Study: OK For Babies To Cry It Out

Researchers say sleep training method doesn't hurt babies emotionally, developmentally.


A new study says that a few tears won't hurt babies when learning to fall asleep on their own, according to Time magazine. The findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, suggest that the 'cry it out method" of infant sleep training does not harm babies emotionally or developmentally years later and it also doesn't hurt the parent-baby bond, but it doesn't benefit them long-term either.

The study examined 326 Australian 6-year-olds who had parent-reported sleep problems at 7 months old, Time reports. Half of them were sleep-trained and the others were not. "By age 6, the researchers found no significant differences between the kids in either group in terms of emotional health, behavior or sleep problems. In fact, slightly more children in the [not-sleep-trained group] had emotional or behavioral problems than in the sleep-trained group," according to the Time report.

The researchers also noted that there were no differences when it came to the levels of depression or anxiety among the mothers between the two groups, the Time article says.

"When infants can't sleep, it usually means mom and dad aren't getting much shut-eye either. That, in turn, can double the risk of depressive symptoms in mothers, cause strife in marriages and result in costly trips to the pediatrician," the Time article suggests.

Our Adventures in Babyland blogger shares her experiences when sleep training her baby boy. And, as any parent can confirm, it was hard and required some compromising.

If getting your baby to sleep is a singing, rocking and jiggling process that's exhausting the whole family, you may want to consider sleep training. Our Get On The Sleep Train page shows you how to teach your baby to fall asleep on his or her own. The process will be challenging at first, but the payoff will be huge for both of you.