Despite all that is known today about what babies need, somewhere between 2 thirds to 3 quarters of all infant sleep interventions sold to parents are still about behavioural extinction. In other words, gradually refuse to attend to your crying baby for longer and longer periods until the crying is extinguished. The persistence of this discredited, outmoded and risky practice ignores the fact that parents DO NOT LIKE IT. According to the research, around 70% of parents say they would not apply this method, they sense the stress it brings to their child.
Researchers are characteristically understated and restrained. Almost all (not all) parents I have spoken with find ‘controlled crying’ (I include all the euphemisms for this practice) deeply disturbing, painful. Many feel heartbroken if they stick to the injunction to refuse attention to their crying child. It gets more passionate than this, actually. Most parents I have heard from who have tried this technique, absolutely HATE it. A door separates the helpless infant from the equally despairing parent, sobs on both sides.
So, babies don’t like it. Parents don’t like it. Child-development and brain experts don’t like it. Contact works. Rejection doesn’t. Who does this method really serve?