Recently the topical subject of “controlled comforting” for sleep challenged babies was highlighted in mainstream media…again. It was supported by a study by researchers at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne which followed 225 children aged 6 who were involved in an earlier behavioural sleep study as infants.
Parents with babies and sleep problems were offered several different interventions including controlled comforting. This is a contemporary version of the dated controlled crying techniques without the rigid timed intervals.
There are also gentler more responsive techniques such as parental presence where the mum or dad “camps out” in the baby’s room. But this study showed that the more rigid techniques to teach baby to self soothe and self-settle did no harm to these children later in life and significantly improved the parent’s quality of life and associated maternal depression.
Babies will cry. This is the only way they can communicate to we mere mortals that there is something not right in their world and needs to be responded to…..and sometimes they just cry for no good reason. I wish they could pass us a note with their issues it would make it so much easier.
During my home visits where mum and dad have reached the end of their rope, and their precious little darling has brought the household to its sleep deprived knees, there is usually a reason why this little tiny person is unhappy and unsettled for extended periods outside normal expectations.
It’s fair to say that a sleep deprived household can impact everyone’s ability to enjoy each other and the daily ritual of living a normal life. We all live a sameness and busy daily routine as adults as we are creatures of habit.
As parents you need to decide what works best for your child and aligns with your comfort levels and parenting beliefs. Don’t worry too much about what other friends and family think or advise. It’s about what works for you and your family.
So back to crying babies. They can be helped to change from poor sleeping patterns to better meet their sleep needs so that they are happy and relaxed when awake.
Parents try so hard to make perfect parenting decisions every day. And there is no such thing as a perfect parent or a perfect baby for that matter.