Babies Should Be Left To Cry Through The Night, Experts Say

Sat, January 5, 2013 9:26am EST by 20 Comments
Baby Cry Night Study
Courtesy of Flickr

According to a new study, parents should let their babies cry it out in their cribs at night instead of going in and comforting them! Do YOU think that’s OK?

Even though parents may want to rush immediately to their babies’ bedside as soon as they start crying in the middle of the night, experts are now stating that it’s better for their overall sleep cycle to let their children self-soothe and cry themselves back to sleep.

The study, published in the journal of Developmental Psychology, revealed that babies have a sleep cycle every one-and-a-half to two hours, and they wake up slightly before falling back asleep.

“When mothers tune in to these night time awakenings… then [the infant] may not be learning how to self-soothe, something that is critical for regular sleep,” Marsha Weinraub, Professor Temple University at Philadelphia, who led the study, said.

Examining The Sleeping Patterns Of 1,200 Babies

The research, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, looked at the sleeping habits of more than 1,200 babies, and found that two-thirds slept through the night, while one third woke up at least once a night.

The study supported the practice that infants should bet put to sleep at a regular time every night, and they do better if they wake up and then fall back asleep on their own.

“By six months of age, most babies sleep through the night, awakening their mothers only about once per week. However, not all children follow this pattern of development,” Marsha said.

“If you measure them while they are sleeping, all babies — like all adults — move through a sleep cycle every 1.5 to 2 hours, where they wake up and then return to sleep. Some of them do cry and call out when they awaken, and that is called ‘not sleeping through the night.'”

In the research, parents reported their child’s awakenings at 6, 15, 24 and 36 months. By six months, 66 percent of babies did not wake up (the “sleepers”), or woke up just once a week, and kept that pattern as they grew older. But 33 percent woke up seven nights per week at six months, then just two nights by 15 months old, and then on night a week by the time they were 24 months old.

How Parents Can Help Their Kids Sleep Through The Night

“Because the mothers in our study described infants with many awakenings per week as creating problems for themselves and other family members, parents might be encouraged to establish more nuanced and carefully targeted routines to help babies with self-soothing and to seek occasional respite,” she said.

What do YOU think of the study HollyMoms? Will you let your baby self-soothe and fall back asleep on his or her own?

– Christina Stiehl

More baby studies:

  1. Why Having A Baby Boy Changes Your Brain — New Study
  2. Baby Bonding: How The First 18 Months Can Shape Your Love Life
  3. New Study: Obese Women Are Twice As Likely To Miscarry Or Endure A Baby’s Death

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Posted at 8:15 AM on January 20, 2013  

had to do this with both my kids, older one only took a few nights, younger one a little longer. but the more we went in there the more he called, he’s also in a much better mood when he wakes up if he’s left alone at night than goign in. Almost like going in there wakes him up more than his own crying

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fprex scam

Posted at 8:46 PM on January 15, 2013  

Felix Homogratus, Dimitri Chavkerov Rules! You pay us we post good about us!

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Posted at 9:23 AM on January 7, 2013  

some babies hardly ever cry and sleep through the night easily these doctors are full of themselves if they think a mother/father would ever do that. being a parent is the most important job one can ever have

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Posted at 10:38 PM on January 6, 2013  

nicola please!!!!! u probably can’t even have kids and thats why your sour. a baby is called a person not a thing. anyways i believe that every infant is different some sleep more which is called a “lazy baby” and some just cry when their awake to be hold but theirs many reasons why: the baby needs diaper change,hungry,cold, or may feel lonely,but giving him/her a bath could help also making sure his being burp every time he need to be fed could help to get sleep if not their tummies hurt because they have has inside. that doesn’t make them brats if we couldn’t speak,walk or eat we will all be crying like babies. to me if my baby cries i will hold him because i know his sick and needs to be pad on the back to take mucus out it sounds grows but i think is better to pick them up especially when their little they could choke on their own siliva. mothers i will recomend to check on there little ones often.

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Just Sayin'

Posted at 6:08 PM on January 6, 2013  

According to a new study. haha hilarious. Parents have been doing this forever to ensure that their child isn’t a whiny needy little brat.

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Posted at 5:23 PM on January 6, 2013  

I’m so glad my fiancée and I both agree we never want to have kids! I can only imagine how exhausting and irritating it is to have to deal with an annoying thing like that!

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Posted at 7:50 AM on January 6, 2013  

You could also just stick some cotton in their mouth so they don’t cry. It works wonders and the baby stops crying asap.

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Posted at 4:38 PM on January 6, 2013  

Right! Cuz that’s exactly what this article/study was! Get real people!

