Using behavioral training to help babies fall asleep doesn’t seem to harm them emotionally or developmentally years later, but it doesn’t benefit them in the long run either, a new study finds.
Australian researchers writing in the journal Pediatrics found that of 225 6-year-olds, those who participated in sleep training when they were babies were no different in emotional health than those who did not.
The study is a follow-up to some of the researchers’ earlier work that found babies and their parents benefited when the infants were taught to settle themselves through various behavioral techniques.
Overall, 9 percent of the 6-year-olds who went through training were having sleep problems, compared to 7 percent of those who did not, a difference so small that it could be due to chance. The researchers also didn’t find any differences in the children’s emotions, conduct or stress. There also didn’t seem to be any difference between the two groups in the degree of closeness between children and their parents.