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Q: When is it o.k. to let an infant cry? ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: When is it o.k. to let an infant cry?
Category: Health > Children
Asked by: vla1-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 01 Nov 2003 19:07 PST
Expires: 01 Dec 2003 19:07 PST
Question ID: 271785
There seem to be two schools of thought:
Until a baby is 4-6 months old, he cannot comfort himself.  Therefore,
whenever he cries (and for whatever reason), a parent should
immediately work to comfort the child.  By doing so, they establish a
sense of security (not dependency at this age) that lasts a lifetime.

It's o.k. for a baby to cry for a period of time (not extended; 15
minutes or so (however, every minute seems like an hour when he
cries!)), so long as there's nothing physically wrong (pain, hunger,
etc).  Eventually they'll quiet down (WHY?).

While I expect that there's research in each camp, I'd like to find
something that can help to tip the scale one way or another.

Subject: Re: When is it o.k. to let an infant cry?
Answered By: techtor-ga on 02 Nov 2003 08:05 PST
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
Hello vla1,
I have read years ago of a tip in a magazine suggesting that one
should wait for some minutes before attending to a crying baby. I now
found that this is called the Ferber method.  Richard Ferber is
director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children's
Hospital in Boston. He wrote a book called "Solve Your Child's Sleep
Problems", showing you that his method was meant to solve sleep
problems (the method has since been called "Ferberizing"). In it, he
says when a baby wakes up and cries, wait a while before you actually
go to your comfort your baby back to sleep. The length of time depends
on what you, the parent, is comfortable with. If ever the baby cries
again, wait five minutes again, and so on. The catch thought is that
many recommend not using it for babies under six months of age.

Conventional wisdom does say as soon as a baby cries, you should go
and see at once to know what's wrong, and then cuddle the baby back to
sleep. I personally believe the conventional wisdom is better. Who
knows if a baby is crying because a venomous bug got in the house and
bit him or her, or there's a thief in the house. But I see no harm in
trying Ferber's method. Just do so when you're sure you could afford
to do it. Practicality is called for when applying these ideas,
especially on something as sensitive as a baby. Of course, most might
be reluctant to try Ferber's method because it is seems more natural
to go at once and check the baby, so Ferber's style will a take a
great deal more thought and willpower to carry out.

I admit though that I could not really answer what "school of thought"
is better because there is really no right answer for all. Your
question depends on the premise that one school of thought is better
than another *for everyone*. That's not so. What Ferber proposes is
something that some people can try and might work for them, but might
not work for others (see some of the links below for testimonies of
"failed Ferberizers", and then others on successful ones). I
personally believe that there is no one school of thought, whether on
baby care or other fields, that will work for everyone. Just because
it works for your neighbor or friend doesn't mean it will work for
you. Everyone, and thus every baby, definitely is different, and there
will always be the case of someone's idea not working for someone
else. I doubt research will help much here since it might show how
different people really are.

You could try applying Ferber's and conventional methods, and see what
works for you. Trying to observe the success or failure of other
people can be educational, but you won't know if it works for you
unless you try it yourself.

Please read the sources below for more information.

The Ferber method demystified

Sleep Problems at Keep Kids Healthy

Colic ... or ... How to Calm a Crying Baby

BabyCenter | Soothing Your Crying Baby - brought to you by Infants'
Mylicon Drops

Pediatric Services - Babies and Sleep
- mentions the "Ferber technique"

The Family Bed; Co-sleeping With Your Baby
- Also mentions the Ferber method Q&A - Will the Ferber method work for us? message board - Re: The Ferber method really isn't all
that bad
- Follow the thread of messages to see different reactions about
Ferber's method. message board - My Anti-Ferber method is working- night 1,1812,105870,00.html

The Ferber Method Helps Some Children Sleep Longer

News & Opinion: Bedtime Story (Nashville Scene . 07-08-97)

Google search terms used:
infants allow crying
infants allow cry while before pick
ferber babies
ferber method

This answer by knowledge_seeker is about co-sleeping, but it may
contain some helpful information for you:

Oh yes, I strongly recommend that you read Ferber's book for more

Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems - Book
- Some reviews of Ferber's book

ParentCenter | Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems

I hope this has been a most helpful answer. If you need anything else,
or have a problem with the answer, do please post a Request for
Clarification and I shall respond as soon as I can. Thank you.
vla1-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars
The links are pretty good, but definitely skewed towards Ferber; not
much from the other side (the "don't let them cry" side).  A good
debate should include both.

Unrelated to the quality of this answer: the "Myths" described in the
first link are ridiculous, and lower the credibility of the reading.

Subject: Re: When is it o.k. to let an infant cry?
From: stressedmum-ga on 02 Nov 2003 03:17 PST
We were always the type of parents who would pick them up and cuddle
them to stop them crying. I felt that the confidence of knowing there
was a pair of loving arms and a welcoming voice gave my kids the
reassurance they needed to stop crying. Of course, there were times
when continual crying (and our tiredness) would cause stress and
irritability so at these times I'd go and sit outside or walk around
the garden or phone a friend and generally take some 'time out' of my
own for a little while.

Basically, however, I just knew that there were going to be some times
when I was going to *have* to walk the floor holding an unhappy little
person and doing my best to reassure them that everything was all
going to be all right, whatever the problem was. Kids *do* cry and
they cry for so many different reasons that you'd never be expected to
know what is up with them every time. The golden rule is, we're all
different, so get to know your child and do what you think will work
best for you and her/him and keep you all happy.
Subject: Re: When is it o.k. to let an infant cry?
From: gabrielleadams-ga on 03 Nov 2003 14:19 PST
I've done both. Attachment parenting with my son, Ferberizing with my
daughter. The attchment method takes months and months. Using the
Ferber method is very difficult and stressful, and if used to get the
baby to fall asleep on it's own, be prepared for a few sleepless
nights. They can cry for a loooong time. In it's defense, it really
does work, if you can endure it. Took about three days to get my
daughter to go down without a screamfest. Just like a miracle. As
she's gotten older, however, we reverted back to the more comfortable
attachment methods, and she's starting to go back to crying and not
sleeping again.

Just my personal experience. Ferberizing is heartbreaking, but tried
and true, as long as you stick with it. It's not a magic bullet,
though. Probably doesn't work for every child.

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