how do you know when to let your baby just cry?

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[deleted account]

It is NEVER OK to let your baby just cry. I’m not even sure how you could possibly think that this would be alright?? A cry is a baby’s only way of communicating to you that she needs your help. This help could be something tangible such as a feed, a nappy change, she’s sick, etc. Or some of the time, your baby is crying because she needs you for your emotional support. If a baby is crying it is your job to help them. I do not let my 2 year old cry unsupported let alone my baby (6 months). Even in temper tantrums I will either just sit next to my 2 year old and may not even engage with her but I am there, she knows I am there and she almost always ends up finishing her cry in my arms, supported, a place she feels safe.



A baby is a little person. She has all of the same feelings that we adults have – happy, sad, scared, the need for love, the need for attention. But she doesn’t understand what these feelings are or how to control them.



What sort of lessons do you want to teach your baby? I want my children to know that they have my unconditional love and that it is OK to need people in their lives and to ask people for support. I treat my children exactly the way I want to be treated. If I was sitting in a room, or trying to go to sleep and I was crying, then I would want someone to come and give me a cuddle and to let me know things are alright and I am loved.



Not to mention the current collective thoughts from recent research and studies. It is now believed that when a baby under the age of 12 months (I would say much longer than that!!) is left to cry unattended, the amount of stress they feel is damaging to their development, physical and emotional. In short, when left to cry (repeatedly) you can actually change the course of your babies brain development. In fact there is a statistic out there that a baby who is left to CIO when going to sleep is more likely to have 5 less IQ points by the age of 5. And as for a baby needing to cry for lung development, it’s just not true. It’s an old wives tale at best and a complete myth at that.



I am not saying it is easy to provide your children with all the attention they require and deserve, in fact sometimes it is down right hard!! But that’s our jobs. Come on people; please treat your babies with kindness and sympathy at all times even when it is inconvenient for you or for the hundredth time that hour!

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Bethany - posted on 02/20/2010

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I have left Charlotte cry once in a year. I was woken by her crying, and just really was in one of those crazy deep sleeps. We'd had a long night and I really wanted a shower, so I had one, and washed my hair and shaved my legs and blowdried my hair and got dressed...and she was sitll howling. I thought for sure she would have stopped by then, but no, still going. I went to her feeling refreshed, and validated and ready to give give give.

That's the first and last time I ever did that, but at the time, I really needed to do it, for my sanity, and her safety.

I tend to Charlotte after about half a minute, because sometimes she is just resettling herself. If she's still crying after that little while, I go to her because she escalates more and more.

She rarely really cried in her first 7 mths. I heard her real cry for the first time at her 8 week immunisation, and thought, oh, that's what your cry sounds like. Then she got her first teath at 7 mths and she cries like a normal toddler now, if she hurts herself, or if things aren't going her way.

I'm following Margot Sunderland's The Science of Parenting as a guide, and Tracy Hoggs Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Babies, and now, for Toddlers. I rock Charlotte in our Lazy Boy rocker until her eyes are more closed than open then she goes into her cot. I know if she's crying, something is wrong, and as soon as I start to remedy it, she stops, so I know I have hit on it, like, start to change her, or get the Nurafen out, or give her some water.

Jess - posted on 02/20/2010

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Whether or not you agree with controlled crying/self soothing or not its important to always remember that if you are at your wits end and at breaking point, you need to put your baby down in their crib and walk away ! Come back when you are calm and can start again.



We have all been there, we have all had the sick, tired or just fussy baby. We all have our breaking points !



I have been there and im not ashamed to admit it. I have hid under my blankets waiting for my partner to get home while my daughter has just screamed the house down.



I personally don't use controlled crying because I don't need to. I have a great baby who for the most part is very happy and contented. We have days where she whines a bit when she goes to bed, but I know that she will go to sleep within minutes if I leave her to settle rather than go running to her side.



There is a difference between self soothing and self settling. My daughter self settles. I say do what works for your family and don't let other people try and guilt you into doing something that doesn't feel right.

DeeDee - posted on 02/19/2010

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I believe if you've ticked all the box on the checklist, (nappy, comfort, hunger, temperature, burped, teething) & u feel u've tried everything, (singing, walking, taking baby for a walk in the stroller/drive in the car, I used to just stick my i-pod earphones in & listen while I continue to rock her to sleep. Sometimes the're over-stimulated or simply just can't settle, & I decided it was no use stressing or getting frustrated, babies cry, & it really can be good for their lungs anyway. So I knew as long as I ticked all the boxes, I knew she was ok and it eventually passed.

P.S: Just after she hit 6m, I bagan to let her cry to sleep, there are rules for this & I did alot of research on "The baby whisperer" & she was fine within a week, I got my bed back & she learnt to self-soothe at bed-time! I don't know in what area u were asking about, & hope it was helpful! ^_^

Renae - posted on 02/19/2010

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It depends why, when, where, how......... And in particular, how old your baby is.

If you are talking about letting them cry to sleep at night, then the right time is when you have exhausted all other options; or you have left it too long and baby is too sleep deprived for other options. Usually, crying methods for sleep training do not work until the baby is physiologically ready to sleep the entire night without feeding (which is at BEST 6 months, but for 50% of babies not until 12 months). Always start with no-cry solutions, most babies never need to be left to cry in order to learn to sleep. Most no-cry methods can be done from 3-6 months.

If you are talking about just generally leaving them to cry during the day, then I cant really think of any situation where it is appropriate to leave a baby to cry. Babies cry for a reason. If they are crying because they just want to be held all day, then you need to gradually encourage independant play, not just walk away and leave them to get distressed in a situation they are not accustomed to.

If we are talking about a toddler or older baby who is throwing a tantrum to get their own way, then that is a different matter. In this case I believe unacceptable behaviour should be completely ignored and appropriate behaviour rewarded.

Really its a difficult question to answer without knowing the exact circumstances to which you are referring.

Kathleen - posted on 02/19/2010

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If baby is dry, clean, fed, warm and loved then you are doing all that you can.
Now some other issues that could be going on....Gas...try Milicon Drops or peppermint extract (rubbed on clothing not on baby)...Colic..get them belly to belly with you and then wait until the colic passes(when crying stops)...Teething...Baby Anbesol on gums....
You know your baby best. If you feel it is too much crying talk to doctor. Could indicate ear infection or other infection....Good luck.

[deleted account]

It depends. When a baby is young you should respond to them when they cry. After six months it is okay to let them cry. However, if you have a baby that won't stop crying no matter what you do, then it is fine to let them cry for awhile so you can regroup. When my daughter was 2-5 months, she would cry for several hours straight and nothing I did helped. Sometimes I would just put her in her crib and let her cry. She is six now and there are still times she just needs to be left alone to cry. She goes to her room and cries for a couple of minutes then she is fine. As long as you respond when your baby needs you, it is okay to let her cry.

Jamie - posted on 02/19/2010

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When your child is safe and in pain or sick! It is good for the lungs as well. I never let my first child cry much and she is now diagnosed with ashma, ( at the age of four)! So it is okay in the end it may benefit the baby.

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