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It's OK let let babies cry, study finds

Wednesday - 9/12/2012, 7:09am  ET

baby
Letting a baby cry won't damage the parent-child relationship. (AP)

WASHINGTON - Letting babies cry won't cause long-term psychological problems or damage the parent-child relationship, a new study says.

Published Monday in the journal "Pediatrics," the study followed babies until they were 6 years old. And while the method it suggests doesn't include the most controversial "cry it out" technique, also known as extinction, the finding will likely stir more controversy, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The methods used for this study are called "controlled comforting" and "camping out."

WSJ reports the "controlled comforting" method, known colloquially as "Ferberizing" after the Dr. Richard Ferber, known for the technique, involves parents returning to a crying child at intervals and offering limited comfort.

For the "camping out," parents will sit in a chair next to the baby's bed and slowly move it out of the room over a period of several weeks.

Critics of the method and those who promote "attachment parenting" say these methods cause behavioral and emotional problems later in life.

Researchers, however, found little difference between children who were sleep trained and those who weren't

The study also found that 16.5 percent of children in the control group had emotional or behavioral problems, and the groups with sleep training had 12.3 percent.

Thirty percent of participants dropped out before the study was complete.

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WTOP's Veronica Robinson contributed to this report. Follow Veronica and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)