The ‘Harvard Study’ researchers…in the flesh

I found this interesting ABC piece on infant sleep training (apparently televised last year) over at the Drs. Weissbluth blog. It’s not very long, seems journalistically well-balanced, and there are short interviews with some of the important players in the infant sleep industry: Ferber, T. Berry Brazelton, and pere Weissbluth himself.

Of particular interest to me, though, is the interview with Michael Commons and Patrice Miller, the husband-and-wife team of psychologists from Harvard responsible for the notorious Harvard non-study. You can find it about 3:55 minutes into the video:

Other than the self-satisfied looks on both their faces, I have to say they weren’t quite what I was expecting. I certainly wasn’t expecting them to sink quite so low with comparisons to Hitler and Saddam Hussein’s supposed parenting – which Miller tries to soften just a bit (probably because she belatedly realized how off-the-wall her husband sounds). Even if much of the interview was sane and edited out for brevity…they did say it. Contrast the absolute certainty Commons displays in 2008, as compared to this relatively cautious interview 10 years previously…and it’s not because the duo has done further research into the matter, mind. Nor has anyone else come up with actual research corroborating their conclusions in the interval.

What do you think?


7 Responses

  1. I laughed. I cried. It became a part of me.

  2. Oh FFS. Because letting your baby cry while you’re checking on them every five minutes is EXACTLY THE SAME as abandoning them in a Romanian orphanage.

  3. Esther what about rolling over on the baby? Is that a real concern? I was told with my Son (who is 11 now) that I should cosleep and that any parent who rolls over and suffocates her child is either on some sort of drug or alcohol. Including cough medicine. I was told this from a Lactation consultant who was also a nurse.

    When I had my Daughter 24 years ago, the medical folks said, “what ever you do, don’t fall asleep with your baby in your bed.” That I could crush her. I was really afraid of her getting hurt in that manner so I never even fell asleep with her in my arms in a chair! Then 13 years later they tell me in order for breast feeding to work, I need to cosleep with my baby. I did end up cosleeping with him and not crushing him. But I don’t think I ever slept very well. And I was able to breast feed him for 10 months.

    So this whole concept is very very confusing to me.

  4. I doubt cosleeping has anything to do with breastfeeding. I was never able to really breastfeed in bed well, and I definitely sleep better on my own. My baby did not sleep well from day 1 unless she was with us. Then, gradually, she’d sleep more and more of the night in the bassinet and then in the crib. Since I’d change her every time I fed her, I don’t think that feeding her in the bed would have helped much. I did almost all the nighttime feedings to a)keep up supply and b) keep my boobies from getting really uncomfortable.
    Now she pretty much sleeps through the night (12 hours) in her crib, and I just sleep with her for naptimes (she sleeps, I sleep– win/win).
    Still breastfeeding at 5 months.

  5. Interestingly (and tangentially) enough, I found a recent study from this year which did a personality disorder analysis on Hitler, Saddam and Kim Jong-il. Needless to say, none of them scored very high on the borderline personality disorder scale.

  6. The guy who suggested letting a child CIO will breed a Hitler or Saddam Hussein is crazy!

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