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It’s O.K. to Let Babies Cry It Out at Bedtime
by abra
February 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM


Mother and baby girl (2-5 months) sleeping together
GETTY IMAGES

When infants can’t sleep, it usually means Mom and Dad aren’t getting much shut-eye either. That, in turn, can double the risk of depressive symptoms in mothers, cause strife in marriages and result in costly trips to the pediatrician.

For wiped-out parents wondering whether or not to sleep-train their restless babies, a new study in Pediatrics has some good news: strategies that let babies cry it out for limited periods while teaching them to sleep on their own can help families sleep better in the short term without causing long-term psychological damage in kids or weakening the bond between babies and parents.

The study looked at two sleep-training methods known as controlled comforting and camping out, both of which let babies cry it out for short amounts of time. Controlled comforting requires the parent to respond to their child’s cries at increasingly longer intervals to try to encourage the baby to settle down on her own. In camping out, the parent sits in a chair next to the child as he learns to fall asleep; slowly, over time, parents move the chair farther and farther away, until they are out of the room and the infant falls asleep alone.

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While neither strategy is as extreme as letting babies cry all night by themselves, they have been criticized over concerns that they may cause long-term emotional or psychological harm in babies, interfere with their ability to manage stress or cripple their relationship with their parents.

The new study by Australian researchers involved 326 children who had parent-reported sleep problems at 7 months. Half of the babies were put in the sleep-training group, in which parents learned helpful bedtime routines as well as the controlled-comforting or camping-out technique (parents could choose which strategy they wanted to use), and half were put in a control group that did not use sleep-training. The researchers followed up with the participants and their parents five years later. (By the study’s end, about 30% of families had dropped out.)

By age 6, the researchers found no significant differences between the kids in either group in terms of emotional health, behavior or sleep problems. In fact, slightly more children in the control group had emotional or behavioral problems than in the sleep-trained group.

Researchers also found no differences in mothers’ levels of depression or anxiety, or in the strength of parent-child bonds between families who had used sleep-training and those who hadn’t.

Meanwhile, earlier data from the study show that sleep-training does work: babies learn to go to sleep easier at bedtime and stay asleep longer at night. Based on the findings, the authors conclude that sleep-training is safe and effective, and call for an increase in parent education about these methods as well as more training for health specialists to recommend the procedures.



Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/09/10/its-o-k-to-let-babies-cry-it-out-at-bedtime/#ixzz2K3FWXMsz

Replies

  • expectantmom81
    February 5, 2013 at 1:46 PM
    We did CIO with both joys and would do it again :-)
  • kameka
    by kameka
    February 5, 2013 at 1:47 PM
    If I had to I would do the camping out method but luckily my younger two didnt need any help getting to sleep. I'm curious to see what others think.
  • audreesmama
    February 5, 2013 at 1:48 PM
    I would never let my babies CIO. To me it's cruel and heartless. Why have kids if you're just going to ignore them?
  • Hi_Rae
    by Hi_Rae
    February 5, 2013 at 1:49 PM
    I still won't ever use CIO
  • AleaKat
    by AleaKat
    February 5, 2013 at 1:49 PM
    Same here. If I'm up all night tending to crying baby ill be an even worse mother when I'm falling on my face from exhaustion.

    Quoting expectantmom81:

    We did CIO with both joys and would do it again :-)
  • SewingMamaLele
    February 5, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Which is exactly why we co-sleep.   Baby isn't ignored, we all get to sleep.   Win-win-win.

    Quoting AleaKat:

    Same here. If I'm up all night tending to crying baby ill be an even worse mother when I'm falling on my face from exhaustion.

    Quoting expectantmom81:

    We did CIO with both joys and would do it again :-)


  • lauratupper
    February 5, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    My ds has always been a wonderful sleeper, we never had to do anything to encourage it.

  • AleaKat
    by AleaKat
    February 5, 2013 at 1:56 PM
    I toss and turn too much in my sleep. I'd be too paranoid baby would get squished or something and then when the time comes to break them of that habit it's hell.

    Quoting SewingMamaLele:

    Which is exactly why we co-sleep.   Baby isn't ignored, we all get to sleep.   Win-win-win.

    Quoting AleaKat:

    Same here. If I'm up all night tending to crying baby ill be an even worse mother when I'm falling on my face from exhaustion.



    Quoting expectantmom81:

    We did CIO with both joys and would do it again :-)


  • pinkiebabii
    February 5, 2013 at 1:58 PM
    I'll believe the studies that actually tested babies stress level while crying it out over this one where they went back five years later and mom said oh he is fine and that was the end of that.

    It is very selfish to let your baby CIO. It isn't even reccomended before 6 months and there are awful mothers who do this to there little babies who need comfort and love.

    I agree with the fact that CIO works but that is because you teach your child you (general) are an unreliable mother who doesn't care enough about them to pick them up when they need you so they stop asking for you.
  • SewingMamaLele
    February 5, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    It's actually not.  I've done it twice already and have two really good independent sleepers with very little fuss.   I think if you push when the child isn't ready it would be hard... but it's just all about knowing your child.  

    Quoting AleaKat:

    I toss and turn too much in my sleep. I'd be too paranoid baby would get squished or something and then when the time comes to break them of that habit it's hell.

    Quoting SewingMamaLele:

    Which is exactly why we co-sleep.   Baby isn't ignored, we all get to sleep.   Win-win-win.

    Quoting AleaKat:

    Same here. If I'm up all night tending to crying baby ill be an even worse mother when I'm falling on my face from exhaustion.



    Quoting expectantmom81:

    We did CIO with both joys and would do it again :-)



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