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Posted at 7:48 AM on January 6, 2013  

Crazy. A teeny baby like that needs to be comforted and soothed. Sleeping through the night is not the ultimate goal. Having a happy, healthy baby is.

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Posted at 5:05 PM on January 6, 2013  

“Sleeping through the night is not the ultimate goal. Having a happy, healthy baby is”

You will not have a happy, healthy baby if they don’t learn how to soothe themselves period. It’s a child being manipulative. They can’t speak as a baby so they cry. But as a kid in a few years they will begin to yell and scream at you that don’t want to do whatever it is your telling them to do.

A baby crying at bed time (after they have been fed and cleaned) is the equivalent of a 4 year old kicking and screaming at the parent. It’s the parents responsibility to teach them normal routines of life.

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Posted at 12:58 AM on January 6, 2013  

babies dn’t cry for fun,that’s their own way of communicating since they can’t talk.if a baby is crying it’s because his hungry,or a wet nappy is making him uncomfortable,or he wants attention,probably someone to play with.i understand dat they often do dis at night when an adult wants to sleep,but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. what most mothers do is make their baby have a very short siesta and keep the baby awake most of the day so that at night the baby can sleep. no expert is going to convince anyone that they should ignore their baby,our maternal instinct is too strong for that.

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Posted at 11:28 PM on January 5, 2013  

I used to wake up every other hour during the night when my son cried to feed him and make sure he was okay, when he was 3months old I stopped, he would wake up crying and I would just stand by his crib to make sure he wouldn’t turn blue out of breath like some kids do, he would cry for 10-20 minutes and eventually fall back asleep. Now he is 3years old and he is a great sleeper, he won’t wake up in the middle of the night unless he has to use the bathroom. On the other hand my sister in law thought I was a monster for doing that, now her 1year old daughter cries everytime she is left alone or her mother is not in her eye sight.

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Posted at 7:47 PM on October 28, 2014  


I’m actually going through this right now. my 10 month has been sleeping with me up until a week ago. I get get to fall asleep on her own no problem every night But she wakes up between 3-5:30 everytime screaming. She nurses usually allll night. Do I let her cry? I’ve just been going in and bringing her back in my room and she eats but doesn’t seem very hungry. What do I do????? Please help!!!

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Posted at 11:11 PM on January 5, 2013  

Oy, what a bunch of idiots. Yes, it’s nice for babies to learn how to self-soothe because then selfish parents can sleep through the night, but as other studies have proved, letting babies cry it out results in lower IQs due to higher cortisol levels (which negatively affects brain development). Frankly, if you can’t handle waking up a couple of times per night to tend to your baby, you probably can’t handle one at all. Lastly, the really bothersome thing about this study is that it didn’t look at anything else except for sleep and the social necessity for babies to sleep through the night. You can’t look at different areas of life in a vacuum – that’s not the way it works. This study would be like one that proves not eating results in weight loss because though it’s true, the weight loss isn’t without consequences.

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Posted at 9:48 PM on January 5, 2013  

I never could. I admit it’s probably why my kids never learned to self soothe therefore were horrible sleepers, but it just felt wrong to me. They’re only that small for so long and at that age, all they want is to be close to you. It took my kids years to sleep on their own and through the night, but I stlll feel like I made the right decision.

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Posted at 5:59 PM on January 5, 2013  

it sounds like they only mean letting them cry up until the first 6 months when they’re going to be sleeping through the night naturally and that sounds pretty reasonable. the mother’s going to be very tired during the daytime taking care of the child so, especially immediately after giving birth, she’s going to need to rest so she can do her daytime job properly. if the baby’s safe in its bed I dont see what the big deal is

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Posted at 2:57 PM on January 5, 2013  

A baby needs to be comforted and held. Remember for 9 months baby was in mommy safe and sound and than her I am. Another doctor trying to sell a bill of goods. This journal and the doctors who are of the opinion to let a baby cry all night have never been a parent? and if this is what there doing letting their baby cry all night are the whale s*** on the bottom of the ocean. Makes me really angry to think some young parent will buy this idea.

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Posted at 10:40 PM on January 5, 2013  

i didnt know you knew these doctors personally. i’m definitely going to take your random opinion over a well-researched one. bravo!

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CIO is not healthy

Posted at 2:52 PM on January 6, 2013  

There are well researched documents to show that CIO is not healthy for a baby, especially a newborn. So before you start acting like you know it all.. do your own research. Also these are opinions of mothers who know their children better than some doctor.


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Posted at 1:34 PM on January 5, 2013  

I am a mom and would never let my babies cry the whole night. I stay the whole time to make they are a sleep.

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