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Should You Let Your Baby Cry It Out?

Getting a child to sleep through the night is the aim of all parents, but what's the best way to do it?

How do you and your baby get a good night’s sleep?

When you hear your baby cry, letting him or her cry it out is one of the hardest things to do. Your instincts tell you to go and soothe your baby.

A study out of Temple University says that parents should let their baby cry it out.

Psychology Professor Marsha Weinraub says in an article on the Temple
website that babies need to learn to self-soothe, which they don’t learn if a parent is doing the soothing for them, such as nursing the baby back to sleep.

"The best advice is to put infants to bed at a regular time every night, allow them to fall asleep on their own and resist the urge to respond right away to awakenings."

There are many critics of the cry it out method, who will hopefully give their opinions in the comments area below, but the current science points to that as the best method, which is why we chose to use it with our son.

When we decided it was time to start, there were several nights that were absolute torture for us. In the morning, our son seemed to have suffered no harm, and he soon got it and he started self-soothing and falling asleep on his own.

Sometimes, he’s not happy to be put to bed and he cries a little, but it doesn’t last long, because he knows it will have no effect. Instead, he jumps up and down on his mattress to entertain himself and eventually goes to sleep. There are rare times when he cries at night, but when it happens the cries are different. There’s the little cry that means he woke up and didn’t want to and it sort of tapers off and he’s asleep again, just like magic. Very unusually, we get the real cry and now we know it means something’s wrong and we as parents can respond and fix whatever problem he has. 

How have you dealt with getting your child to sleep through the night? Do you let your child cry it out? Share your thoughts in the comment area below.

