How do you feel about letting babies "cry it out"?

@much2say (34578)
United States
December 14, 2009 12:01pm CST
I struggle with letting my baby "cry it out". I realize there are times when it's actually good to let a baby cry it out . . . but honestly it breaks my heart! Some books will say you are doing this to help you and the baby in the long run . . . other books will say you shouldn't do it because you will make the baby feel abandoned and it will make them lose their sense of security. What do you think? With all these opinions, it's really hard to figure out what is right for the baby . . . or maybe there is no definite wrong or right.
4 people like this
17 responses
• Indonesia
20 Dec 09
I don't believe in letting baby cry it out. That's how they tell us that something is wrong, like wet diapers, hunger or thirst, need of sleep etc. They cannot help their selves yet, so that's how they communicate. Babies cannot manipulate you, so there's no reason to let them cry. A baby that is well fed, get enough sleep and wear clean diaper won't be fussy. I believe letting them cry will only make things worse, I've seen many who cries in their sleep (nightmares?), and it hurts to see them like that.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
20 Dec 09
Oh yes, a baby crying is just their way of communication and you're right that baby is so helpless that they need our help. Isn't it funny that my doctor long ago told me it is a manipulation thing - but I never bought that entirely - not for a little baby anyway. Yes, it breaks my heart to see these little ones cry for so long!
@dorannmwin (36671)
• United States
18 Dec 09
Here are my feelings on allowing a child to "cry it out." For the first three to four months of a baby's life, I don't think that they should be allowed to cry it out because they are literally helpless at that stage. Crying is the only way that a child is able to express their needs at that point in their lives. They need to to make sure that all of their needs are met. However, as they get a little bit older, they should also be allowed to cry a little bit more as well. The way that I did it with my children was that I would let them cry for about 5-10 minutes once they were close to six months old and if they continued to cry, I would check to make sure that all of their needs were met.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
19 Dec 09
That makes sense - I would think that's a good time frame too for a baby to cry it out. I know some books would say it's better to let the baby cry it out from the beginning it's harder to "retrain" them down the road, but I can't take it. I never really had to let my older go through it - until she was a lot older than an infant . . . but the second one is proving to be quite different from her. I know I keep mentioning "books" . . . so I just need to stop reading these darn opinions and start mothering more with my heart!!!
@xJaiiDK (164)
• Philippines
17 Dec 09
I dont have a baby yet. ive never been a baby sitter of any of my cousins' child. I dont know, but everytime I see a baby cry, i cant help but look at him/her. I just want to comfort the baby. i've read and a psychologist said that babies cry because they need something. It may be her diaper's full, she's hungry or she's feeling something bad. babies cry because they want attention. some sort of stimuli.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
18 Dec 09
I know, it just breaks your heart to see a baby cry, too, right? Crying is a way for a baby to communicate, so yes, they are trying to tell you that they are hungry, or too tired, or have a dirty diaper . . . or just plain grumpy - hee hee. It does take a while to figure it out. But it's hard to see a baby cry anyway.
@aguas_aj (501)
• Philippines
17 Dec 09
Especially when my son was still a baby, i had a hard time making him cry. I feel that he is being abandoned and so helpless when we let him cry out but old people here in my place believes that it's ok to let the baby cry it out in the morning. To make their lungs stronger. So every morning we let him cry for as long as he is fed, not wet and already took his bath.. that's around 9 to 10 am. That makes him less cry baby. Coz in that way, he feels that 'I won't get anything I want" (such as being carried always). As long as his primary need is given, you can let him cry in the morning, though I myself would say it is really hard to see our baby cry.. But now that he's a year older, I let him cry especially when the reason he is crying is simply because he want to get something he shouldn't have
@much2say (34578)
• United States
17 Dec 09
It's interesting what older folks will tell us! Yah, many will say that letting them cry it out at times will make them less of a crier - eventually. I've heard many people telling me not to get in the habit of carrying the baby all the time too. Oh yes, crying it out when they're older (not exactly a baby) is a bit different . . . by then they know how to communicate better.
