Would you let your baby cry themselves to sleep?
Hearing a baby crying in the middle of the night is enough to make most parents jump to the rescue, but a study from Philadelphia University says mothers should let babies ‘self-soothe’.
It documented the natural development of sleep patterns in more than 1,000 babies from the ages of six to 36 months.
They found that signalling or crying on waking up at night has a developmental course, with most babies waking once or twice a week by the age of six months.
At the age of three, just 6 per cent of children woke every night.
The authors of the study discussed how self-soothing could help a baby’s development, but can you ignore the crying and let them whimper through the night?
Norland-trained nanny Kathryn Mewes says this is the best way for your baby to learn: “No baby comes into the world knowing how to fall sleep, there isn’t a way of teaching a child other than leaving them to do it themselves.
“The sooner you do it the better, the longer you leave it the harder it becomes for both parents and child.”
The nanny said this attitude should also apply during the day when toddlers may have tantrums in order to seek their parent’s attention.
The NHS recommends that babies should be allowed to try and self-settle once they are older than six months.
The website states: ‘Resist the urge to rush in if your baby murmurs in the night. Leave them for a few minutes and see if they settle on their own.’
However, they do sit on the fence and don’t come down hard on either side of the debate telling parents: ‘every child is different, so only do what you feel comfortable with and what you think will suit your child’.