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It's Official: Letting Your Baby Cry At Night Will Not Make Him a Distant, Emotionally Disturbed Psycho

sleep training, sleep methods, is it okay to let a baby cry at night

Is it okay to let a baby cry at night? Sure, as long as you don't totally ignore him.

The October issue of everyone’s favorite medical journal, Pediatrics, includes a new study which reveals that letting your baby cry it out a little bit during the process of sleep “training” won’t scar him for life. More specifically, “Behavioral techniques for getting babies to sleep by themselves, such as camping out in the child’s room initially, can be effective without any long-term downside for parents or children, clinical trial follow-up showed,” as MedPage Today put it.

Furthermore, sleep training “didn’t leave kids more distant from their parents or emotionally damaged,” researchers from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Parkville, Australia, concluded. It’s important to note that parents involved in the study did not completely ignore their baby’s cries, but did let them cry to some extent in order to teach them to self-soothe. MedPage Today stresses that completely ignoring a child’s cries can cause problems for them later in life. Interestingly, researchers say there are no lasting benefits to sleep training, either – but I think they’re ignoring the fact that a well-rested parent will feel much happier in the short term, which may affect the child’s life in the long-term, as well. I mean, it’s easy to get resentful towards a baby who won’t sleep. I can see how some parents might feel less enthralled with a kid who isn’t a good sleeper. MedPage Today says that “”camping out” to get kids to fall asleep and “controlled comforting” to teach them to settle down on their own by gradually lengthening intervals at which parents respond to crying did improve infants’ sleep and cut maternal depression by 60%.”

I used the whole move-slowly-out-the-door Supernanny sleep “training” method, but I never really found that I could “train” my daughter when it came to sleep. I think a lot of kids just have to figure it out on their own. My daughter was not a great sleeper as an infant or toddler, and as a pre-schooler it often took her a long time to fall asleep at night. She sleeps through the night now and – hallelujah! – has even stopped having bed-wetting accidents. I didn’t do anything to “train” her out of those, either, but she’s been going to play therapy and that seemed to solve the problem. So, in spite of the fact that some doctors say they have all the answers about things like bed-wetting, every kid is different, and they will all eventually learn how to sleep and stop soiling themselves, even if it takes a while.

Photo credit: iStock

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Learn more about Carolyn at her blog.
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Check out more from Carolyn on Babble:

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