Allowing Babies Cry Rather Than Rushing To Comfort Them Is Secret To Longer Sleep

It might tear at your heart strings and induce unbearable feelings of guilt. But parents should not automatically rush to the cotside when their baby is screaming rather than sleeping soundly.

Allowing infants to cry for a short time rather than immediately comforting them does no harm, say scientists. In fact, both babies and parents will end up sleeping longer – and be far less stressed.

Researchers said that, rather than always going to comfort babies, mothers and fathers should follow certain techniques that teach them to settle themselves.

These include ‘controlled crying’, where the parent waits a certain length of time before soothing the child. Initially, it may be every two minutes on the first night, increasing to five minutes for the second, ten for the third and so on, until the baby learns to settle itself.

Another method the researchers found was effective was ‘camping out’, where the parent sits in the child’s room while they ‘teach’ themselves to fall back to sleep. Although it sounds a little cold-hearted, the team from the University of Melbourne found that, eventually, both parents and babies end up sleeping longer.

This means parents are less stressed and, in particular, reduces the mother’s chance of suffering post-natal depression.

The researchers said leaving babies to cry for a short time does no long-term damage to their mental health or behaviour. This is despite other evidence that babies left to cry become stressed.

Importantly, however, the research only involved babies who were at least seven months old, as some experts believe very young infants should not be left to cry.

Lead author Dr Anna Price said: ‘For parents who are looking for help, techniques like controlled comforting and camping out work and are safe to use, so families and health professionals can really feel comfortable using them.’

But she made it clear parents should not simply shut the bedroom door and let babies cry through the night, only checking on them the next morning.

Leaving A Baby To Cry For A Short Time Rather Than Rushing To Comfort Them Does The Child No Harm, A Research Has Found
Culled From Daily Mail.