Should you let your baby cry when he or she wakes up in the middle of the night, or should you go in and offer comfort?
According to a new study released in the journal Developmental Psychology, it’s better to let little ones “cry it out” while trying to fall asleep.
The results may help settle a long-time debate between those who think it’s better to let babies self-soothe and those who view it as a cruel method of parenting.
Researchers from Temple University in Philadelphia asked the parents of more than 1,200 infants to report on their child’s waking habits at six, 15, 24, and 36 months.
At six months of age, 66 percent of babies were reported to wake up about once a week. But 33 percent woke up seven nights per week at six months, dropping to two nights by 15 months and one night per week by 24 months.
“By six months of age, most babies sleep through the night, awakening their mothers only about once per week,” said Temple psychology professor and study co-author Marsha Weinraub. “However, not all children follow this pattern of development.”
Weinraub concluded that babies should be left to go to sleep on their own – even if that meant they cried for a bit.
Doing so enabled them to learn how to “self soothe” and settle themselves; it also gave sleep-deprived and stressed out parents a break.
What do you think? Did you let your baby cry or was it just too hard to leave them in tears?