Is it okay to let babies cry themselves to sleep?

I am not a believer in the “cry it out” method that many experts, and one of our own pediatricians, recommend. I cannot stomach the notion of plopping a baby down in bed and closing the door. That being said, however, a little fussing or crying is certainly fine for a baby to tolerate. Some babies “let off steam” from their days in this way. After all, they can’t exactly go for a brisk run to blow off their extra energy; crying is the only way to let it out sometimes, for some babies more than others.

So how do you decide how much crying is enough? First of all, it should be you who decides, not some “expert” who says five, or 15 minutes is okay. Some babies can be fine with crying up to an hour at a time; others fall apart after five minutes. You need to know and interpret your baby’s needs. And each of your babies may be different from its siblings. One of mine was a “fusser.” She fussed off and on, much of the day (and night), until she started talking. And she started talking early. This baby just needed to talk! Once she could start jabbering, she had no need to fuss any longer. Her crying was not really “distress crying” (usually), but rather “talk crying.”

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.