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Your Healthy Family: Cry it out method will not harm infants

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One of the biggest challenges and dilemmas new parents can face is teaching a child healthy sleep habits. One of the biggest challenges and dilemmas new parents can face is teaching a child healthy sleep habits.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

One of the biggest challenges and dilemmas new parents can face is teaching a child healthy sleep habits.  The trouble is nothing makes a parent want to answer the needs of a child more than their cry, but when you're trying to teach an infant to sleep through the night the cry it out method can be emotional torture.  Pediatricians say a measured approach can be best for the child and parents.

Dr. Eva Kubiczek-Love is a Pediatrician with Cleveland Clinic, who says, "I wait one minute and then I go in, and then maybe the next night I wait two minutes and then I go in.  I think if parents have that sort of acclimated or titrated way of doing it, they're going to do better than keeping their hand on the door knob and never going in."

Dr. Kubiczek-Love adds that studies say letting babies cry themselves to sleep does not cause any long term emotional or behavioral harm to the child.  In fact, babies who were put to bed using the gradual extinction method, or the bedtime fading method where bedtime is moved later to get the baby to fall asleep sooner, actually fell asleep quicker than those using other methods.  It can still be stressful on parents to let their child cry for long periods of time, but Dr. Kubiczek-Love says it comes down to parents learning their baby's sleep cycle, which is still developing in their first year.

"You want to start sleep training no later than six months, which means establishing a routine, really making sure that they're in the rhythm of understanding, 'oh, we're going to calm down, have a soothing environment, and okay now it's time for me to go to sleep."

The most important thing parents can do when it comes to sleep training is like almost anything with parenting, be consistent.  If you have any questions follow up with your pediatrician.

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