Sleep training for babies – new research says…

…what most parents and practitioners who understand babies have been saying – and yelling from the rooftops! – for a long, long time.     Maybe as more science keeps coming in, people will begin to listen.      There is nothing OK about walking away from a crying baby.     Under controlled crying, a baby might go quiet, but the cortisol levels spike.   The baby’s high distress is masked by the behavioral collapse.  Read more on the research study HERE.

What this research does not tell you is that when cortisol levels remain high, the cortisol can begin to destroy neurons in the emotional-regulation regions of the child’s brain. Controlled crying is a cultural practice in a few Western nations, and it risks reducing brain matter in the areas related to emotional intelligence.

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7 Responses to Sleep training for babies – new research says…

  1. Kimberley says:

    I’m so glad I read this in your book Parenting for a Peaceful World. As a result we never left our daughter to cry and it was absolutely the right thing to do. There was always a reason why she was crying, babies don’t cry for no reason. Because she knew we would always respond immediately she was a very content baby.

    • Emily says:

      we never did sleep training either … but our little guy was still not very content … cried all the time, difficulty staying asleep, engine always “on”, needing constant motion (or crying) too in even in daytime. But I think all that shows is that he needed it even more to help his neurological system continue to soothe, grow, mature and, really the biggest thing HEAL. If you are dealing with that sort of intensity the messages of how easy attachment parenting is or co-sleeping is or that babies get content if you respond quickly can see like they come from another planet. But it doesn’t mean keeping your child close and responding is not the right thing. There are a good number of children born today who, for a variety of reasons (nutritional, environmental toxins, etc…) have sensory-motor/nervous/gastro-intestional systems that are not working optimally. Holding them close and responding, while hard and almost too tiring at times is healing for them. Taking care of mom and dad too is important so ask for help.

  2. Pingback: Sleep training – research highlights the myth of self-soothing

  3. Jane Pulley says:

    That was a really interesting study, thanks for sharing it. I wonder how they could possibly determine cortisol levels in the babies without doing something, such as taking blood samples, which would cause a rise in cortisol levels.
    I also wonder how long the babies would continue the pattern of raised cortisol levels before sleep… a few days, a week, a month…?
    Jane.

    • Robin Grille says:

      Thanks for your questions Jane Pulley. A cortisol swab is one of the least invasive of all tests, and it is accurate. Just a light swab of saliva, that is all. Elevated cortisol levels can become habituated and remain elevated, even at rest, for the long term. This can cause long-term changes to brain tissue in key regions for emotional regulation. Behavioural changes can be expected.

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