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The Appropriateness of ‘cry It Out’ Sleep Method

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Parents are willing to try just about anything when it comes to putting their baby to sleep and the “cry it out” technique, also known as the CIO is a great way to add some much needed time to their child’s sleep. However, in the parenting community, sleep training can be quite stressful for them especially when parents’ have to resist the urge to comfort their baby whenever it cries (Greggel, 2016). But for some reason “crying it out” is something that many parents are often resorting to, so why is that? For a lot of parents, especially first time parents, you’re sleep deprived, stressed and would love for some more time (Kehoe, 2016). You debate whether the CIO method is the best for your baby. Nevertheless, you end up leaving them for a little while crying.

After a little while longer you worry that it may damage the bond between you and your baby, then you assume it’s too much stress and give up (Cruz, 2018). But what if I told you there has been a recent Australian study from Flinders University proving that it doesn’t actually cause stress or long term bonding damage, in fact, it’s the opposite (Laleche, 2016). In an Australian study at Flinders University, they had found 43 sets of parents with babies between 6 and 16 months who had trouble with sleeping. These parents and babies were then put into three different groups (Laleche, 2016) One of the groups were taught about “Graduate Extinction” Where parents gradually extend the time of seeing the baby before soothing them (Brusie, 2018).

The second group was taught about “Bedtime Fading” where their babies were put to bed around the time which they usually go to sleep while the parents’ were still in the room (Cruz, 2018) and the last group were information about sleep training but no specific instructions. To be able to measure the babies’ and mothers’ level of stress also known as cortisol, researchers would collect their saliva during the mornings and afternoons. After three months’ the results showed that there were no major differences of stress level throughout the three groups. Researchers also found that babies in the “Graduate Extinction” group fell asleep 15 minutes quicker than the babies in the “Control Group” and several minutes faster than the “Bedtime Fading” group. Researchers also found that the babies in the “Bedtime Fading” group slept better than the “Graduate Extinction” and “Control Group”.

The study also found that the mothers’ moods improved over time in all three groups, but that this improvement was especially strong for those in the bedtime fading group. Soon after the baby’s sleep got better the parents’ sleep followed, allowing a much happier home. Therefore while the “crying it out” method may not be for all parents, a large number of families would benefit from less than a month of sleep training with minimal effort. With so many households benefiting from sleep training it is no wonder why it’s gaining popularity young mothers.

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