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Is it OK to Let a Baby 'Cry it Out' as a Method of Sleep Training?

Many exhausted parents believe it is, but some say it leads to emotional issues later in life. What do you believe?

For decades the debate has raged, sometimes between generations, about whether or not to let babies “cry it out" as a way to get to sleep.

Often it is the exhausted mother who continues to believe she can’t do it, not even for a few minutes. Now, however, a recent study appears to support that maybe she can, at least for a short while at a time.

Sleep deprivation for new parents is reportedly responsible for a host of issues, including depression in new mothers and marital problems.

According to a Fox News article, a study published in Monday’s Journal of Pediatrics suggests limited returns to the room to offer some soothing appears to be acceptable. This was concluded after a study that followed children until they were 6 years old.

There are several opinions on how best to establish an acceptable sleep pattern ranging from those who believe it is better to let a baby “cry” him or herself to sleep to those who believe the baby should sleep in the bed with parents to provide for better bonding. Others believe somewhere in between these two extremes. Judith A. Owens, the director of sleep medicine at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., reportedly said, “A well-rested parent is going to be a better parent in the daytime."

So what do you believe? Should a baby be allowed to cry, at least for a while, or do you believe that babies should not be left alone to cry at all? Tell us in comments. 

Jennifer September 12, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I never let my babies cry....they need something, even if it's just to be cuddled. I would never lay there with a broken heart hearing my baby scream knowing I'm the one that can comfort them.
Otis The Town Drunk September 12, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Just dying to know Jim. Did you follow his advise?
Jim S December 16, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Yes, I did follow the advise. I held him, give him a bottle, burped him and changed his diaper, then but him in his crib. If he started to dry, I would hold him again for a few minutes and lay him down. When I was sure that I had done everything I could, I would leave the door ajar and let him cry. If he didn't settle down to sleep after 10 minutes, I would check on him again.
Jim S December 16, 2012 at 01:58 PM
then put him in his crib.
Andrew January 18, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Anything to do with parenting is always emotive and CIO is about as emotive as there can be. The key thing is what the parents think is best for their child. With my son we had 6-7 months of terrible nights sleep, which is fine as that is what we signed up for as parents. What wasn't fine is that our boy was tired all day due to his bad sleeps, he had bags under his eyes, not eating properly and was generally in a bad mood. We resolved to try CIO and after two hours on the first night and one hour on the second night of us sat in the other room in tears he then slept through and has done ever since (he's 18 months now). My point? CIO isn't lazy parenting, its the hardest thing I've had to do for my child but for my boy it was definately the best thing. A couple of good nights sleep and he started eating properly and became the cheery boy we knew he really was. There are parents who neglect their children but that is a totally seperate issue. As for the poster who said that children under 2 don't have an ego I can only assume that with your child you kept picking up items they threw on the floor over and over and over because they can't have been doing that just for attention either.

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