As a mom, you quickly figure out lots of ways to soothe a crying baby. Whether it’s cuddling her close and rocking together in a quiet room or singing a lullaby while walking around the house, you can usually find a technique that works.
But what happens when it doesn’t? Once in a while, your soothing efforts may feel like futile attempts to stop the crying. Or perhaps crying spells at night have totally disrupted your family’s regular sleep patterns and your home is now full of tired grumpy grouches…you included!
What about the theory of ‘crying it out?’ It’s a term that simply means if your baby is fed, has a clean diaper and is otherwise healthy, just let her cry until she stops. Don’t run into the nursery and pat her back, don’t pick her up, and don’t immediately react. Ignore your mommy instincts to soothe her.Easier said than done!
Since the bonding process is so important for a newborn to feel safe, secure and feel trust with her caregivers, letting her cry it out is not encouraged during these months. According to a recent study, most parents who use the cry it out approach don’t start until their baby is six months old. *
There are instances when letting your infant cry is okay, no matter if she’s a newborn or not. If you’re feeling frazzled and frustrated, it’s always okay to put your baby in a safe spot and walk away.Non-stop or intense crying spells can generate a huge amount of stress and feelings of hopelessness, especially as a new mom. Walking away to compose yourself is okay.
We asked our readers (and moms) to chime in on the topic, and here’s what they had to say:
"Adamantly against crying it out. If your infant is crying it's because they need you. Ignoring your child's cries is teaching them to be distrustful.”
“I let her cry sometimes...but never cry it out. Big difference.”
“Crying at night should be tended to just as promptly as during the day. Baby's needs don't change or diminish because the sun went down. A baby's only means of communicating their needs is crying. Letting them cry and not tending to them does not train them to sleep, it trains them to give up because no one is coming to meet their needs…”
“The whole let them cry it out method at least for me doesnt work. I have more anxiety and sleep issues hearing my munchkin cry then just picking him up and soothing him."