New Research Says ‘Cry It Out’ Doesn’t Harm Babies — And They Sleep Better

New Research Says ‘Cry It Out’ Doesn’t Harm Babies — And They Sleep Better

‘Cry it out’ sleep method doesn’t harm babies, research finds A new study says “graduated extinction,” the practice of allowing an infant to cry itself to sleep, commonly known as “cry it out” or “The Ferber Method” will not cause any lasting psychological damage. In a study of 43 infants between the ages of six months and 16 months, those who were sleep-trained with the cry it out method didn’t show any emotional, behavioral, or parental attachment issues — and woke less during the night than infants who weren’t. The study also tested a sleep training method known as “bedtime fading.” This is when a child’s bedtime is pushed later and later with the hope that the child will be sleepier and fall asleep easier. Both sleep training methods worked. (But the former allowed parents to watch Scandal uninterrupted, so is clearly superior.) The infants whose parents used them slept longer and woke less during the night than those whose parents were in the control group and stuck to their own routines, like rocking children to sleep. One of the goals of the study published today in Journal Pediatrics was to test the claims a previous study made that infants who were sleep trained with the sleep extinction method had elevated stress hormones. This new research showed no elevated stress hormones in infants during the treatment, or 12 months after. Make up your minds, researchers. We’d like to know how badly we’re screwing up our children. Is that too much to ask? “It looks like you’ve got two effective treatments that don’t necessarily lead to negative outcomes,” Michael Gradisar, the lead author of the study and an associate professor at...
Don’t Listen To Moms Of Older Kids—We Have Momnesia

Don’t Listen To Moms Of Older Kids—We Have Momnesia

When I look back on my 15-year-old’s early years, I remember her as a delightfully precocious little darling. Not the greatest sleeper in the world maybe, but other than that, a generally easy baby. As a toddler, I could sit her down with a basket of board books, and she’d look through them one by one. When people ask what she was like when she was little, I always describe her as good-natured, compliant, and calm. Only, apparently she wasn’t. At least not as a rule. One day, while reading through a journal I kept of my thoughts during her first few years (ah, those first children get all the perks), I came across this sentence: This kid is the most strong-willed child I’ve ever met. Huh. How about that. Perhaps my little angel had a bit of the devil in her after all. Reading further, I discovered that my memory of my daughter’s first few years was shakier than I thought. Yes, our girly could be good-natured, compliant, and calm. But she could also throw fits, be a way worse sleeper than “not the greatest,” and flat-out refuse to cooperate. Glimpses of memories started to emerge—her refusal to stay still during diaper changes, the month or two where she would screech for no apparent reason whenever we were out in public, the bleary-eyed sleep-deprived days when I seriously wondered if people could survive never sleeping longer than two hours at a time.   I’d forgotten those unpleasant details. Of course, I always remembered some vague difficulties—most of them sleep-related—but I’d obviously blocked out the specific annoying, frustrating, maddening...
Parenting Expectations vs. Realities: Taking Your Kids Out in Public

Parenting Expectations vs. Realities: Taking Your Kids Out in Public

To leave the house with our kids or not to leave the house? That is the question we, as parents of infants and toddlers, face from time to time. Of course, we HAVE to leave the house with our children. Taking them out in public provides innumerable benefits, but going to the grocery store or visiting the doctor’s office for a check-up, let alone doing something (that’s supposed to be) fun like a trip to the beach or the library, can be an excursion filled with unwanted outcomes. As a “glass half full” kind of guy, I always have optimistic expectations for outings with my 2-year-old son. But, oh, how those realities can come back to bite my illusions of grandeur in the bottom. Here’s a list of common activities us mommy and daddy types do with our little ones and how we hope things happen vs. how they actually go down. 1. Going to the park. Expectation: Cole will be content with going on the swing and running around the play-set while I attempt to catch up on the progress of my ESPN fantasy baseball team. Reality: Cole will get bored with the swing and play-set within two minutes, commandeer another child’s shovel and bucket without their permission in the sandbox (causing a major meltdown by both youngsters in the process), and get his fresh-cleaned clothes completely dirty. 2. Going to a truck show. Expectation: Cole loves trucks! He’ll have the time of his life getting an up-close-and-personal look at fire engines, bulldozers, and helicopters. Reality: Apparently Cole loves trucks … but DOESN’T love waiting in long lines...
Hey Dads: You’ve Got To Pitch In At Night

Hey Dads: You’ve Got To Pitch In At Night

My husband wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning before the sun rises. Then he boards a train and heads to the city, where he works his ass off teaching high school English. When he comes home, I throw our two loud, monkey-boys in front of him while I finish cooking dinner. Then we eat, finish up chores, and I retreat to the bedroom to work while he wrangles our boys into their pj’s, and helps them wind down for bed. Sounds like a pretty decent guy, huh? I mean, I think he’s hot enough as it is, but fatherhood looks damn good on him. Here’s the icing on the cake, though: This man—this exhausted man who works his butt off to provide for his family—doesn’t stop parenting when the lights go out. He helps out when the kids need us in the middle of the night, and he always has. Our kids aren’t the world’s best sleepers. Night waking of some kind is pretty common around here. Whether it’s babies who need to be rocked, burped, or soothed; toddlers who need another glass of water; or kids puking or having nightmares, my husband wakes up to help almost as much as I do. And you know what? That shouldn’t be notable at all. I mean, it definitely makes me all hot and bothered when I think about what a good dad he is, but listen up: All dads should help at night. All partners should. If you and someone else made a kid together, adopted one, or are in charge of one in any way, shape, or form,...
8 Things I Obsess Over That My Husband Just Doesn’t Get

8 Things I Obsess Over That My Husband Just Doesn’t Get

I am a passionate human being who puts my heart and soul into everything I do, which makes me a pretty good journalist, but a semi-annoying wife. When I told my husband I was writing this article and asked him what exactly I obsess over, without a beat he responded, “Everything.” I made him narrow the list down, and this is what he came up with … 1. Baby and kid gear. I cannot buy a stroller, carseat, sippy cup, glider, or baby monitor without looking at said items for hours and hours online and visiting at least two separate locations of Babies ‘R’ Us and Buy Buy Baby — oh, and a few independent boutiques as well — where I will bombard the salespeople with a list of questions, cross referencing their answers with Amazon reviews. I call this doing my research, because I want the best product and the lowest price. My husband calls it wasting my time. “I don’t really care. It’s not a car, it’s a stroller,” says the man who isn’t stuck pushing it around all day, every day for four years, when I ask him to come look at two different models. Eventually, I make decisions without his input and then plug my ears when he complains about said items. 2. Every little sneeze, cough, and red spot on our kids. I’ve never in my life been a hypochondriac, and when it comes to my own health, I have to be bleeding out and gasping for breath to call the doctor’s office, but my kids are a different story. Every one of their bruises, runny...