Study Shows 'Crying It Out' Is Best for Babies

This Just In 190

crying babyAny new parent will tell you that one of the hardest things to adjust to with a baby is the whole not getting a remotely decent amount of sleep thing. Unless you are one of those one in a million people who wound up with a gem of a baby who slept through the night on day one, I'm sure you've struggled with what you should or should not do when your little one wakes up crying in the middle of the night.

Well, a new study conducted at Temple University in Philadelphia has concluded that letting your baby cry it out is the best plan to ensure that he or she learns how to self-soothe.

Um, that's all well and good -- but listening to your baby cry, moan, and wail for you in the middle of the night and not doing a darn thing about it is way, way easier said than done.

I can't help but wonder if any of the researchers involved are moms, because if they are, they should really know better than to tell us to just let our babies cry and go back to sleep and forget about it.

When my son was a baby, he was not a good sleeper. At all. Granted, he went to bed and fell asleep very easily each night, but he woke up crying at least once or twice until he was around 8 or 9 months old.

And after a few people urged me to let him cry it out with the promise of his waking up in the middle of the night being corrected in a day or two -- I finally did it. And it nearly broke my heart. I listened to him cry incessantly for a good 45 minutes before he finally gave up and fell asleep -- and I'm pretty sure I cried right along with him.

I felt like I'd abandoned him in some way, like he couldn't understand why I wasn't coming for him. And I just couldn't bear the thought of him feeling like I'd forgotten about him or didn't care, which is why the next night, I promptly went into his room when he woke up crying.

Instead of picking him up out of his crib, however, I simply went over and assured him that I was there, rubbed his head a little, gave him his pacifier, and not too long after that, he drifted back off to sleep. The process only took about five or ten minutes, and it was much less stressful than laying in my bed tossing and turning and listening to him cry, that's for sure.

To each his own, but for me, there's no way I'd do the crying it out thing if I had another baby. News flash -- babies cry in the middle of the night, because they're babies and that's what babies do. It's part of the deal, and instead of trying to find a magical one-size-fits-all solution, parents really just need to do whatever works best for them. Seriously, don't these researchers have anything better to analyze?

Have you ever let your baby cry it out?


Image via meddygarnet/Flickr

colic & crying


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mompam mompam

I never let my babies cry. Not at all.. if they woke up crying I was right there. True, they didn't sleep through the night until over a year, but I didn't care.

purpl... purpleflower514

I let them fuss in the night to see if they go back to sleep on their own. Sometimes it happens sometimes not. What *some* people think when they hear "cry it out" is leaving Baby to cry for long periods of time. I doubt most parents do that.

nonmember avatar handy

I'd never let a baby cry it out. The study speaks of "infants" at 6 months, 15 months, 24 months and 36 months...well, 36 months is a 3 year old NOT an infant. Crying it out is probably OK once the child is a toddler, but not for true infants. They need comfort and reassurance. your instinct that tells you to go to your baby.

nonmember avatar MammaMel

ummm...your CIO failed because it was 45 minutes...I'm all about CIO, but up to 20 minutes, then you go take care of them...anyone who told you differently did not get their advice from a doctor

nonmember avatar kaerae

Not right for my kids, if you want to try it, go ahead.

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

If my baby doesnt calm down within a couple minutes I check on him...I mean, they DO need to learn to soothe themselves


doodledo doodledo

Never ever would I let my child "cry it out". My SIL "trained" her son by CIO in order to "self soothe" starting at 4 months for Aat least a half hour and now the poor little guy wakes up in the middle of the nite crying inconsolably for hours, crying and screaming so hard he can hardly breathe. Horrible to hear it and I am sure terrifying for him. So much for self soothing. But my SIL still thinks she did the right thing. Bleh...whatever. She was all against co-sleeping but now she has to spend hours in bed with a three year old screaming and crying in the middle of the nite.

mamaw... mamawidup

I agree with other comments that people think we let our baby cry for an hour and sit in the other room living our lives. No. That's not how it works. I used to let my daughter cry and if after 10 minutes she is still crying, I would get her and rock her to sleep. And I think any ADULT here can agree that what works for some people doesnt work for others. And no where in this article does it say this is the only way to raise a baby.

femal... femaleMIKE

I guess it would depend on the age. 

Wheep... Wheepingchree

would never do it. babies aren't supposed to be convenient.

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