Every parent can relate to sleep woes, but a lot of parents are still unsure about implementing sleep training methods, specifically the extinction method. Whether it's worrying about how extinction method affects your kid later in life or you can't handle listening to your kid cry themselves to sleep, a lot of parents are apprehensive about going for it. But that idea of sleep for you and your baby sounds worth it, right?
According to The Baby Sleep Site, the extinction method requires letting your baby cry it out and . . . that's it. The idea is that your baby learns to self-soothe and isn't relying on you to come in every time they cry to get them back to sleep. But many parents feel this is cruel and heartless to let a baby cry until they literally pass out. That being said, this method should be used with an accompanying bedtime routine rather than dropping your baby in the crib and hoping they'll fall asleep as soon as they hit the pillow.
So how does it affect your kiddo later in life? Well, it depends. According to CNN, researchers in Australia found that crying it out did not cause babies to become stressed and, a year later, the children did not have any behavioral issues, nor were they more attached to their parents.
But Psychology Today has a different theory and argued that babies who are left to cry themselves to sleep can become seriously distressed and that it can impact their relational capacities as they grow. Instead of crying it out making children more independent, Psychology Today noted that it can actually make children more dependent and that they can have anxiety issues for the rest of their life.
However, Sarah Ockwell-Smith, a parenting expert and author, noted on her website that studies on sleep training and crying it out aren't exactly conducive to making decisions. She suggested that the variables between sleep studies make it so it's impossible to get accurate information. One study may have a smaller sample size, one isn't taking into account other factors in an infant's life. And because infant sleep is constantly changing from month to month, how can you make an "all or nothing" decision on it?
With so many other factors that could contribute to a child's personality and emotions as they grow, it's difficult to rely on a study that says the extinction method is responsible for anxious, dependent children or kids who grow up to be just fine. If you're not sure the extinction method is for you and your child, talk to your baby's pediatrician so you can feel secure in any sleep decision you make.