Is It Ever Okay to Let Baby Cry?
Not all parents are comfortable leaving a baby to cry for even a minute. However, Marc Weissbluth, MD, author of Your Fussy Baby (Ballantine), says it won't harm your child. "The fact is that babies cry even when they have perfect parents and all their needs are met," he says. "Making parents feel like they need to attend to their child at every moment just creates unnecessary guilt."
Once your baby is 4 months old, rest assured that it's okay to let her cry it out for a bit. If you're sure she's clean, dry, and well fed, allow a few minutes of fussing and grunting -- what Dr. Weissbluth calls a "pre-cry state" -- to allow your baby time to soothe herself and drop off to sleep on her own. If she's still fussing after a few minutes, check on her again, placing your hand on her chest or shushing her to reassure her you're nearby. But don't expect her to make a change overnight. According to Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution (McGraw-Hill), if your baby has fallen asleep only in your arms, crying it out probably won't work right away. "It's a step-by-step process to gradually move them toward independent sleep."
Originally published in American Baby magazine.
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