Let Babies Cry It Out, Doctors Say

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Parents always wonder what they're going to do once baby arrives: stay up with him or let him cry in his crib? New research published in Developmental Psychology tells parents they can should try to let baby sleep it out. Babies, like their parents, sleep in cycles an hour-and-a-half to two hours long between which they wake up and, hopefully, fall asleep. The problem comes when children aren't able to fall asleep between those cycles.

A study of 1,200 infants ages six months to 36 months found that babies six months and older generally wake mom and dad only once per week. Sixty-six percent of those babies stuck to the same schedule until they reached 36 months. However, the remaining babies, called transitional sleepers, woke up seven nights a week. By 24 months, they were woke up and cried one night a week. A majority of those transitional sleepers were boys.

As odd as it may seem, letting your little one cry will eventually teach him to sleep on his own. Crying it out will eventually tired baby and he'll learn to sleep. but if you run to the crib, he'll know it's okay for him to stay awake. However, if your baby is still waking up consistently after 18 months, it may be time to seek help from your pediatrician.

Do you let your baby cry it out?

Words: Desiree Browne, assistant editor

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  • kierah

    We only had to CIO for 2 nights with our baby boy. He cried for 35 minutes the first night and for 15 the second night. Since then we have had minimal interruptions. Sometimes I’ll hear him cry out for bit at night. My husband said give him a chance to fall asleep again and stopped me from going into the nursery those first few times the baby cried in the middle of the night. The one time I actually got up, by the time I got to his room he had settled down again. It worked for us.