How many times have you gotten up during the night only to get up again an hour later because your baby won't stop crying? It's a common situation among new parents or those with babies aged 6 months or more - getting their babies to sleep through the night but finding it impossible to do so. And the bags and dark circles under your eyes when you look at the mirror in the morning do nothing to make the situation easier.
However, thanks to enterprising and innovative souls who understand that parents need enough rest as well, a new technique called controlled crying has been conceptualized. Also known as "camping out" in some countries, the technique was designed to help infants settle down to a regular routine, with as little stress and fuss as possible.
Controlled crying is where parents wait for their babies to settle down in specific time intervals. These time intervals increase gradually and during this time no rocking, no picking up or patting is allowed and significant results are usually seen in a matter of days. Camping out on the other hand, is when one or both parents stay in the room with the baby without picking them up, patting or rocking them and gradually distancing themselves at varying time intervals in a period of days or weeks until the baby is fully able to sleep on their own.
While there over a thousand and one tips for baby sleep that you can read online, like playing soothing music, regulating the room temperature or dimming the lights, most parents have been found to stick to the tried and tested cry it out method - that is, letting their babies cry themselves to sleep. However, concerns about babies being put through unnecessary stress and trauma that could scar them psychologically and physically, the technique has been found to be most effective in helping babies and parents sleep through the night.
While it may seem that letting babies cry themselves to sleep makes for bad parenting, studies conducted on children between the ages of 8-10 months show no significant negative or harmful effects on them and in fact, has even been found to be a good strategy to employ in managing postnatal depression. This is because the better baby sleeps at night the less anxious mothers feel and as such, tend to relax more, knowing that their baby is settling nicely, with the positive effects lasting until the baby reaches the age of 2 years old.
This controlled comforting technique is also evident in online step-by-step guides that are introduced online, guides which also include how to wean babies away from the bottle, dummies and all-night nappy changes. These guides will also teach you how to read the tone of your baby's cry so you can support them emotionally while they learn to sleep independently. With these guides, parents learn as well that babies who sleep well during the night are happier babies in the morning.
But then again, however successful or effective controlled comforting techniques are, it is still a matter subject to parents' discretion because even though the technique has been proven to be effective among infants aged seven months old and above, there is no proof that it is the same for babies six months old and below so the effects cannot be generalized. The only thing is that it is effective and will not have any long-term harmful effects on your child psychologically, emotionally or physically.