Will you ask me to let my baby cry-it-out (CIO)?

Will you ask me to let my baby cry-it-out (CIO)?

Cry-it-out is a general term that encompasses several different methods.  These methods range from the Extinction Method where parents don't go in at all to a more gradual approach of fading a parent's presence in the child's room.  There is no research that supports the use of the Extinction method, and because of that, I do not recommend that method.  While developing a plan with the family, I draw from an extensive Tool Box of well established and researched methods, and combine my years of experience doing this work.  I always work within a family’s parenting philosophy

 And learning something new can be tough for both parents and babies/toddlers.  I won’t say that there will be zero crying, because babies sometimes cry.  They cry when they are wet, while they are getting their diapers changed, when they are hungry.  It is their way of communicating.  I don’t want parents to feel like they have failed if their baby cries while making sleep changes.


How does sleep training affect attachment?

How does sleep training affect attachment?

While their are a lot of claims within current parenting ideologies that sleep training negatively affects attachment, there is no research that supports this idea.  The truth is, there are many variables that affect attachment.  Attachment, as John Bowlby proposed, is that the mother (or primary caregiver) responds to their child in a loving and supportive way, when they needs it.  This applies to sleep as well.   What we know with sleep is that being emotionally available at bedtime is what keeps cortisol levels at healthy rates.  Responding to a child in the night when their is a real biological imperative, such as a night feed, if they have soiled their diapers, or the toddler who had the nightmare.   Toddlers and babies absolutely need love and support.  This does not mean that we don't teach them how to self sooth.  At the Millette Method, we utilize an extensive Tool Box that addresses the child's biological needs as well as teaches the little one's how to sleep.


Does sleep training raise cortisol levels?

But, what about that one study that showed increased cortisol levels with CIO?

Good question!  That study used extinction method on very young babies.  There was night weaning involved.  And, here’s the kicker, they took young babies away from their parents and did the study with nurses in a hospital.  So, these babies were away from their parents, in a strange place, and forced to night wean at a young age.  Yes, that will raise cortisol levels.  This was not good research! We simply know better within The Millette Method.  We keep in night feeds until the baby is at a healthy age for night weaning, and parents are always present for sleep changes.


Thanks Candy Beers for doing the preliminary for pulling these answers together.  Candy is a wonderful colleague located in Richmond, Va.