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The Great Cry-It-Out Debate

Let your baby cry it out? Pick him up with every whimper? Let’s separate fact from fiction in the Great Cry-It-Out Debate.
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You can’t spoil a newborn with too much responsiveness. Newborns need to be picked up when they cry and fed when they’re hungry no matter what the hour is. But is it okay to let a four- or six-month-old cry himself back to sleep at night?

The truth is, there’s no harm in always responding. Making sure your baby doesn’t have a poopy diaper, fever or a foot caught in the crib bars is always a good idea. There’s also no evidence that any kind of harm comes from letting a healthy baby older than four months of age cry a bit in her crib before she goes to sleep at night.

At some point, usually between about four and six months, a baby will become capable of sleeping through the night without a feeding. Once your baby has slept through the night without a feeding more than twice, you’ll know the wake-ups are not from hunger, but for another reason: habit, a dirty diaper or just being awake and wanting to play instead of going back to sleep.

If your older baby cries at night, check on her as quickly and quietly as possible. Solve any problem quickly, with only night lights on, and then give the baby a chance to fall asleep on her own. This reassures her that you’re there, but sends the message that nighttime is for sleeping.

Sandy & Marcie Jones are the authors of Great Expectations Baby Sleep Guide: Sleep Solutions for You and Your Baby. Order your copy from Barnes & Noble.

An article from the HUGGIES® Brand

  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 10reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by my daughter is 10 months old. she has got into the routine of waking up at 12:30 and 3:00 give or take. i try to let her cry it out but after an hour or so i can't take it anymore and i give into feeding her a bottle (she goes to sleep after the bottle) but the dr. says she shouldn't need the bottle anymore but nothing else works. i try putting her soother back in, cuddling her, let her cry... don't know what do do, any suggestions? March 8, 2013
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I'm a first time mom, and my baby is 6 months in 2 weeks. At night time i let her cry it out, we have a bedtime, its always at 8, and for some reason, she always wants to wake up at exactly 11:15pm... I then go in to make sure everything is okay, and if so then i put her soother back in, and tell her good night again, and she will go back to sleep. She then will wake again anytime between 12 and 1 am and again at 3 or 4. HELP! February 26, 2013
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I let my baby (2 months old) cry out for about 5 -10 min.And then I goand check on her so me and my husband have got use to it. November 17, 2012
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I love this article. I let my baby cry it out maybe 7 times in the last 11 eleven months and i find going to him when he is crying does a lot better for both of us. He wakes up at night but always puts himself back to sleep now without crying. Sometimes he will play for a bit in his crib but he knows we are just in the next room. He normally puts himself to sleep as well since he was about 7 months. I believe its from not letting him cry it out. September 7, 2012
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