Should I Let My Baby Cry: Cry It Out vs. Responding Immediately

by , under Bed Time!, Taking Care of Baby 101

In the March 2013 issue of Baby Talk magazine there is an article that suggests babies aren’t cognitively developed enough to manipulate their parents through crying, so you should respond every time baby cries or else he will think he is not important.  (Find this under topic #4 on page 20 of the issue)

So, what this article is telling me is my baby is too young to understand Pavlovian manipulation (something a DOG understood) but he can establish cause and effect relationships and refer to himself in such a way that suggests he’s established a sense of self-identity (am not important)?

Yeah right! Give me a break! This is a bunch of hog-wash by a bunch of people who want to make mom feel guilty for letting her baby cry.

So, should you let your baby cry?

As a rule of thumb, no.  However, there are some instances when letting baby cry is okay, or might even be a good thing…

1.) Cry It Out Method for sleep

If you want to try the Cry It Out Method (also known as the Ferber Method) to teach your baby to self-soothe and put himself to sleep, make sure you read up on it first.  Cry It Out does not mean leaving baby cry for hours.  It’s a very regimented way of helping baby sleep by going in at set intervals to soothe baby until he finally falls asleep.  The benefit of Cry It Out is that baby learns a valuable skill, how to calm himself.

2.) You need to use the bathroom

Hey, you have to answer to nature, too, and unfortunately you don’t wear a diaper that allows you to go anywhere you’d like.

3.) Feeling frustrated and/or angry

If you feel angry or that you might harm or yell at baby, put him in a safe place such as his crib and go somewhere where you can’t hear him for 10 minutes.  Check baby after 10 minutes.  If you need more time, go another 10 minutes.

    • libbysawyer

      Thanks for responding to my post. I wanted to apologize for how poorly written it was. I scheduled it to post before I revised it. Whoops! It’s all fixed now.

      You are a lucky duck! My son finally started sleeping through the night between 2 and 3 months. It was rough back then. But, the Cry It Out Method really paid off because now he sleeps for 10-12 hours at night. I can hear him awake in his crib cooing sometimes, but he knows how to calm himself and go back to sleep.