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'Cry it out ' sleep training causes brain damage

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:56 am
by demi
No of course it doesn't, but there are many mothers out there convinced that it does due to this:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mor ... ing-it-out

And this Harvard 'study' which is not a study at all but an opinion based paper by husband and wife psychologists, comparing sleep methods in different cultures.
http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/199 ... edTou.html

I checked out the references from the psychologytoday blog and found the research this 'hypothesis' is based on is from infant trauma from severe neglect and abuse, not on sleep training. There was also some studies done on mice testing cortisol levels from induces stress.

What do you guys think?

Re: 'Cry it out ' sleep training causes brain damage

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:40 am
by JuzaMum
Sorry don't have time to check out your links but have seen this kind of research/opinion before. I think sleep training is not a very nice way to go about raising your child but if that is the only thing you do 'wrong' the child will be fine. However if your parenting if poor, stressful for the child and sleep training is part of that it will be detrimental.
When you raise a child some things you do will be ideal others less so. One day something is right the next day it is wrong according to latest research/trends/daily mail!.
I think do your best, love them and all will be well (or not :dontknow: )

JuzaMum

Re: 'Cry it out ' sleep training causes brain damage

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:49 am
by demi
I don't agree that sleep training is wrong. I understand why some parents would never consider it though, of course its not nice to listen to your baby cry. But sleep training is far from neglect and bad parenting. It involves leaving you child for defined periods of time, 5 min to begin with then gradually increasing the time so you child learns to self soothe and fall asleep on its own. It does not involve just abandoning your child for the night and ignoring them till the morning.
Sleep training doesn't work on every child. My daughter took very well to this method and was sleeping peacefully through the night within a week when she was 7 months old, and has slept like a log ever since. I tried the same thing with my son at the same age but he wouldn't settle and i had to go get him and breastfeed him to sleep. I went back to night feeding him for a few months more then would try again to sleep train him at a later date. It took a few attempts and it wasn't until he was a year before it finally worked. He still sometimes wakes up but usually falls asleep again within 5 minuets on his own. But you can tell by the type of cry if they are going to go back to sleep or not. If it's a light on-off sleepy cry then they'll usually fall back to sleep again, if they're screaming non-stop for 20 minuets then obviously you need to go in and comfort them. If it's not working for your child then try something else, or stop for a while and try again later. No decent mother would just abandon their child to cry for the whole night and that is not what sleep training is about.

Re: 'Cry it out ' sleep training causes brain damage

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:44 am
by Helsbells
I read, (not sure where but possibly The Attachment Parenting Book) that when babies cry they release stress hormones. Research was done testing saliva that showed that even after the baby stopped crying the stress hormone levels were just as high as when the baby was crying. The baby gives up crying because it knows that no one is coming so there is no point wasting energy on crying.

I am not sure that controlled crying techniques cause brain damage, but for me, I would be worried that it would damage my relationship with my child because they might learn not to trust that I will respond to their needs.

At the end of the day you have to do what is right for you, if you are so at the end of your tether that you cannot stand one more sleep-disturbed night then who am I to say it's wrong, I have never been that close to the edge. It's not something I would do though and I don't think it should be something that is undertaken lightly.

Re: 'Cry it out ' sleep training causes brain damage

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:28 pm
by dustydave
It seems a very limited discussion when you take one small aspect of parenting and then polarise the argument by saying: 'one way good the other way bad'. But then we live in a society that thrives on headline neurosis.

There are many variables involved with the way that people parent, and who is to judge what the perfect end-product is? Not me; nature creates a wealth of individuals to populate the world for good reason, some from their genetics and nurturing are good with dealing with stress, some are more sensitive to stress, but are good at feeling the nuances of unbalance in themselves and others. I therefore feel strongly that each parent has an innate ability to follow the path that they should follow and to that end, maybe even the guilt ridden ones that preach to others about the way that they should parent, possibly, are also following their own path.

Re: 'Cry it out ' sleep training causes brain damage

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:34 pm
by boboff
dustydave wrote:It seems a very limited discussion when you take one small aspect of parenting and then polarise the argument by saying: 'one way good the other way bad'. But then we live in a society that thrives on headline neurosis.

There are many variables involved with the way that people parent, and who is to judge what the perfect end-product is? Not me; nature creates a wealth of individuals to populate the world for good reason, some from their genetics and nurturing are good with dealing with stress, some are more sensitive to stress, but are good at feeling the nuances of unbalance in themselves and others. I therefore feel strongly that each parent has an innate ability to follow the path that they should follow and to that end, maybe even the guilt ridden ones that preach to others about the way that they should parent, possibly, are also following their own path.



