Journal of Paediatrics study finds baby sleep training ‘safe’ and vital to stopping infant insomnia

The demands on new parents when they are thrown into the chaos of child-rearing are huge and the learning curve steep.

And if you’re blessed to have birthed a child who doesn’t sleep, life can quickly become close to unliveable.

But while sleep disturbances are a given for all newborns to allow for early feeding and changing needs, most babies begin to settle into a routine and establish a circadian rhythm before long.

A rhythm of cortisol develops about eight weeks of age, melatonin and sleep efficiency develop about a week later, and body temperature rhythm and that of circadian genes develop at 11 weeks.

But for those sleep-deprived parents whose cherubs don’t, life can become torturous.

An entire global industry has profited from this fact — from developing sleep aids all the way through to specialised sleep training.

One of the most controversial methods of sleep training is to let the baby “cry it out” — which refers to allowing a baby to cry for some amount of time without intervening in an attempt to teach them how to settle themselves to sleep.

Parents on one side of the fence vouch for sleep training as a lifesaver, while others brand it cruel, detrimental to a baby’s mental health and damaging to the maternal bond.

However, new research presented at the 2022 World Sleep Congress has lent weight to the argument for the former, suggesting not only is sleep training safe for babies but it also safeguards them against chronic insomnia without affecting the mother-baby connection or sacrificing mental wellbeing.

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