Infant sleep training study suggests a gentle approach to the 'cry it out' scheduling method does no harm. But it's not likely to end the emotional debates among bleary parents.
Ah, sleep training. Forget mommy wars and the pros and cons of extended breastfeeding. Forget, even, the presidential campaign and those questions about the role of government or the health care law. If you want to get new parents riled up and arguing – if, that is, they’re not too tired – drop the “cry it out: pro or con?” bomb and see what happens.
There’s a study published online in the journal “Pediatrics” today that shines some new light on this emotional debate. (And let me tell you, debates get all sorts of emotional at 3 a.m. when you’re wondering how the toddler can be fast asleep in your arms and then snap suddenly awake as soon as you rest her in her crib.)
But before getting into these new findings, some context:
For those of you who do not have babies, or who have simply blocked out those first two years of bedtime battles and 2 a.m. sniffles, you might not recognize the desperate dominance of the “how the heck do I get this kid to sleep” question. But not only does this quandary have a direct impact on parents’ health, work, relationship, and quality of life (just try functioning with a daily fear of three-hour bedtime routines and multiple wake-ups during a too-short night’s sleep), it seems that everyone out there has an opinion about how to get baby sweetly into dreamland.