I might not agree that a 2 year old should be breast fed to sleep - but if someone else wants to do this, then great for them! I would never dream of telling them they shouldn't be doing it. If it works for them then that's fantastic.
I detest reading comments that insinuate leaving a baby to cry a little is somehow damaging them. If this is how you feel don't do it, but keep your comments to yourselves.
I think part of the issue also is that so many paediatricians recommend CC methods. I was given a handout on CC (as in how to implement) the day I left hospital and needless to say I didn't go back to that paed. Fair enough if I had asked for help settling my baby but I still can't believe I was given that when my babe was but a few days old! This sort of thing no doubt creates a divide among professionals when the education should be on how to read your babies cues, with sleep/settling techniques reserved for those struggling and in need of advice.
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26-05-2016 14:34 #141
26-05-2016 14:44 #142
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26-05-2016 15:22 #143Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2012
I think all babies are different, as a parent you do what works for you & what you are comfortable with. My personal opinion is I don't believe in letting a baby get really upset & worked up, but there is such a thing as a grizzle/tired cry. With my DD she had to be cuddled/fed/rocked to sleep, there was no grizzling - she would immediately start to scream if you put her into her bassinet/cot awake. My DS (only 3 months old) is not like that, if you catch him at the right time he'll drift off to sleep in bassinet by himself. I was still rocking my DD to sleep when she was 2!! I think as a first time mum I also read about how 'harmful & damaging' CC and CIO was and I was obsessed with making sure that didn't happen so I probably ruined any ability she may have had to learn to put herself to sleep. You don't have the same luxury with subsequent children so maybe that is why my DS can fall asleep by himself, maybe I'm more relaxed second time around or maybe all babies are just different...
26-05-2016 18:38 #144
This article just popped up on my FB feed and it really addresses the methodological flaws of this study, which are huge, from a research/science POV.
New Cry-It-Out Study Misses the Mark
admin May 24, 2016
A new study came out in the last few days, saying that cry-it-out is really just fine for babies…and maybe, it’s actually better.
There are so many things wrong with that “study” that I could not let it go. Parents deserve accurate, real information about parenting practices, and this study isn’t it. Let’s just dive right in.
New Cry-It-Out Study Misses the Mark
Let’s look at this study.
The study was done on just 43 babies. That’s a tiny sample size, so no firm or far-reaching conclusions can be drawn from it.
These 43 babies were divided into 3 roughly equal groups (14 – 15 babies each). Group 1 had sleep training. Group 2 had “bedtime fading” (putting babies to bed gradually later each night, so that they’d sleep easier from being more tired). Group 3 had sleep education but no specific bed time method.
Researchers did not control for a whole host of variables, including:
- Time the babies went to bed
- Actual methods used by group 3
- Where babies slept (crib, in parents’ room, etc.)
- How parents responded to night wakings
- Babies’ differing needs at different ages (age range was 6 – 16 months at the start of the study; a 6-month-old has very different needs than a 16-month-old!)
- Other parent-child dynamics besides sleep
- Feeding method (breastfed babies tend to wake more often)
- Teething, illness, or other sleep disruptions
The inclusion criteria was “do you think your infant has a sleep problem” on a survey at a pediatrician’s office. Parents with normal, healthy infants would say ‘yes’ to this, because our society believes babies should sleep through the night from 6 weeks old — which is ridiculous. And these were healthy infants, as infants with health conditions or developmental delays were excluded.
The majority of the study participants were well educated and upper middle class, and nearly 93% came from two-parent homes. This is, of course, not representative of the general population at all, further limiting the study’s validity.
Additionally, the study was not blind at all (obviously the parents had to know what method to use, but the researchers didn’t need to — yet, they did know), and parents were allowed to switch groups after being randomly assigned. (Some parts of the test results later were blinded.)
But wait! There’s more!
Why The Study Gets it Wrong
Let’s just suppose that all of that doesn’t matter. Let’s suppose that the study isn’t poorly designed and that it actually has some merit at the outset. What about how they measured their outcomes? What about their original premise?
The entire study is based on a behaviorist theory of child-rearing — much of what our society believes about raising children today comes from the behaviorists of the 1950s. These psychologists effectively thought that it was possible to ‘train’ people by using methods like rewards and punishment to encourage or discourage behavior. They told parents not to hold their babies too often, to schedule their feedings, and to be basically hands-off. It was “scientific parenting” and supposedly better. It did not take into account babies’ actual feelings or emotional needs; only their physical needs.
