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'Cry It Out' More Harmful Than Commonly Thought

Is it OK to let a newborn cry it out? What about a 6-week-old? A 6-month-old?

There's a lot going on biologically when babies are left to cry in their cribs, both for the criers and their moms.

"Recent research conducted at the University of North Texas clearly reveals that the cortisol levels of babies left alone to CIO remain at unnaturally high levels even days after they learn to stop crying/cuing for help. However, the cortisol levels of mothers — which register as abnormally high when their babies cry — return to normal levels in the silence.

"At this point, mothers and babies are no longer biologically in sync. The mothers assume all is well; they interpret their babies’ silence as proof that their little ones have learned to self-soothe. Yet, physiologically babies can’t self-soothe. Rather, CIO teaches them to panic silently and detach from those whom nature intends for them to trust," Amy Wright Glen reports in the Philly Voice.

Glen describes the three major schools of thought on how parents should treat their kids during the night: co-sleeping, the popular "No Cry Sleep Solution" and CIO.

The piece delves into the science, but also the parental emotions of this short but emotional stage of parenthood and baby-life. The choices parents make with their babies won't be remembered by the child. But they're developing rapidly at this stage.

Check back for Mom.me's upcoming series where sleep expert Heather Turgeon, co-author of "The Happy Sleeper," fixes readers' sleep problems for everyone, newborns to teens (and beyond).

Submit yours in comments.

Image via Philly Voice

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