Leslie February 17, 2013 at 03:43 PM
I never was an advocate of letting a child cry and cry and cry. The bonds and trust of a child begin at birth. Now this isn't to say we ran over every time they started to cry. We waited a minute or so and then walked over to see what the deal was. Then we would try and soothe them by rubbing their backs, etc. If that didn't work we'd pick them up and rock them to sleep. Sometimes it's just a matter of knowing you're there or they've had a bad dream or something.
WILFREDO G. SALCEDO, Sr. February 17, 2013 at 04:56 PM
We lived in a hi-rise apartment when our child was a baby...We always made sure he didn't scream in the middle of the night and woke the whole complex up...Besides, we needed the sleep, too. As for letting the kid cry till exhausted, we thought it is a bit cruel...The child has plenty of time to figure things out as he grows older.
joan February 17, 2013 at 05:26 PM
Children will learn to calm themselves down or go back to sleep, that is if YOU let them. As long as they are not in harms way or Sick it is ok to let them expand their lungs.lol. Really There are medical reasons for this as well. What do you teach them if you pick them up every peep or cry? They already know how to manipulate. As long as there is no abuse , not hurt, all their needs are being taken care of, neighbors who understand. Let them exercise their lungs. Remember we all have to live with the little darlings when they are older. Lol
WILFREDO G. SALCEDO, Sr. February 17, 2013 at 11:23 PM
That was eons ago when those nighttime "tantrums" happened (actually rarely), and were calmed down with rock-a-bye baby routines...He is now a normal adult and obviously without complications of overly cuddling.
Beth February 18, 2013 at 01:56 AM
I would say that from about 6 months or younger, we did often go in to comfort our babies when they were crying. In retrospect, I wish I had taken a little more time to savor those moments. After about 6 months of age, our kids were able to get into more of a routine and ever since then, they have been fine.
Heather N. February 18, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Babies do NOT "manipulate" their caregivers. A baby's wants are the same as her needs. Babies "learn to calm themselves down" because they learn there is no use crying because no one is coming. What a horrible lesson to learn as an infant.
joan February 19, 2013 at 02:50 AM
Please don't be offened but All humans manipulate. It's human nature. Even as as young as an infant.People do or react certain ways when they want something. That is fact. How quickly do people learn. Both the child and the adult.They are little people. The comment was not meant to "abandon" the little ones. As stated there is some good that comes from crying. It does exercise & stregnthen their lungs and they will learn to entertain themselves for a short while.No one is suggesting this be a long term.
WILFREDO G. SALCEDO, Sr. February 19, 2013 at 11:23 AM
We are told that infants don't recall events that happened to them at this age...I am wary about babies as being "manipulative"...I believe their behavior is more instinctive rather than purposeful...The riskay age is the terrible 2s!..This is when they become like tea partyers :).
Kim February 19, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Wow, you can't even talk about babies without interjecting a political jab! Willy, the guy who only insults when he is insulted. Give me a break. Your jab adds nothing to the discussion. It negates every point you made! Btw...you are over analyzing the word manipulate! The baby does earn how to control it's surroundings. I'm sure that's all she meant.
joan February 19, 2013 at 01:53 PM
FINALLY SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS. THANKS KIM .AS FOR YOU WILLY.. YOU LEARNED VERY WELL PROBABY AT A VERY EARLY AGE JUST HOW TO MANIPULATE...LOOK AT HOW YOU ARE DISRUPTING NORMAL CONVERSATION AND ADDING STRIFE & BITTERNESS WHILE ADDING YOUR OWN OPINIONS ABOUT THE TEA PARTYY...REALLY? YOU SIR NEED TO HAVE YOUR HAND SLAPPED. IT IS OBVIOUS YOU have grown up being the center of your own universe. Take up the argument w/ the Dr.s, and Human nature experts. You sir are no EXPERT. Again no offense meant. just the facts. keep it real.
WILFREDO G. SALCEDO, Sr. February 19, 2013 at 01:59 PM
Ooops, did I hit a nerve?..I am sorry if I did...Anyway, back to babies...Boys don't have recollection of the traumatic circumcision they had (if ever one was performed on them) as infants...Believe what you like, but this is the fact...Babies cry when uncomfortable (colic, fever, thirst), not when they want anything else, so we soothe them...The terrible 2ers know what to do...This is time to ignore.
WILFREDO G. SALCEDO, Sr. February 19, 2013 at 02:10 PM
And you are an expert?..Give me a break...What more facts do you want?..I do wish the EXPERTS (Drs. and all come and join the discussion because what we have here are "opinions" unsupported by facts)...Professor Weintraub's study is incomplete...She needs more "guinea pigs" to support her theory. My "manipiulative" acumen was probably learned during my terrible 2s, not as an infant (this is the basis of this debate)...And no more personalities, please...It's uncivilized, unladies-like.
Kim February 19, 2013 at 02:25 PM
I think I hit a nerve because I proved how ignorant you are! You don't bother me. You have proven your ignorance time after time. I just wanted to show you who you really are! Joan, don't be bothered by Willy. He also advocates drinking and getting high with your kids because it has no effect on who they become as adults. Consider the source.
joan February 19, 2013 at 06:22 PM
well thanks for the insight Kim. It's not hard to imagine...I mean the source. hahahaha I know people who would support his "theories". These are the same folks decades later, who are still stuck in their youth, blaming their parents (for trying to instill discipline, morals and values so they can be productive members of this society) Show me a whinny spoiled little brat & I will show you EGO- centered adult, still crying to be picked up. Because their world revolves only around themselves & the parents who think their procreative contribution is the the center of the universe.
WILFREDO G. SALCEDO, Sr. February 19, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Balls, phillyboy, you yellow cur?..You challenged someone to a fight but you chickened out, giving all excuses to get out of it...You should look at your mirror so you can see the gutless person there is.
Kim February 19, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Phillyboy showed maturity and good judgement when he didn't meet some stranger in a parking lot to brawl. Grow up Willy!
WILFREDO G. SALCEDO, Sr. February 19, 2013 at 08:51 PM
The problem is, this child initiated the challenge...It was accepted, but somehow phillyboy couldn't afford the gas to go to the place of combat...Some excuse! But why are we bothering with this idiocy?..It is so juvenile.
WILFREDO G. SALCEDO, Sr. February 19, 2013 at 09:00 PM
It's amazing that a simple topic of crying baby could deteriorate into trash talk...I am called ignorant, spoiled brat, no balls, God knows what else...Hey, I call you back. Meanwhile, the issue gets waylaid to the side of relevance...Is Weintraub's conclusion acceptable...Not to me, it isn't.
Nazaretti February 19, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Here is a link to the abstract of the Weinraub study: http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=search.displayRecord&id=F4738EDE-0FC8-C4C3-E00C-295504AFA8E0&resultID=1&page=1&dbTab=pa I do not see anything in the study that would form a basis for her recommendation. In fact, the babies who awake frequently seem often to have real problems. To support her recommendation, she should have instructed half of the parents of restless6-month-old babies to comfort them right away and the other half to wait, say, 5 minutes before comforting them. Then she could compare the results of the two groups at 15 months of age. Also, the headline of the Patch article, "...Let Your Baby Cry it Out", goes significantly beyond Weinraub's advice to, "resist the urge to respond RIGHT AWAY to awakenings" (my emphasis). She doesn't say to ignore the baby's crying for a long time, just for long enough to let him soothe himself.
WILFREDO G. SALCEDO, Sr. February 21, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Then, moron, what are you doing here in this woman thread?..God, you are an idiot who just likes to meddle with stuff you know nothing about.

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