Letting your Baby Cry it Out

11:00 AM, Dec 3, 2012   |    comments
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there's a story that will reverberate with every parent who has ever brought a newborn home.. specifically: the debate over letting your baby cry for a while, in order to learn to sleep through the night. now a new study shows that, for babies of the right age, and done in a controlled way: letting them cry a bit doesn't do any harm.

NBC's Diana Alvear reports:

it's a scenario all parents can relate to... a screaming child... who won't go to sleep. do you respond immediately? or let them cry it out?

writer leah young went through this a few months ago with son dag.

she was never an advocate of letting kids cry themselves to sleep..

but with dad out of town and deadlines looming...

she called her mom for advice:

leah young, mom: "she talked me through it and it was probably 10 or 15 minutes total and he was down, and it felt liek a new life."

a new study in pediatrics.. appears to back mom up... australian researchers tested two sleep training methods..

controlled comforting...where parents take longer and longer to respond to their children's cries and camping out...where they sit farther and farther away from the crib..

five years later... researchers found no significant longterm effects on the kids who underwent either of these techniques. nor did they find any increase in depression and anxiety in their parents.

dr. deb lonzer/cleveland clinic: "you can not only help them to sleep better but you can help the family alleviate the stress that it's having and you're gonna cause no negative impact on the infant itself. so, it's really a win-win for the family and the baby."

these techniques may work...but they're tough to put into practice.and which technique is best is the subject of heated debates in parents online chats and in real-world mommy groups

in leah's case... mom really did know best.

leah young, mom: "we've kept at it. it takes 10 minutes and he's ok."

she says now that dag doesn't depend on them as much anymore... they're *all* sleeping easier.

diana alvear, nbc news, los angeles.

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