Dr. Pamela Douglas on the importance of infant sleep

Dr. Pamela Douglas talks about the importance of sleep for infants during the webinar.

Dr. Pamela Douglas talks about the importance of sleep for infants during the webinar.

Raul Padilla, Reporter

October continues BC’s Distinguished Speaker events with the arrival of Dr. Pamela Douglas, an Australian general practitioner, invited to share her research and thoughts on the modern-day problem of infants and how their sleep affects both them and their parents. The event was on Oct. 7, at 7 p.m. via Zoom Webinar.

Douglas is one of the founders of a program known as Possums, which is a study into the health of infants and their health habits. Additionally, they study various techniques for parents to use in order to help promote a healthy lifestyle and growth of babies, with the goal of “countering the roadblock of huge amounts of conflicting advice” according to Douglas. 

In her presentation, Douglas explained how studies into infant care go as far back the 1950’s. Shortly after the conclusion of World War 2, was a concept known as “First-Wave- Behaviorism.” A study that promoted now common ideas about how to treat infants. 

These include avoiding dark rooms while infants are awake, making sure they get extended periods of sleep, and training infants to sleep through the night before they can.

“There’s no evidence that bringing in first wave behavioral approaches in very early life actually improves sleep or developmental outcomes. And this can be quite surprising information.” Douglas added.

The truth about infant sleep is that it is very biologically dependent on the baby themselves. It can vary greatly based on many factors that can be difficult to pinpoint. 

Infant needs are heavily biologically based, meaning that each one needs a different answer dependent on the need. “Trying to shake the biology, normal biology of infant sleep, we can end up making family’s lives much more difficult than they need to be” she explains.

Douglas then presents her online resource, “Possumsonline.com”, a site dedicated to providing answers to the many obstacles a parent may face when raising their baby.

The website is a free resource that addresses many problems new parents may have with their infant, along with ways to improve the relationship between parent and child.

It offers videos, articles, blogs, podcasts, as well as information on their new book, “The Discontented Little Baby” available on Amazon.


The front cover of Douglas’ new book to help parents both before and after having their child.