@jambi462 (4599)
• United States
15 Dec 09
I'm not real sure on how I feel about letting anything "cry it out" yet alone a baby. That would just be a little to sad for me and I feel like I would get a little bit too annoyed after a while. But I suppose sometimes you can't always figure out what something that can't talk wants so your only option would be to let it cry it all out.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
16 Dec 09
I guess for a baby it's "crying it out" and for the parent it's "sweating it out". I do feel sad to hear a baby cry so much - even if I know it's better for the baby. I don't get annoyed, but just heartbroken to hear it. Yah, it's not always easy to figure out what the baby wants.
@MimiRemo (420)
• Philippines
15 Dec 09
Babies cannot talk yet. So crying is their way of expressing what they want or how they feel...hungry, thirsty, having a tummy ache, wet diaper, scared, alone, and so on. If they still keep on crying, say after you've changed their diapers, that means they still have other needs that you have not attended to. So as much as you can, do not let them just cry it out. It is indeed heartbreaking to see a baby left crying. They are in the stage of acquiring trust on the environment and their care provider. It may be annoying to some people, but more than that, the child could have some trust issues as he or she grows. However, in the case of separation anxiety, do not give in to your baby's crying all the time. It is normal for them to go through, and later on, they cope well with it in their own way.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
16 Dec 09
Crying is definitely a way for a baby to communicate. In most cases I can figure out what the baby wants, but other times it's difficult - especially when we've gone through the checklist. See people here have said crying it out is ok, others say no. So it sounds like there are strong opinions on both sides. Oh yes, separation anxiety is another thing!
• United States
15 Dec 09
Sometimes I think that it is okay to let children "cry it out" if it isn't a serious matter, but a lot of times I think that there might be something wrong, and that is when you have to just take care of them and find out what the problem is. I had a cousin who had colic, and he would not stop crying and we knew it was because something was seriously wrong with him. If the child is crying a lot, 9 times out of 10, something isn't right with them. My brother also used to cry a lot when he was a baby and a toddler, and we found out that it was because he had massive migraine headaches. He was in so much pain that we did not know what to do. The headaches would be so bad that he couldn't even see. He would scream for my mom, and he could not see her. My mom would ask him to look at her, and he couldn't. It was difficult watching my brother go through that. My mom would have to give him a lot of children's pain medication to get him to go to sleep. If your child is crying a lot, and it is severe, major crying, then I don't think any parent would want to ignore that.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
15 Dec 09
Oh yes, colicky little ones are another matter. I had a nephew like that - it would be non stop crying for hours no matter what was done - but that is different. That's interesting your brother had migraine headaces - and that he felt them as a wee one - poor guy. A child crying excessively from a medical concern is different from a parent who intentionally let's their child cry for short or long bouts . . . but I know what you're saying.
@squaretile (3835)
• Singapore
15 Dec 09
I am of the school of thought that it can't be right if it goes against my instincts. and i would say that crying it out really pains me. I think small children need security and just letting them cry to harden them makes me feel that they might as well be in an orphanage. i think children can't be spoiled at this age. and they are crying not wilfully but because they need comfort. if i told my toddler not to do something, i know she understands my tone of voice. if she still does it, then I will discipline her by speaking very very firmly to her and making sure she signs sorry. i think that there is a place for discipline, but training through the CIO method is not for me. ultimately, we read as widely as we can, and do what makes sense for us. after all, there have been experts who have written books, and then come out many years later to say that they admit that their widely popular theories then were wrong.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
15 Dec 09
That's great you can trust your instincts. Sometimes I'm not sure of my instincts, especially when it comes to a crying baby! It's so hard to say who is right or wrong as there are so many opinions (from professionals and everyone else)out there - so sometimes it's hard to judge for ourselves. Crying it out sounds like a mean thing to do, at the same time the reasoning behind it makes sense too. This is so hard!
