An economics professor who claimed babies sleep better if they’re left to cry has sparked furious backlash from parents on social media.
Emily Oster, author of new parenting book Cribsheet, says babies sleep more soundly and were happier after sleep training or ‘controlled crying’ than they were before.
The controversial claims, which have always been fiercely debated by experts, have already riled up parents on Twitter.
Economics professor Emily Oster has claimed in her new book Cribsheet that babies sleep better if they’re left to ‘cry it out’
Furious parents took to Twitter to voice their concerns over Professor Oster’s theories
Donna Summer wrote: ‘Ridiculous, what about the mother. I could never leave my child to cry, if we could, there would be no need for such research.’
Jack McHogoff agreed and wrote: ‘Bulls***. That was said to parents in the 1990s as well. Now we have a generation of insecure adults.
‘Parents, don’t buy into this. If your baby is crying, they need you.’
Ryan Skaggs seemed unable to trust an economics conclusion on a paediatric topic.
He wrote: ‘Sounds like this “economics” professor should defer to the pros on this one.
‘My sister is a history professor, she said if you talk nice to bears they won’t maul you to death.
‘Do you trust her or the professional nature tour guide?’
Some users agreed with Ms Oster’s theory.
One user wrote: ‘When they are crying for attention, just ignore them.
‘This claim is spot on.’
Professor Oster told MailOnline she has spent the last two years analysing the benefits and risks of sleep training.
Controlled crying or ‘crying it out’ refers to a variety of methods where you do not respond to a crying baby for some period of the night.
Oster said: ‘In studies where parents were encouraged to use this technique and others were not, they found – on average – after the sleep training, babies sleep better.
‘Many studies found parents reported their babies are happier after the sleep training than before.
‘In addition, there seems to be some benefits to parents, including less maternal depression and better marital satisfaction.’
Emily Oster, author of new parenting book Cribsheet, says babies sleep better and were happier after sleep training or ‘controlled crying’ than they were before
The mother-of-two says the data shows it will not cause developmental damage and will not make babies less attached to their parents.
Professor Oster said she wanted to answer many of the questions new parents have.
She said: ‘I went through the thousands of papers of academic literature and used my training to sort out what the best evidence says.
‘The focus of the book is not just providing people with an answer, but also going through the data and trying to help make it clear why I reached these particular conclusions.’
The book also looks at breastfeeding, vaccinations and co-sleeping.
Professor Oster has already faced some backlash on Twitter, with one user calling the book’s findings ‘disappointing.’
But she has defended her claims.
She said: ‘It isn’t my goal to persuade parents to sleep train their children. This is a personal choice which each family needs to make for themselves.
‘Like many other things in the book, the goal is really to provide people with evidence so they can make the best choices for them.’
Author Philippa Perry, wife of artist Grayson Perry, contests Professor Oster’s claims.
She believes parents should go to their baby if its crying.
Speaking about her bestseller The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) in the Financial Times, she says not responding to your child can ‘interfere with our innate responsiveness later in life.’
Author Phillipa Perry (right, pictured with husband Grayson Perry) contests Professor Oster’s claims
She added: ‘Being responded to is a need and the responses of a parent tend to mean a lot more to a person than attention from other sources.
‘If parents habitually fail to respond to a child’s cries, there’s a danger of heading down to them a distorted pattern of how to form attachments and maintain relationships.’
But in response, Professor Oster says the evidence does not support Mrs Perry’s views.
Emily Oster’s book Cribsheet has caused some controversy over claims babies sleep better if they’re left to ‘cry it out.’
She told MailOnline: ‘I would argue against telling families they have to go to their baby when they cry or it will damage their child.
‘The evidence does not support that view and I think we do have to recognise the issues for parents.
‘Having parents who are exhausted and depressed may also have consequences for children even if we do not want to put value on the parents at all.’
Professor Oster emphasised that many parents find controlled crying ‘very hard to do.’
She said: ‘Some parents may find it more comfortable to check in regularly, or even stay in the room.
‘The evidence suggests this can work as well as the more traditional close-the-door option.’