Letting babies cry themselves to sleep isn't harmful, study says

- Many new parents may think letting babies cry themselves to sleep is cruel, but a new study could offer reassurance. Researchers at Flinders University in Australia found letting babies “cry it out”— or allow them to cry for an extended period of time”— does not lead to long-term emotional or behavioral harm.

Researchers used the method, also called “graduated extinction,” as well as bedtime fading—which involves pushing bedtime back in hopes the infant will fall asleep more quickly— on 43 babies 6 to 16 months old, CBC News reported.

They found that infants subjected to the sleep methods fell asleep more quickly compared with babies in the control group, who slept according to their usual routine.

"It looks like you've got two effective treatments that don't necessarily lead to negative outcomes," study author Michael Gradisar said, an associate professor at Flinders University in Australia.

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