@ellayuri (48)
• Philippines
15 Dec 09
Well actually,I am also a mother of two kids.And I can say that letting the baby cries is okay.As long as the baby doesn't feel any pain,the baby's stomach is full,the baby's diaper is not yet messy.For me,I believe on what other says that letting the baby cries for a while helps them exercise their esophagus.But see to it that if the baby cries spontaneously well there is already something wrong.And now I raised my kids and they grow up and learned with their own but I'm still here to guide them.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
15 Dec 09
Those are my thoughts exactly too. But sometimes it's hard to tell if the baby is in pain or if the baby is full or if the baby is truly bothered by a messy diaper (well, that one I can check easily for sure). I thought it exercises their innards too. I think crying it out is ok, but it's sure hard trying to figure out if it's right or not (and then when we figure it out, they're grown up by then - hee hee).
• Sweden
15 Dec 09
I do let my 14months old son cry it out sometimes. It helps a lot for me and him... sometimes I just feel that i´m tired already so i let him cry it out. Most of the time i do this. He just cry and cry and cry...then stop. And that´s the time i hold him and caddle him... wrap him with my warm hug :) They are just like adult people sometimes they need to express themselves and shout it out! So their compress feelings inside (whatever it might be...) will let it out!!!
@much2say (34578)
• United States
15 Dec 09
Awwwwww. I love that you hold and hug him afterwards. I do agree that they just need to shout it out . .. get the tension out of their system. Sometimes I think crying it out exercises their lungs too! They say crying it out helps in the long run . . . better than stopping them from crying and having them bottling up what's inside them.
• China
15 Dec 09
i was told by my girlfriend that she was ever been treated like this and when she try to cry for something then her family just let her cry it there alone and no one even trie to comfort her. that increased her strength on her character but i can't do this with my own children i think . their crying really break my heart.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
15 Dec 09
Was this when she was younger or when she got older? I think it's different when it comes to a baby and an older child. At least a child can communicate what is going on . . . but a baby cannot. That's why it's difficult to really say whether crying it out works or not. It may or may not, it may be good in the long run or it may not. It breaks my heart, but I know it has to be done at times.
• United States
15 Dec 09
The problem with not letting children cry it out is that by constantly holding them every single time that they cry, you're not letting the children create their own coping mechanism. By running to them every time they cry, you're allowing the child to get used to it and they just never learn how to calm themselves down. I work with 12 one year olds each day and each day I have to deal with children that are constantly held each and every time they cry. So they expect us to do it and they just can't figure out how to calm themselves down. It's just making things harder in the long run. I'm not saying that you shouldn't hold your child when upset but you definitely need to pick and choose the moments to do so. Kids need security but security isn't created just by holding your child each time they cry. It's being a constant face/person in their life. It's engaging in activities to help them bond with you such as reading books and playing games and it's doing things like changing their diaper and feeding them whenever their cycles depend upon it. Also, by not letting your child just kind of cry it out, you're creating a lot of extremely dependent children that will constantly be running to mommy and daddy to solve their problems. I've seen it. It's not pretty.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
15 Dec 09
See, now this is the type of answer I wanted to read. It's sort of a tough love kind of thing, and I do agree that there is a time for letting our little ones cry it out. As they say, holding them all the time "spoils" them, as they say . . . part of me believes that, while the other part is a marshmallow and wants to hold them anyway. The purpose is to make a child independent, not dependent . . . I've seen those clingy ones, I know what you mean.
• United States
14 Dec 09
much2say, i would think that it depended on the situation. if your normally happy, easy going baby is crying alot one day, i would have to question if he/she has a tummyache/toothache/etc. if he/she is a, shall we say, "spirited" child that has frequent tantrums, then i see no problem with letting him/her "cry it out" as long as i have assessed the child and am confident there is no underlying medical/physical problem. while i agree with many books that say that your child has to learn to console himself/herself, it is also detrimental to an infant's bonding with his/her parents that he/she knows that he/she will be cared for when those upsetting times arise. also, this would be an excellant question for your child's pediatrician. hope this helps...and keep in mind that every parenting style is unique and you may find a happy medium that works best for you and your child. have a great day!
@much2say (34578)
• United States
15 Dec 09
Yes, it does depend on the situation - but crying it out is a hard call even so. It's hard to say when exactly it is ok or not. Part of the parent's fear is breaking that infant bonding . . . that's why it makes me so sad to hear a baby cry for so long (and what does long mean .. . the hospital recommends 15 minutes - but who is to say). Good idea to ask the pediatrician. Hope we find more answers to crying it out too!
