Cry it out. It’s one of the many (many, many) parenting subjects that get the ‘discussion’ going. Some are for it; sleep filled nights here we come. Others go so far as to call the method cruel.
But an article published this week in The Wall Street Journal has again got the hearts a-racing.
Leading doctors from Tribeca Pediatrics’ in the US have come out to say that not only do they support parents using the cry it out method (or extinction method), but that parents have the most success in babies as young as two months of age. Yep, eight weeks old.
“It actually works better at 2 months than at 4 months. It is tougher when the baby is used to more soothing,” says Dr. Cohen one of the supporting paediatricians at Tribeca.
Parents are being told to begin sleep training as early as two months of age. (istock)
Extinction sleep training says that after bedtime parents should not intervene with their child getting to sleep and instead should allow them to develop their own self soothing strategies.
While the theory undeniably has it's critics, there are studies that indicate sleep training methods possess no long-term harm to a child's emotional development, stress regulation, mental health or relationship with their parents.
However, the recommendation from Tribeca is in conflict what what is generally advised to parents who want to try the method, and has been criticised by other professionals generally in favour of the approach. Typically parents are told to wait until a baby is at least four to six months old before attempting any self-soothing strategies.
Dr Deborah Golboa told the Today show in the US that she has serious concerns with these recommendations being made and says that control crying a child as young as eight weeks can have detrimental effects in the long term. She says "The research is pretty compelling that up until 6 months, kids benefit by being picked up when they cry. To be left to cry it out for 20 minutes, half an hour, or an hour at a time, causes trauma at that age."