In her new book ‘Cribsheet’, Emily Oster, 39, claims that babies sleep better if they are trained from a young age.
The mum-of-two claims that the controversial method, often referred to as ‘controlled crying’, does not damage children and will not make children less attached to their parents.
Professor Oster has spent the previous two years analysing the benefits and risks of sleep training infants.
Also known as ‘crying it out’, controlled crying is a sleep training method popular with a lot of parents, and means leaving a baby to self-soothe themselves back to sleep.
Established by Dr Richard Feber in the 80s, the idea behind the technique is that you leave your baby to self-settle without your help.
But critics of the method claim it could be harmful to leave your child to cry, something Oster disputes.
“In studies where parents were encouraged to use this technique and others were not, they found - on average - after the sleep training, babies sleep better,” she told Mail Online.
“Many studies found parents reported their babies are happier after the sleep training than before.
“In addition, there seems to be some benefits to parents, including less maternal depression and better marital satisfaction.”
Though she believes the method has many positives, she added that it was every parent’s “personal choice” about how they raise their baby.
However, she does not support telling families they will damage their child by leaving them to “cry it out.”
“Having parents who are exhausted and depressed may also have consequences for children even if we do not want to put value on the parents at all,” she said.
Unsurprisingly, the topic has divided parents on social media.
Many aren’t fans of the controversial sleep training method.
Babies cry for a reason...it's their only way of communicating.
— Deborah F 🇪🇺🇬🇧🐶🏴🚴♀️ (@Deborah04315412) June 2, 2019
Nope—also creates a sense of distrust/helplessness in the child & damages the likelihood of forming secure attachment to their primary caregiver. Babies need to know they have an effect over their environment just like we do & caregiver contact is important for neural growth.
— iris appelquist (@appel_quist) June 3, 2019
I’VE read that leaving a child to cry too long without comforting them can result in them developing anxiety that can develop into an anxiety condition as an adult
— Centrist Rambler (@CentristRambler) June 2, 2019
But many parents also went online to share their success stories of using the method.
We did this with both of ours. Both were settled sleepers well inside 6 months.
— Mark Farragher (@MarkFarragher) June 2, 2019
We did this with our first too. He constantly cried all through the night and eventually we took some advice and left him. It was the hardest thing to do but after just 2 nights he settled himself and has done so ever since. He's now 7. It's a controversial question though.
— Helen Thomason (@hthomason76) June 2, 2019