@cream97 (29175)
• United States
14 Dec 09
Hi, much2say. I would not try to let my baby cry it out. It will only make them feel isolated more. It will make a baby feel scared and alone. I would just try to get the baby and find a way to soothe them. This way they won't feel upset but loved.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
14 Dec 09
See, that's what I've read . . . that a baby could feel alone and such . . . and there are others that say a baby will not feel that way - and that we should feel confident that a cry out would teach them to cope with themselves for the long run. I just tears me up inside to see a baby cry for so long . . . is that called tough love too? Makes me sad to see my baby upset.
@gabs8513 (48803)
• United Kingdom
14 Dec 09
When mine where Babies I would leave them no longer then 5 Minutes crying as I do not believe in leaving them to cry to long When a Baby cries on constant there is a reason for it and you can tell by the cry if they just want to be picked up or if there is something else Even if the cry is just for being picked up, the Baby is telling you it wants loving and Hugs I do not believe in letting a Baby cry and cry even if a Temper cry you can still go in and calm the Baby without picking the little one up you can softly talk to the Baby to calm it down, You can even use a stern gentle voice to let the Baby know it is wrong and that it is bed time or what ever the case is So no I do not believe in letting a Baby cry out
@much2say (34578)
• United States
14 Dec 09
Gosh, even if they cry for 5 minutes, isn't it the longest 5 minutes of your life? I agree there is a reason when a baby cries . . . that's the way they communicate . . . and it takes a while for a parent to decipher the different cries. It's hard as babies has different temperaments . . . with some you have to pick them up, others you can talk through it, and others it seems like you can't do anything (like my nephew who was so colicky!).
• United States
14 Dec 09
Every parent has there own way of handling things, and every baby is different. I currenty have a 13 month old, and he has never been a sleeper. As an infant, we had to run the vacuum to get him to sleep. At about 9 months, we started a night time routine, bath, story time, bed. Didn't work. We finally had to start letting him cry it out. It's not an easy thing to do at first. We'd put him down and sneek out of the room. I would stand outside the door for about 4 minutes, seemed much longer though, and then go in comfort him and give a kiss and lay him back down. After a few times of this, he would finally fall asleep. We did this for probably about a week, each day got a little easier. Now he goes to sleep on his own with no crying. It's not an easy thing to do, but as long as you know they're all right, and you know your just steps away, it's ok. If the crying really tears your heart out, try focusing on something else for those few minutes. Have a stopwatch and just focus on that. Books are good for suggestions, but parents are the best judge of their babies. Do what you feel is right and what you can handle. Try different things until you find what works. Good luck.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
14 Dec 09
We didn't have to let our first child cry it out so much . . . she was very routine and it all worked out all of us quite easily. I did hear it is harder to do the crying it out when the baby is older . . . so that's why I'm thinking to start things now with my second one. He is actually easier than my first one in a lot of ways, but he doesn't fall into the same pattern as she did . . . so it's different. I think you're right about focusing on something else as it happens. Books are just opinions of the author . . . I have to mother more with my heart I guess. Thanks!
• United States
14 Dec 09
I'm not a parent, but I've been around my brother's baby, and I've dated a few single moms too. I hate it when parents let their babies cry. I understand they are doing so to mold the child into performing certain behaviors, but...there's only so much molding I could take. It's not so much a broken heart thing, when I hear a child's cry, but more an irritation or nuisance. I for one, probably won't be able to let my future babies 'cry it out', I'll spoil and nurture them until they are old enough to accept and recognize effective discipline.
@much2say (34578)
• United States
14 Dec 09
Hee hee. My father in law said the same thing about crying babies. He hates it and gets real annoyed by it. Well, for the most part a baby is trying to communicate through his crying, so I don't see it as a nuisance. Other times babies need to get their fussiness out through crying . . . so stopping a baby from crying isn't necessarily the best thing to do either. But - it's hard to decipher these cries at times.