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Parents Talk: Are There Consequences to Sleep Training?

A study of children who underwent sleep-training as babies found no long-term consequences at age 6.

When you have a baby, the one thing you need the most is often the one thing you get the least - sleep.

It's not for lack of trying. Often as parents, we're so spent at the end of the day that all we want to do is fall into bed and drift off for the night. Easier said than done with a baby in the house.

Many parents have turned to different methods of sleep training to help babies fall asleep. Two of those techniques - controlled comforting and camping out - have both been criticized for being too harsh for a child.

But a new study from health professionals in Australia is telling another story.

The study, published in Pediatrics journal, found "no long-term emotional harms linked to two popular behavioral sleep interventions."

Researchers studied 225 children who underwent some form of sleep training from 7 months old through age 6. Half underwent some form of sleep training, either "controlled comforting" (also called "graduated extinction") or "camping out."

What do you think? Do your agree or disagree that there are long-term effects of sleep training? Did you sleep train your child/children? Tell us in the comments.

Jody Gifford (Editor) September 17, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Honestly, I had two really great sleepers and one who is/was a terrible sleeper. With the terrible sleeper, we lost a lot of nights just trying to get enough rest to function. It was tough. When she was about 7-8 months old, we let her "cry it out" and then, when she moved to a big kid bed, we "camped out." The crying it out part was the hardest on us as parents but helped her immensely. It was only a few days and her schedule finally evened out. The camping out part took the longest - about 2-3 weeks - and then she was fine. I don't regret doing either. I'm not sure we would have ever gotten a full night's sleep without them.
MrsB March 05, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Our twins are now 7.5 months and we hired a nanny at £500 per night to sleep train one of the boys. She spent 2 nights with us and on the first night he cried for 2 hours and I seriously wanted to disappear from this planet..I'm only doing this because my husband said enough is enough, he used to wake up every couple of hours and I used to breastfeed him to resettle...Our nanny doesn't follow Richard Ferber's method closely, she believes that you should not go in at all (as oppose to going in and comforting the child every few minutes) and that's what I find the hardest! I think babies need the reassurance that their mummies are there to comfort them but nanny says it's more confusing for the child and as soon as you walk in they expect something from you i.e feeding, cuddle and they get more cross ! I genuinely think cry it out method should be banned!! I feel so depressed and am traumatised, I kept throwing up first night and the second and third nights weren't relatively better but last night he was awake from 00:30 til 4:17 and cried on and off, I so wanted to go in and my husband stopped me and kept playing on my emotions by saying "remember what nanny said don't be selfish, just because you can't bear the sound of your baby crying, don't deny him sleep which he needs to grow, this is best for him"I just think that this is not the definition of parenthood, we should be there for them and in the grand scheme of things sleepless nights are a short period of our lives!!
maxine weimer March 05, 2013 at 10:35 PM
After raising 4 kids, the one thing you have to never, ever do is give in to the child. The first time you give in and let him or her sleep with you in your bed it tells the child..all I have to do is throw a fit and I can sleep with mommy and daddy. The same goes for you sleeping in your childs bed. From the very beginning you have to set a bedtime and a nitetime ritual. Everynight at the same time read the child a story or listen to a song, brush their teeth, have a drink of water, hugs and kisses and go nite-nite. Thats it. Same thing everynight and soon they will just beleive that is the way it is. But the first time you don't do it the same way, it gives the child the idea that he can change your mind with his actions. Even when he dosen't want to go, put him in bed anyway. Kids are alot tougher than we think they are. Smarter too. And I know how easy it is to slack off but beleive me you will pay for it. And remember letting a child cry will not hurt him. If a baby has been fed, diapered and hugged, there is no reason why he won't go to sleep except that he would rather be up with Mom and Dad. But remember to, that is YOUR time together, after the kids are in bed.

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