Wow, what an amazingly eloquent and sensible post, probably the best EVER!!

We should have a pint very soon!

Re: 'Cry it out ' sleep training causes brain damage

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:01 pm
by demi
Helsbells wrote:I read, (not sure where but possibly The Attachment Parenting Book) that when babies cry they release stress hormones. Research was done testing saliva that showed that even after the baby stopped crying the stress hormone levels were just as high as when the baby was crying. The baby gives up crying because it knows that no one is coming so there is no point wasting energy on crying.




The hormone in question is cortisol, which your body releases along with adrenaline to give you more energy for 'fight of flight' when stimulated by stress, or just through certain periods of the day like when you wake up in the morning to give you the energy to wake up and get out of bed. Without sufficient levels of cortisol ( which naturally fluctuate through out the day ) in your body you would die. We need it to function. The research that has been done on mice measured their cortisol levels under induced physical stress and it was shown to interfere with synapse firing in the brain. They have not does these studies on humans, perhaps because they were not convinced it was significant. Other studies have been done on abused children who have suffered physical trauma and sever neglect, not on children from loving, stable family homes. Many of these children were under child protection services.

There has been studies done on sleep training methods which showed children who had undergone sleep training slept better and scored highly on likability, were more alert and content during the day, cried less and the parents were less stressed than those in the control group, who were not sleep training.


Here is some useful info i'v found:

This is a very detailed answer from a doctor to the specific question of does sleep training damage babies:
http://answers.google.com/answers/threa ... 74928.html
She references lots of studies and explains everything very well.
In conclusion she points out that this is nothing but fear mongering pseudoscience.


I am in no way saying everyone should sleep train their babies. There are many methods and different parents will try different methods based on what they feel is right for them and their children. It's up to you as a parent to do what you feel is best for your child. But claims like these do nothing but cause unnecessary grief to parents who believe upon reading them that they've actually damaged their children, and THAT is whats wrong.

Re: 'Cry it out ' sleep training causes brain damage

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:02 pm
by Zech
boboff wrote:
dustydave wrote:It seems a very limited discussion when you take one small aspect of parenting and then polarise the argument by saying: 'one way good the other way bad'. But then we live in a society that thrives on headline neurosis.

There are many variables involved with the way that people parent, and who is to judge what the perfect end-product is? Not me; nature creates a wealth of individuals to populate the world for good reason, some from their genetics and nurturing are good with dealing with stress, some are more sensitive to stress, but are good at feeling the nuances of unbalance in themselves and others. I therefore feel strongly that each parent has an innate ability to follow the path that they should follow and to that end, maybe even the guilt ridden ones that preach to others about the way that they should parent, possibly, are also following their own path.



Wow, what an amazingly eloquent and sensible post, probably the best EVER!!


Hear, hear!

Maybe I can join you for that pint?

Re: 'Cry it out ' sleep training causes brain damage

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:57 am
by The Riff-Raff Element
Zech wrote:
boboff wrote:
dustydave wrote:It seems a very limited discussion when you take one small aspect of parenting and then polarise the argument by saying: 'one way good the other way bad'. But then we live in a society that thrives on headline neurosis.

There are many variables involved with the way that people parent, and who is to judge what the perfect end-product is? Not me; nature creates a wealth of individuals to populate the world for good reason, some from their genetics and nurturing are good with dealing with stress, some are more sensitive to stress, but are good at feeling the nuances of unbalance in themselves and others. I therefore feel strongly that each parent has an innate ability to follow the path that they should follow and to that end, maybe even the guilt ridden ones that preach to others about the way that they should parent, possibly, are also following their own path.



Wow, what an amazingly eloquent and sensible post, probably the best EVER!!


Hear, hear!

Maybe I can join you for that pint?


Agreed. Really well put and very considered.

Re: 'Cry it out ' sleep training causes brain damage

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:09 pm
by yvette
I nearly had a breakdown when my child was tiny trying to follow all the childcare advice I was given. He did not sleep and I was nearly demented. Only much later did we find that he has Sensory Integration Dysfunction which often makes it hard for the child to settle and relax. I wish that I had read dustydave's wise post back then - parents are not encouraged very much to follow their own path and if their confidence is undermined that makes it even harder. We are all different and so are our needs - identifying and responding to that very particular set of needs that belongs to your child must be what we need to do.