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Saturday, May 28, 2016

SCIENCE | Letting babies cry themselves to sleep is fine.

Waking up in the middle of the night due to your baby's cry? Let him/her cry to sleep, a study from Flinders University in South Australia suggests. The research concluded that it's okay to let your babies gradually cry themselves to sleep as it does not cause any emotional harm or stress in the long term.

Image Courtesy: www.preciouslittlesleep.com

The habits of 43 pairs of parents troubled sleeping due to their infants' waits were analyzed. These parents have babies aged six to o 16 months old. The babies were left to cry for increasing period of time within three months. And it found out that leaving them be allowed babies to fall asleep 13 minutes faster on average than those who were attended to.

So, ano nangyari? What was done in the study?

Basically, the parents and their babies were divided into three different groups: the crying-it-out group (or graduated extinction), the bedtime fading group (where parents stay until their baby falls asleep), and the control group (no sleep training).

And the results? The graduated extinction group got better benefits vs the bedtime fading group in terms of the time taken to fall asleep by 3 minutes on average, the frequency babies were waking up in the night, and the total sleep time.

The babies' cortisol (hormone associated with stress) levels were taken. And it was found out that there was no significant difference in terms of baby stress levels. Also, the parents did not report increased stress or differences in the level of parent-child bonding.

Do note though that graduated extinction does not mean leaving a baby alone crying for hours on end, but rather slowly raising the amount of time a crying baby is left alone--that is, from 2 minutes to 35 minutes within the week. 

Read up on the study published in the Pediatrics journal here.

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