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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 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.

Frank January 28, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Bob Hit it right on the nose Our twelve year old girl we let cry . I had to go outside because I jut wanted to pick her up. It lasted about 5-10 minutes. After a Week it lasted 1 minute . Although The 5-10 minutes felt like an hour . Our two younger boys, my wife has to sleep in the same room with them - They are 6 and 4 1/2 . The 4 1/2 sleep quick. The 6 year old, Could take h 1 Hr. now we're paying the price for not letting them cry themselves to sleep EVERY Child is so different. NO CORRECT ANSWER!!
marion1 January 28, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Agree with Bob and Frank. Every child is different- agree that under 6 months you really need to go to them, we gently rubbed her back for small whimpers to help her settle and fall asleep in her crib...after 6 months, they need to learn how to get back to sleep on their own. Agree that you learn different cries pretty quickly. Too much fussing over every whimper can lead to "let's play" at 3 a.m. Or in our case, i made the mistake of giving our daughter baby cereal at 3 a.m. thinking she was hungry....during the introduce new foods stage....all that did was set her internal clock for 3 a.m. breakfast! Babies learn FAST!
Josh January 29, 2013 at 05:09 PM
It's amazing how so many agree on the few general approaches in our demographic/area. Any ideas on stopping obsession with characters like batman or Shrek? We take away dvd, turn off tv as much as possible, try to keep exposure minimal from the start, but he just doesn't stop screaming for it. A lot is because at school other kids have cartoon lunch boxes and bags and there seems to be no way to provide a consistent message when they are exposed to what you are trying to control??
Jane January 29, 2013 at 05:33 PM
Like some others have said, it seems to me that just like different people have different characteristics - ways they respond to hunger, extrovert versus introvert, verbal versus reading learner - that babies have them too. I think the best thing a parent can do is read different ideas, think critically about them, and try them out in parenting in a compassionate and alert manner to see what works best with their child. Don't pick a box to put the child in, find a box that fits the shape of the child. (Uhm, should probably clarify that's a metaphor!)
Jane February 11, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Carrie is exactly the kind of Mom I hope never to be!


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