Many people report trying extinction methods of sleep training to "help" their baby sleep better, but what does research tell us in terms of the efficacy of these methods for baby's sleep? Does the reasoning hold up?
New research is making the rounds claiming that there are no negative effects to controlled crying, and the press is lapping it up. The question is: Does the claim hold up?
I get a lot of people angry that I speak out against extinction sleep training because it "worked" for them. I thought I'd start a post that allows me to respond publicly to these criticisms so I don't have to repeat myself over and over.
The dismissal of the importance of a rise in cortisol on the developing brain is very popular with extinction sleep training apologists. Although we do not know the exact influences, there are reasons to be cautious of this dismissal, which ignores key evolutionary and biological information.
A piece is making the rounds claiming that sleep training is a feminist issue. I think it is too, just not the way the original author believes.
The premise behind extinction sleep training is that infants (and toddlers) are being taught to "self-soothe"; however, this ignores key points of what self-soothing abilities can be expected from children and how distressed they are at the time of separation. Instead of focusing on these extinction methods, gentler methods that respect where the child is developmentally should be considered.
Often when I write about crying-it-out or controlled crying, I get comments from people who have done it asking what else they should have done in their sleep deprived state. The question concerns me because it highlights not only how mainstream the idea of leaving a child to cry has become, but also about how ignorant society is as a whole about the alternatives to sleep training.