The science behind cc- not wanting debate(19 Posts)
An awkward one as I know people have strong feelings. I'm very much wanting to avoid cc with my 1 year old but DH feels its the only way. He is a scientist and has found research stating that it can be beneficial and I'm sure it does have advantages. I'm wanting to read up on both sides myself so I can attempt to do so in an unbiased way. Can anyone link me to research either for or against? Trying to do this in a non-emotive way just looking at facts.
I suppose I dont really have any 'scientific' research for you to look at (well, none that you can't just find yourself, on google) but I can say that I would hate to be left alone in a room with no understanding of when my care giver was returning and if they were returning or why they had left me.
I dont think it makes for strong attachment and there are lots of studies to show that attachment in the first six months is so so important to the rest of life.
Look up John Bowlby Attachment Theory, or the work that Hanslow did shortly afterwards. Also the work at the 'center for child development' in America, looking at secure and avoidant attachment theories.
For me, I dont know whether or not controlled crying causes issues with attachment, but I certainly know that responding to a child as they need it, waiting until it is age appropriate to begin to bring in 'self soothing' etc, certainly does not cause attachment issues.
For me, it was around 10/12 months when my children showed that they had developed an understanding of their surroundings enough to appreciate that when put in the bedroom, they were not there 'for ever' or completely alone.
So from this point we began to slowly help them learn to sleep alone, in our bed as usual to start with, then their own cot but in our room and eventually, at around 18 months, in their own rooms.
Its worked really well and our attachment to our children is just fantastic.
Obviously there are reason why such an approach to parenting cannot be taken, some children require a different approach and some mothers/families need a different approach. In these cases its always worth weighing up the pros and the cons, but really, the ideal should be an ongoing secure attachment for the first six months minimum, with a gentle introduction to independence from that point.
I don't think those who are against CC are saying it doesn't work, more that they don't think it's very nice.
Do what you have to do
I think that for a one year old, allowing them to explore their feelings alone a little bit is really very useful.
I dont think they need constant helicoptering at that age, I think they need sleep.
I have friends who have not allowed their children to fall asleep alone and have 3 years olds who will not sleep alone, will not sleep all night and will be tired and grumpy during the days, creating negative associations with 'life' in general and leading to behavioural problems.
It has to be a balance. Neither side has that right, its got to be somewhere in the middle.
I think that the problem here is that the 'science' for and against cc is really not very good (and I say that as a trained scientist).
Also, if you have strong personal feelings against cc, then this in itself is a good reason not to do it. It is certainly not the case that cc is the only way- for instance, you could try gradual withdrawal.
there's a new book out, spookily i just ordered it today called the science of mother-infant sleep and I think it covers the whole attachment/cortisol type stuff it sounds like you might like.
isisonline is another fab resource
To answer your original question, the best source of information on intact sleep is probably the Isis site
"Solve your child's sleep problems" by Richard Ferber is the "bible" as such of controlled crying. He is an American doctor who specialises in paediatric sleep disorders.
An incredibly helpful book which sets out a range of sleep training methods (from cry-it-out to gentle or no-cry methods) is Bed Timing by two developmental psychologists, Marc Lewis and Isabela Granic. I can't tell you how helpful it was for us.
Best of luck!
As has been said earlier, there is not much in the way of non-biased, randomised 'evidence' out there regarding children's sleep (I am a medical doctor and research scientist and have spent more than my fair share of time researching this on PubMed). The Books about sleep are highly biased and usually contain very outdated research so by no means count as evidence. You may be interested to read a recent systematic review of studies over the last twenty years looking at 'sleep training' under 6 months (PMID 24042081) which concludes that sleep training before then is actively harmful for both mother and child. The same cannot necessarily been extrapolated to 1 year olds but I know I won't be doing it...
PS Would second ISIS as a link to unbiased studies of children's sleep.
And if controlled crying / cry it out actually worked everyone would do it and we wouldn't have a problem with children's sleep (by that I mean our expectations of children's sleep) and SO MANY differing views/books/commercial opportunities on it! Works for some, is catastrophic for others.
Attachment disorders are not caused by 'crying' so to speak. They are caused by neglect. I actually can't see any difference between watching a mum push a crying baby back and forth to bridge them to sleep and letting a baby cry for 5 mins.
EvidenceBasedMum - can I ask you what method (if any) you used to get your children to sleep? Genuinely interested - it sounds as though you have done your research, and I have a one year old here who is nowhere close to having a good nights sleep!
Kidinasweetshop - Bed Timing argues that when you do the sleep training is really important (more so than how you do it). It discusses baby's development from 0 to 3 years (if I remember correctly) and highlights the particular development periods when sleep training would be a really bad idea - for example, 8 - 11 months is a peak time for separation anxiety and so doing sleep training which involves you not responding to your baby's attempts to bring you back could be upsetting/traumatic for your baby.
Even if you don't follow their advice, the developmental stuff is really interesting. I felt it was all presented in a non-biased way. They discuss various sleep training methods but don't advocate one or another.
i always think i don't do cc, but maybe i do because sometimes (from experience) i've realized dd3 is actually overtired and needs me to leave her alone to go to sleep, so i pop her in her bed and leave her for up to 20 mins, unless she sounds like she's getting actually sad, and then she's either asleep or i go get her and try something else
boob again! . is that cc?
Another vote for bed timing, it's a great book. Totally non biased and non judgemental,very much focuses on the child's development and the best/worst time to do things as PP explains.
Also Marc weissbluth who is an American ped has a book called healthily sleep habits happy child...it is an absolute brick of a book but I found lots of it very helpful especially discussing sleep cycles etc. and he also covers a lot on sleep training methods and the pros and cons. lots of Americans rate him really highly along with Ferber as someone else mentioned. Can you tell I'm obsessed with baby sleep, my book shelf is full!
Margot Sunderland covers the issue of leaving babies to cry in her book 'what every parent needs to know'. She explains what is going on in the baby's brain etc when they are left to cry. She is clearly very pro attachment parenting and not letting babies cry etc so she is biased in that sense but the science seemed convincing to me (though i don't have a scientific background). Isis as has been said is really helpful.
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