Should you use the ‘crying down’ /’crying it out’ method to help baby sleep through the night?
Several studies have shown that the crying down method of training a baby to sleep through the night (see Helping Baby Sleep ) is effective at reducing sleep problems and producing less stress in parents.
Some studies also show that a baby sleeping through the night has a beneficial effect on the whole family. Parents, older children and baby were found to be calmer and healthier and generally more peaceful when the baby stopped crying in the night. These findings are from controlled scientifically validated research.
The point of using the CIO method is to stop your baby from crying in the future. Babies who are comforted when they cry will continue to cry any time they feel like it and want their parents to comfort them, so in the end they may cry more than babies under the CIO method, resulting in more developmental damage. I could not find a double-blind, controlled study that said that the CIO method caused more damage than the attachment method…
In the studies that support the idea that babies who are allowed to “cry it out” will later have development problems, the researchers merely research how CRYING affects a child later in life– in other words, they assume that a baby who “cries it out” will spend more of her infancy crying than a baby that is comforted when she cries. However, as Richard Ferber and many “cry it out” experts detail, the point of using the CIO method is to stop your baby from crying in the future. Babies who are comforted when they cry will continue to cry any time they feel like it and want their parents to comfort them, so in the end they may cry more than babies under the CIO method, resulting in more developmental damage. I could not find a double-blind, controlled study that said that the CIO method caused more damage than the attachment method.
I found some studies which confirm that infants who are allowed to cry rather than be comforted immediately will end up crying less. One could take that to mean that the arguments of the scientists who say “crying it out” is bad because of the harsh effects that crying has on babies’ development are geared to the wrong theory– that in fact, “crying it out” results in an end result of crying less, so it results in better brain development than the attachment method. Under the attachment theory, the babies will cry more and have improper brain development. …
Never in any of these studies is a mother who attends to the baby during the day and lets him/her “cry it out” at night shown to have caused an attachment disorder. ( Research Crying it Out in Google Answers 18 Oct 2006 )
These studies show no problems occurred and in fact there were big advantages shown in families where the CIO (crying it out) method was used.
I used this method for all three of my children who never showed any ill effects from it. The first time I did this I was a little nervous. My baby cried for about 20 minutes the first night, which was hard to bear, but the second night he cried for only 10 minutes and on the third he didn’t wake at all. This pattern was the same for all 3 of them.
At one stage I had 3 children under 4 years old but getting enough sleep meant the daytime was much easier. I am sure I was a more patient and loving mother because I was not sleep deprived.
There was no controversy over “crying it out” or “crying down” when I was having babies so I was confident about doing it. It is much harder now when parents worry that “crying it out” may harm their baby. How can they leave their dear little one to cry unless they are completely confident that this is the right thing to do? I am sorry for today’s parents who have this to worry about.