You might have heard about a recent study At Flinders University that's been reported on CNN, The Today Show and Popsugar Moms that found that the "cry it out" method, as it's known to some, can be effective—and not at all detrimental to the child. Now, you may be thinking, "That's terrible. I could never endure my baby's pleas for attention at bedtime." And maybe for your family, it's not the best option. But here's what the researchers learned:
They tested three groups of families with babies at least 6 months old:
1. a control group
2. a "cry it out" group (called graduated extinction)
3. a delayed bedtime group (called bedtime fading)
And as it turned out, the babies in the cry method—in which parents wait and increasing amount of time before comforting babies at bedtime—fell asleep 13 minutes sooner and woke up significantly less often than the control group. While the faders fell asleep 10 minutes sooner than the control with no change in the number of times they might wake up at night. And a year later, all babies in all of the groups seemed no worse for wear.
“It’s natural for parents to worry about having their babies cry at bedtime,” says Associate Professor Gradisar, senior lecturer at Flinders School of Psychology. “While it’s well documented that sleep deprivation can cause family distress, including maternal depression, we’re hoping these results will add another element to how parents view their responses and how they manage their own and their babies’ sleep behaviour.”
Learn more about each method here.