizing your baby gives the baby the same message as buying them a nanny while you stay at work, and sending her - the kid's real mother from the kid's experience - back to the Philippines when you're done with her: the kid is not a high priority.

Trust me, putting the kid in another room is not going to get you more sleep: you have to get out of bed and go down the hall to feed him.  Mind you, if you have him completely traumatized so that he's learned to stay silent all night so no predator gets him during his abandonment...  You think you're going to get to have sex with your wife sooner?  Nope, he'll cry in the middle of the few times you are both not too tired to be in the mood.  You're better off having him asleep in your bed and going off to the living room couch while he lets you.

It's actually nice to have the little one in bed with you.  You learn a lot more about him, as well as being able to do your duties as a parent during the night, rather than leave him to his fate.  Roll onto him and smother him?  Just how drunk, obese or stoned do you think you'd have to be?  Well... that does account for about half of N.Americans, but you might want to do something about your lifestyle rather than cast off your issue.

%$#@.  It's only in the West, the same place that took the story of an empathetic man of integrity and made it into a magic-ridden, anti-sexual, justification for the authoritarianism of boy-diddling eunuchs, that anyone'd even listen to Ferber's $#!+.


  1. Though I've never given it much thought, I think it'd be easier, but also beneficial for the baby, if the parents sleep with the baby. It just seems more "mammalian."

    Around what age do you think it's best for a child to be sleeping in his/her own room/bed, i.e., not with his/her parents?

  2. Don't have an answer to your question. Am new at this, and the kid's not even two. Wonder when the Japanese let go? As the wife is, that's going to be the deciding factor.

  3. My grandfathers generation built a new industrialized nation ,retooled it for war and then rebuilt themselves and the countries they destroyed. Whatever their parents did seemed to work well.

  4. Chris, that generation sure had more integrity, though I think that was often taken advantage of by the people sending them to war. Back to this post, do you mean they co-slept, or not? If 'old-country', I'll bet they did.

  5. I agree- to a point. I really hate that western society thinks that there is only one right answer - sleeping in cribs all night. I hate that it's a competition between parents, and having a baby who sleeps by herself is seen as somehow winning the parent contest. I also hate that there are bodies of professionals (US pediatricians) who warn against co-sleeping. What they should warn against is beds, but that's another matter.

    However! No two kids are alike. My first needed to co-sleep, he and we were much better for it. My second, however, hated to co-sleep. She was much happier sleeping on her own futon in our room, away from us. She whimpered herself to sleep for about 3 minutes. Well, that worked for about a year and then we moved and she decided she wanted to co-sleep, but that's the way it is with kids- once you get used to something they changes it all up.

    I guess that's what I hate about the Ferber fascists- no room for change depending on the situation or the personality of the parents/kids.

  6. Medea, you put your kids' needs first. You don't need me to tell you that makes you the right kind of parent.

    Another thing about Ferberization: it's about mother getting back in the workforce, but it's gussied up in child-rearing theory to hide that. I'm not judging the women who choose to out of financial need, but for those fortunate not to have the financial need, you got to wonder about priorities: there is birth control. Don't accuse me of sexism, because in a two-parent household both are complicit, even if it is the gender the baby prefers (breat-feeding*, or not, mother) who will be going back to work, or remaining home.

    *Another minefield!