Controlled crying has long-term benefits

A Melbourne study into the long-term effects of controlled crying has found this controversial method of settling improves infant sleep, causes no problems in later childhood and can even reduce mothers’ depression levels.

A Melbourne study into the long-term effects of controlled crying has found this controversial method of settling improves infant sleep, causes no problems in later childhood and can even reduce mothers’ depression levels.

Also known as controlled comforting or camping out, the parent-led behavioural techniques included in the study used a variety of step-by-step strategies to teach infants over six months of age to self-settle.

Controlled comforting involves parents responding to their baby’s cry at increasing time intervals to support them to fall asleep by themselves — there is no picking up, patting or rocking and results are usually seen in a matter of days.

Camping out is a more gradual method that has the parent sitting with the child as they fall asleep, slowly increasing their distance from the cot over a period of days or weeks.

Researchers from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute followed 225 children and their families over five years to track the mental and behavioural health of the children as well as the mothers’ depression levels.

The world-first study found there had been no negative impact on those who’d been exposed to the settling techniques between the ages of eight and 10 months compared to those who had not.

Infant sleep problems are reported by up to 45 percent of new mothers and will double the risk of maternal depression problems, according to the study. The spin-off benefits of better baby sleep are improved parent sleep and mental health, and healthier parent-child relationships.

Just published in Paediatrics journal, the study acknowledged that widespread but unfounded doubts about the safety of controlled crying had resulted in vigorous debate and the reluctance of some families to try the method.

Following the positive outcomes of the study, lead researcher Anna Price said parents should feel reassured that these sleep interventions are effective, especially as a strategy to manage postnatal depression.

"Using sleep techniques like controlled comforting with babies from six months helps reduce both infant sleep problems and the maternal depression associated with the baby's sleep problems, and these effects are still apparent up to two years of age," Dr Price said.

We asked two real mums to discuss the choices they’ve made when it comes to settling their children to sleep. Read their different takes on the issue in Mum to mum: controlled crying

12:0AM, Sep 19th 2012

comments powered by Disqus

Related articles

 
 
instagram
  • Have you grabbed your copy of the latest Mother & Baby magazine? It's packed with loads of parenting tips for babies & toddlers including gorgeous fashion pages for your little one 😘👌🏼❤️ via @laceylaneinsta

    mother and baby Have you grabbed your copy of the latest Mother & Baby magazine? It's packed with loads of parenting tips for babies & toddlers including gorgeous fashion pages for your little one 😘👌🏼❤️ via @laceylaneinsta

    More from the team
  • We've watched her belly grow and GROW and now this gorgeous mum is about to pop. Lauren from Mad Max Mum (formally The Preggo Diaries) @___laurenkate is 39 weeks pregnant and oh-so-ready to meet her little man ❤️👌🏼😍

    mother and baby We've watched her belly grow and GROW and now this gorgeous mum is about to pop. Lauren from Mad Max Mum (formally The Preggo Diaries) @___laurenkate is 39 weeks pregnant and oh-so-ready to meet her little man ❤️👌🏼😍

    More from the team
  • Check out these cutie pies! They look like they've had a great weekend 😍👌🏼😘 via @allaboutnell

    mother and baby Check out these cutie pies! They look like they've had a great weekend 😍👌🏼😘 via @allaboutnell

    More from the team
  • Happy Sunday! Have you got a fun day planned with your kids? 👍🏻

    mother and baby Happy Sunday! Have you got a fun day planned with your kids? 👍🏻

    More from the team
  • Brotherly love. It doesn't get much sweeter than this. A beautiful moment captured by @kailee_wright ❤️👶🏼🍼

    mother and baby Brotherly love. It doesn't get much sweeter than this. A beautiful moment captured by @kailee_wright ❤️👶🏼🍼

    More from the team
  • Such a cute tee from @kidandkind We can imagine similar versions with "Up!" and "Cuddles?" and "I want carries." 😘❤️👌🏼

    mother and baby Such a cute tee from @kidandkind We can imagine similar versions with "Up!" and "Cuddles?" and "I want carries." 😘❤️👌🏼

    More from the team
  • Our M&B writer Natasha Price was super excited to be able to interview @khloekardashian today. Of course a selfie was called for at the end of their chat! Khloe spilled the beans about the @kardashiankids range available at @bigwaustralia and what she loves most about being an aunt! Stay tuned for her full interview on  our website 👌🏼🎀😘

    mother and baby Our M&B writer Natasha Price was super excited to be able to interview @khloekardashian today. Of course a selfie was called for at the end of their chat! Khloe spilled the beans about the @kardashiankids range available at @bigwaustralia and what she loves most about being an aunt! Stay tuned for her full interview on our website 👌🏼🎀😘

    More from the team
  • Sibling love! We adore this precious moment of these two sisters holding hands and having a quiet chat. So sweet 😍🎀👌🏼 via @kyliejanemills

    mother and baby Sibling love! We adore this precious moment of these two sisters holding hands and having a quiet chat. So sweet 😍🎀👌🏼 via @kyliejanemills

    More from the team
  • Check your mail box! As per the comp terms & conditions we've just notified the winner of our Mima Xari pram pack giveaway 😍❤️😘 #MBmag10K #MimaXari

    mother and baby Check your mail box! As per the comp terms & conditions we've just notified the winner of our Mima Xari pram pack giveaway 😍❤️😘 #MBmag10K #MimaXari

    More from the team
  • Reality TV megastar @kimkardashian spoke exclusively with Mother & Baby magazine about motherhood and her pregnancy fears, "Being a mum is the best, most rewarding, most fun job in the world." Click the link in our profile to read her interview 😍👌🏼❤️

    mother and baby Reality TV megastar @kimkardashian spoke exclusively with Mother & Baby magazine about motherhood and her pregnancy fears, "Being a mum is the best, most rewarding, most fun job in the world." Click the link in our profile to read her interview 😍👌🏼❤️

    More from the team