When the witching hour becomes the witching days and nights, it's time to bring in the experts. Colic, defined as a condition in children between three weeks and three months old that causes them to cry for three hours a day at least three days a week, can be trying on new parents as well as their tot. While there's still no known cause of colic, doctors may be coming close to a remedy. I spoke with Dr. Bob Sears about techniques parents can use to calm a colicky baby, and he revealed a new treatment he's finding success with in his own patients. Check out our interview above!
When baby sleeps through the night for the first time in his life, it is a milestone to be celebrated by the whole family and perhaps, the neighbors! The lucky experience this momentous occasion early in infancy while other mums are dragged through the torture of sleepless nights into toddlerhood. Parents desperate to get a full night's rest may resort to sleep training to get baby on a lengthy snooze cruise.
There are two basic training methods — crying it out and not crying it out. While Dr. Emmett Holt, author of The Care and Feeding of Children described cry-it-out back in 1895, it is often credited to Dr. Richard Ferber, Director of The Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders. Careful not to describe his style as CIO, the Ferber method preaches that a child can be taught to put himself to sleep with self soothing techniques somewhere between four and six-months-old. In order for the baby to learn the steps to self soothing, they need to be put down while still awake. If he rouses during the night, parents are instructed not to pick him up, but to comfort and pat him after set periods of time. It is up to the family to decide how long the intervals should be and how often the wakings. Theoretically, baby learns how to handle his own falling asleep and learns that mommy will only check on him — not rescue him.
Critics of the Ferber tactics argue that tots left to cry themselves to sleep endure long-lasting damage to their nervous systems. Researchers from a recent Harvard study claim CIO makes children more susceptible in later life to anxiety disorders, including panic attacks.
To see what the opposing technique is, read more