Danish psychologists protest cry-it-out sleep book

More than 700 Danish psychologists have reopened a raging debate in the country over the 'cry-it-out' baby sleep training method, after penning an open letter to the publisher Gyldendal calling on it to withdraw a book on it.

Danish psychologists protest cry-it-out sleep book
The book, Sleep, Child, by Sylvia de Béjar and Eduard Estivill, promotes a version of the method in which parents refuse to comfort or breastfeed infants after bedtime, after which it claims the infants learn to “self-soothe”. 
In June, Gyldendal put out a press release announcing its intention to keep selling the book in the face of a Facebook campaign last summer, saying it had contacted international experts. “The response from researchers, both national and international, has not led to a change in the publishers position on keeping the book on the shelves,” it said. 
But the 723 psychologists, led by the Copenhagen-based researcher Christine Posselt, in their letter questioned which researchers the company had contacted, insisting that there was evidence that the method risked causing long-term emotional damage. 
“Babies and toddlers rely heavily on the comfort and care of their parents, and it can have negative consequences for their development if they are not comforted and reassured when they are upset,” the psychologists wrote.
“Children who have not been met with enough care when they were upset may find it more difficult to deal with their emotions, among other things. In addition, a lack of comforting and care can damage the connection between the child and the parents.” 
After the letter, Danish media contacted parents who had used the controversial method. 
Niels Groth, a teacher in Copenhagen, used the method on his son Uffe when he was seven months old, and watched the time his son spent crying decreaase from 50 minutes on the first night to sleeping straight away on the fourth. 
“He cried much less than I had feared, and was less upset,” he told Danish state broadcaster DR
The psychologists attacked de Béjar and Eduard Estivill's characterisation of infant crying as “manipulative”, and also their assertion that if a child is suffering from a sleep disorder if he or she still wakes up in the middle of the night at six months old. 
“If the child cries so violently that it vomits, even this is seen as a way to get the parents' attention, and the parents are encouraged to simply change the bedding and then let the child cry further,” the psychologists wrote. 
“We would like to emphasize that crying is not a form of manipulation and that babies and toddlers are not at all able to manipulate, nor to vomit on purpose.” 
They also criticised an idea that when the child stops crying it has learned to 'self-soothe'. 
“It is known from the research that babies and young children are not able to soothe themselves at all,” they wrote. “The child has simply become quiet because it has learned that its crying is ignored. In other words, the child may still be sad, scared and lonely, but it has stopped expressing his feelings.” 

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Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Monday

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Monday
Sunny weather is expected all week this week. Photo: Niclas Jessen/Visit Denmark

Denmark’s former PM names new party Moderaterne 

Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Denmark’s former prime minister, announced on Saturday that his new centre party would be called Moderaterne, the same name as the leading centre-right party in Sweden. 

In a speech held to mark Denmark’s Constitution Day on Saturday, Rasmussen said the new party would attempt to unite Danes with a variety of different backgrounds and political viewpoints. 

“Some prefer mackerel, and others prefer salmon. Some have long Danish pedigrees, others have only recently chosen to live in Denmark,” he said.

What they all have in common, he said, is their love for Denmark, which is “among the best countries in the world”. 

“How do we drive it forward? We are trying to find an answer to that. How do we pass it on to our children in better condition than we received it?” 

Rasmussen said the party would not launch fully until after November’s local elections, but was ready to contest a parliamentary election if the ruling Social Democrats decided to call an early vote, something he said he did not expect to happen. 

Sweden’s state epidemiologist warns Swedes to be careful in “high-infection” Denmark 

After the per capita number of new coronavirus infections in Denmark in recent days overtaking that of Sweden, Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has advised Swedes visiting their Nordic neighbour to be careful to maintain social distancing. 

“You need to keep [the infection rate] in mind if you go there, so that you really take with you the advice you have in Sweden to keep your distance, not stay with lots of other people, and not have the close contact that involves a risk,” he told the Expressen newspaper. 

He said Denmark’s higher infection rate was an obvious consequence of the country’s more rapid lifting of restrictions. 

“They chose to open up society relatively quickly even though they knew that there was a certain risk that the spread of infection would increase,” he said. “Because they had vaccinated the elderly and did not see that it would be that dangerous with a certain increased spread of infection.” 

Nils Strandberg Pedersen, former director for Denmark’s SSI infectious diseases agency called Tegnell’s comments “comical”. 

“It’s comical. It’s Swedish spin,” he told the BT tabloid. “Denmark has registered more infections because we test so much more than the Swedes. It’s not the same as having more people infected in the population.” 

More immigrants to Denmark are getting an education 

The education gap between first and second-generation immigrants to Denmark and people of Danish origin has fallen over the last decade, according to a story published in Politiken based on new figures from Denmark’s immigration ministry. 

An impressive 72 percent of 20 to 24-year-old first and second-generation female immigrants now completing further education of university education, compared to 58 percent in 2010.

Denmark records further 853 cases of coronavirus 

A further 853 people were diagnosed with coronavirus in the 24 hours running up to 2pm on Sunday, a rise on Saturday when 592 cases were detected, but still within the range of 600 to 1350 a day within which Denmark has been fluctuating since the start of May. 

Thorkild Sørensen, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the University of Copenhagen, told Ritzau that the sunny summer weather was allowing people to meet outside, and vaccinations were having an impact, allowing Denmark to open up without a surge in infections.

On Sunday morning, 138 people were being treated for coronavirus in Denmark’s hospitals, up four from Saturday, or whom 29 were in intensive care. 

Some 40.4 percent of the population has now received at least one dose of vaccine and 23.2 percent have received both doses. 

Sunny summer weather expected in Denmark this week 

Denmark is expected to have warm sunny weather with temperatures of 18C to 23C, with blue skies and little rain, Danish Meteorological Institute said on Monday. 

“This week looks really nice and summery, and it will be mostly dry weather most of the time,” Anja Bodholdt, a meteorologist at the institute told Ritzau on Monday.  “The only exception is Monday, when people in Jutland and Funen might wake up to scattered showers that move east during the day.” 

Danish property market show signs of cooling 

The number of houses being put on the market fell again in May, according to new figures released from Home, one of Denmark’s largest online estate agents. 

According to Bjørn Tangaa Sillemann, an analyst at Danske Bank, the figures suggest that momentum is seeping out of what has been a “scorching” market over the last year, although he said it was unlikely prices would actually fall. 
“Although demand seems to be declining, it is still high, and when interest declines, it can also make it less attractive to put your home up for sale than it has been recently,” he said.
At Home, 5.1 percent fewer houses were put on the market in May, while the number of apartments put on the market fell 9 percent, and the number of sales fell by 2.1 and 5.7 percent respectively.