New-Mom Promises That Are Fine to Break

Caring for a crying baby

The Promise: I won't rush to her every time she cries.
When you were pregnant, you vowed not to hurry to your infant the second she whimpered. (The world doesn't need another diva!) Now, you're dropping everything each time she bursts into tears -- and getting lectures from your mother-in-law about how you're spoiling the baby.

The Reality: For the first few months, it's best to soothe.
It's true that kids eventually need to learn to calm themselves, but infants have only one way to call you back from sleep (or Facebook): crying. For now, it's a good idea to respond, ideally before she starts wailing. Crying can cause her to swallow air, leading to gas, which means it can take longer to calm her down, says American Baby advisor Laura Jana, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). "Reacting quickly helps your baby build a sense that she can trust the people around her to meet her needs," adds American Baby advisor Harvey Karp, M.D., creator of The Happiest Baby on the Block book and DVD. (Go to for more of his smart advice on calming your little one.)

After 6 to 9 months, she will learn to cry to get what she wants. "That's when you might sometimes let her cry a bit and not immediately respond," Dr. Karp suggests. This will help your child learn that she won't always get what she's jonesing for simply by turning on the tears.

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