In the study’s introduction, the researchers suggest that babies wake more frequently at night because of a “coercive behavior trap,” because the parents’ responding to the infants is more ‘rewarding’ than getting sleep.
I’m almost ready to just stop there, because that’s so ridiculously stupid, I don’t even know where to start with it.
This is obvious behaviorist nonsense. It talks about the relative rewards/consequences as the motivator for infant behavior — no mention (nor understanding) of intrinsic biological need. Infants don’t just decide to wake themselves up and cry for their parents to manipulate them! (Not anymore than any of us purposely wake ourselves at night, when we’re tired, because maybe watching TV is more “rewarding” — seriously?) Something causes them to wake up — hunger, cold, hot, in pain, afraid, etc. All they want is for their need to be met.
The introduction goes on and specifically mentions “behavioral learning theory” and “operant conditioning” which are straight up behaviorist psychology. There’s no question from which premise/worldview they are operating.
I, and many others (including professionals in the psychology field) believe thatbehaviorism is the entirely wrong way to explain human behavior. That’s a long discussion for another post, though.
The researchers looked at sleep “results” — how long it took infants to fall asleep, how many times they woke at night, total minutes awake during the night, and their total sleep time.
Time to Fall Asleep
This varied between groups from about 5 minutes to 20 minutes, after baby was put to bed awake.
Number of Night Wakings
This varies from 1 to 2 after 3 months, vs. 2 – 3 at the study’s beginning. It isn’t very many times and is in line with normal wakings at the infants’ ages (average of 10 months old at study onset).
Total Minutes Awake At Night
All infants were awake approximately 45 – 60 minutes at night at the study onset. Amount of time fell for all groups, to 10 – 30 minutes awake per night.
Total Sleep Time
All infants slept 10 – 10.2 hours per night by the 3 month mark — there was no significant difference between groups.
The only area that was significantly different was “time to fall asleep,” but even 20 minutes is not exactly a long time.
Next, they attempted to measure stress. However, and this is a BIG deal, they did not measure infant stress during the crying period! They measured it via cortisol levels in saliva the next morning. Brief episodes of stress produce spikes in cortisol at the time of the stress, which drop within hours. It’s expected that all of the infants would have normal levels by morning — and they did. This is a really poor measurement and does not prove that they did not experience significant stress at bed time.
Even so, there were no significant differences found in morning and afternoon cortisol levels between groups. The only thing this proves is that short-term interventions didn’t cause chronic stress.
Finally, on attachment. Although it is being reported that there was “no change in attachment” among parents in different groups, they didn’t state what the attachment was.
In the cry-it-out group, a whopping 45% of children were insecurely attached! This was also true of 40% in the bedtime fading group, and 38% in the sleep education control group. Also, attachment was only tested after intervention, not before, so it’s impossible to know if there was a change that occurred because of the intervention, and if that change was more pronounced in the intervention groups vs. control.
I don’t know about you, but 40% of children being insecurely attached is a big deal to me. It’s clear that whatever parenting practices these families were using prior to this study weren’t really working so well.
The study additionally notes that although parents self-reported fewer night wakings over the study period, the objective actigraphy (tracking the infants’ movements to know when they are awake) showed no change — suggesting that infants are still waking, but no longer crying for their parents. Slight waking is common for all humans in the lighter phases of the sleep cycle. There is no speculation on why infants did not signal their parents — perhaps they outgrew a need, or perhaps they learned that their parents were not coming and stopped trying.
In the studies’ conclusion, it notes that one limitation was that it did not assess bed-sharing infants. All infants were sleeping in their own space (and most likely in their own rooms, as the re-searchers note they did not look specifically at co-sleeping/room-sharing). Basically, the study looked at different variations on main****** parenting, and found that none was really worse than another.
If you’re curious, the full text of the study can be found here.
No Firm Conclusions
To sum it up, the researchers have a poorly designed study. They have not properly controlled for variables. They have a tiny sample size. They did not look at different styles of parenting practices. They did not look at co-sleeping/bed-sharing vs. infant solo sleep. They did not look at differences in attachment before and after intervention.
There is absolutely no way to draw any firm conclusions from a study like this.
We have to ask, too, why nearly half of these babies were insecurely attached. Clearly something led to this — was it the sleep intervention, or another parenting practice? Are co-sleeping babies more likely to be securely attached? We don’t know, as the study didn’t address this.
We’d have to ask a lot of questions about broader parenting practices to really understand anything. We can’t say cry-it-out is “fine” from this information.
