When your baby cries in the middle of the night, it is a natural instinct to run to your new baby and comfort her. After a few rounds, this can leave you exhausted, and that causes stress.
Being stressed can foster symptoms of depression, and that can cause issues in your marriage. New research suggests that pursuing sleep training with your infant will give everyone more sleep and an improved lifestyle.
Crying it out
You’ve probably heard conflicting opinions about whether to let your baby cry it out. Some consider this unacceptable, and assert that parents should immediately soothe a crying baby the second he begins to make noise.
Others believe that letting an infant work it out for a few minutes is fine, as long as you don’t let it cry for an extended period of time. Still others believe that if baby is not sick, hungry, or dirty, crying it out is acceptable.
Crying it out and parent-child bonds
One of the biggest concerns is whether letting the infant cry it out it will affect your bond. Do babies whose parents respond immediately feel safer and more secure, or do they even notice that their parents spend a few extra minutes allowing the crying to continue?
Researchers followed several hundred families, half of whom participated in a sleep training program. The results indicated there was no difference in the strength of the parent-child bond whether infants were allowed to cry it out or their parents responded immediately.
The study recommended two methods of sleep training. The first is camping out. To camp out, you sit in a chair next to your baby’s crib each night when you put her to sleep, and you move the chair a little farther from her bed each night. When you can’t get the chair any farther away, you stop sitting in the room altogether.
Controlled comforting is the second method. This involves allowing your baby to cry for short periods of time before you attempt to comfort him.
The results of sleep training
Research shows that parents who employ sleep training find that everyone in their family sleeps better at night. After six years, the study found no difference in the strength of the familial bond between children who were sleep trained and those who were not. Additionally, there was no difference in the levels of depression experienced by mothers who do and do not instigate sleep training.
The reasons behind babies’ cries
Babies cry. All parents should be aware of this before they bring a child into the world. Infants cry because they suffer from colic, they need a new diaper, they are sick, they are hungry, or they are tired.
Babies cry. So long as your baby’s needs have been met, allowing her to cry is out for a few minutes before you respond does not appear to have any long-term effects on your child. It is merely a personal decision families make together.
Sleep training is personal. If you find yourself suffering from lack of sleep with a newborn baby, you might consider it. Whether you do it or not, understand that your baby will not likely suffer from either choice. As the parent, the choice of what is best for your child and your family is up to you.