Parents Can Let Sleepless Babies Cry It Out: Study

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"While stressful for the infant, it almost certainly falls under the 'positive stress' heading," said Rahil D. Briggs, director of the Healthy Steps program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. "Positive stress creates growth in the child, in the form of coping skills and frustration tolerance that serve to be critically important throughout the life span."

But for parents, the message may be even more important.

"This study empowers parents to be active in shaping their infant's behavior to be consistent with appropriate developmental milestones," said Dr. John Walkup, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at NY-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

After 11 months of nightly crying, Stone's daughter finally started to sleep through the night. Stone says she was thankful -- but she said that support from an expert would have been a welcome reassurance.

"Having that voice of authority from a pediatrician about what the right practices are and knowing that they're backed by science, that can bring you back from the point of freaking out," she said.

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