Basically, a lot of people are drawing very broad, far-reaching conclusions from this that just aren’t possible to draw. Don’t take this seriously, or even waste another minute thinking about it. It’s just bad science.
26-05-2016 19:01 #145-
- Join Date
- Apr 2012
26-05-2016 19:02 #146
Controlled Crying study
Read with interest. Some of it resonated with me and some had me feeling frustrated, particularly the statement that "society expects babies to sleep through the night from 6 weeks". I don't know ANYONE who thinks that babies should be able to do that. The implicit suggestion behind that statement is that people who use cc/cio are naively doing it to make their babies sleep through the night before they're developmentally ready, which is pretty insulting to be honest. I would hazard a guess that most who do it are doing so out of desperation and knowing that their infant needs more sleep than they've been getting (eg more than 30-45 minutes at a time), in order to function and thrive.
Last edited by MsViking; 26-05-2016 at 19:06.
26-05-2016 19:24 #147
There are huge flaws in methodology in this study. Gaping holes. Who points it out really doesn't matter.
And I know heaps of people, both IRL and on here that CC/CIO from very early on, way before the 6+months recommendation and do so bc of convenience and being parent centred. I'm not actually criticising that persay. Just the notion that people don't expect babies to sleep and only use sleep training out of desperation.
26-05-2016 19:31 #148
My DS1 was no longer even sleeping in his bed. He would sleep in between DH and I and would somehow always end up sleeping across the top of the bed with his feet kicking me in the face. Every time. I actually couldn't sleep. I had insomnia but I was working 4 days a week. I started getting a nervous twitch. I was starting to get depressed, and I never get depressed.
Then I got pregnant with DS2 and decided enough was enough. We went to koala cottage where they taught us about gentle self settling methods. I did a lot of research about it and watched videos at koala cottage and consulted with their nurses and even after all that, I felt an awful heaviness in my heart. My DH didn't have the will to stand it so I made him go out the first night, not knowing what to expect.
Here's what happened. I left DS to cry for 1 minute. It literally felt like an 10 minutes. But it was 60 seconds. I was using a timer. Went back in and he was screaming like he was being murdered. He was standing up in his cot trying to climb out and refusing to lie down. I comforted him for a minute and then left for 2 minutes. Then went back in. then left him for 3 minutes. At that point he wasn't hysterical anymore. He was crying quietly and sitting in his cot. When I left him for 4 minutes he wasn't crying at all. Just grizzling and watching his musical lamb while sitting up in his cot. I went in to check on him but he didn't even notice me. I went out again and after 5 minutes I went in and he was asleep. That night he slept through the night. The following night we went through the same routine but it took half the time. The night after that, I put him in his bed and he lay down and went straight to sleep. the following week I would tell him it's bed time and he would take himself to bed.
This was a child who at 15 months old had NEVER slept through the night, never self settled, and refused to sleep in his cot from about 13 months. It took 2 nights of CC and that was it. And the CC we did was hardly cruel. He only cried for a maximum of 3 minutes. His tantrums last longer than that.
He is a perfectly happy child, almost 5 years old. Smart, kind, gentle, loving and has very high self esteem. I don't need a study to tell me that CC was what we both needed and that it didn't harm him in the least.
26-05-2016 19:39 #149-
- Join Date
- Apr 2012
I understand with all that you've been through that talking yourself up is a way of moving through the fog. However you need to be aware that there's a line where (right or wrong) tooting your own horn becomes culturally unpopular in Australia. Toot too hard and good mums that happen to have a different approach to you will continue to stop posting in sleep threads or will continue to leave the hub altogether (yes, take it from someone who knows from experience).
26-05-2016 19:57 #150
I was SO reluctant to go to sleep school. But after 8 month with little sleep, I was quickly heading toward PND and family & friends were getting worried about my well being.
I was literally sick the days leading up to, and the first night at sleep school. I was a mess. The nurses rang a psych to get me an anxiety med I used to be prescribed to get me through the first 24 hours. I was SO worried I was going to permanently damage DS, it was crushing me. I read studies on attachment & his cortisol levels. So many gentle parenting and AP books; I was sure I was going to ruin him.
But guess what? I didn't. The nurses were so kind and gentle to both of us. And DS responded quickly. Turns out my kid has a temper; and a lot of his protesting was that.
Not sure where I'm going with this other than to say until you're there and you try it, you can't judge. If it's not for you, fine, don't do it. But don't call me a $hitty parent with damaged kids.
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