Graduated Extinction Sleep Training In Infants Appears To Cause No Long-Term Harm

USA Today (5/24, Bowerman) reports that “letting a baby cry it out, or cry until the child drifts off to sleep, does not cause long-term emotional or behavioral harm,” the findings of a study published online May 24 in Pediatrics suggest. After testing “the controversial sleep method of crying it out, and another commonly used sleep method on a group of 43 infants spanning from six months to 16 months,” investigators learned that babies “whose parents used ‘graduated extinction,’ or those who allowed their child to cry for increasingly long periods of time, were no more stressed than babies whose parents used bedtime fading, or the technique of moving bedtime later in hope that the child will fall asleep more quickly.”

In the New York Times (5/24) “Well” blog, Perri Klass, MD, writes that while graduated extinction and bedtime fading both “decreased the time it took children to fall asleep and graduated extinction reduced night wakings,” there is no seeming evidence that “you do harm by deciding to forgo ‘sleep training’ and waiting for the child to outgrow the night waking – as long as that doesn’t damage your marriage or your mental health.”

Related Links:

— “Study: Letting baby ‘cry it out’ won’t cause damage,” Mary Bowerman, USA Today, May 27, 2016.

Posted in In The News.