Tempted to let your baby cry himself to sleep, but worried it might cause long-term emotional issues? Doctors say worry no more.
Researchers studied babies identified as having sleep issues.
One group of parents was assigned Graduated Extinction – also known as “The Ferber Method.” This involves leaving the baby to cry it out for timed intervals without going into to comfort the baby.
The second group of parents were asked to try the Fading technique, where they delayed the baby’s bedtime incrementally by 15 minutes at a time so baby was more tired when mom and dad put him down.
The third group was given information about sleep, but not given any particular instruction on how to get the baby to sleep more easily.
During the sleep study, researchers collected the babies’ saliva in the morning and afternoon to look for stress hormones. They found that in all three groups, stress levels were all in the normal range, but the babies put to sleep with Graduated Extinction or Fading showed less stress hormones in the afternoon than the babies whose parents were not instructed to try any special techniques.
12 months later, researchers went back to measure the babies’ emotional, behavioral and attachment issues. They found no difference in these levels among the three groups.