Why Do Babies Cry? - Conclusion

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
November 30, 2017
03 Oct 2013, France --- Pediatric nurse is examining a newborn baby a few minutes after the birth. --- Image by © AMELIE-BENOIST / BSIP/BSIP/Corbis

Is it okay to let Babies cry it out?

About 15 to 20 percent of children age six months and up are still awake enough during the night to worry their parents.

There are strategies to try. If you’ve put your child in bed and she’s crying, you can try waiting two minutes to respond and then gradually upping the wait to 6 minutes. That’s called “graduated extinction.” You can also try a technique called “bedtime fading” with several features, including moving bedtime in the desired direction by about fifteen minutes every two nights or so. Again, your child may cry.

With either method, you probably don’t have to worry that you’ve damaged your child’s psyche, according to a well-designed 2016 study. Researchers, following a group of children (ages 6 months to 16 months) whose parents said that they had a “sleep problem,” divided them into three groups: the controls, who continued as usual, and a group subjected to bedtime fading and another subjected to graduated extinction.

After a year, mothers completed assessments of their children’s emotional and behavioral problems, and the researchers put the mother-child pairs through an experiment to judge how attached they were. It turned out that there were no signs that the children who had been nudged to sleep — which involved some “crying it out” – had more problems or a less secure attachment style. And these children had better nights, falling asleep more quickly and awakening less often than the controls.


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