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Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
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Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)

Let Your Baby Cry It Out

HealthDay News
by -- Kayla McKiski
Updated: Mar 24th 2020

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TUESDAY, March 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Could letting your baby cry it out mean less crying later?

A new British study suggests that's the case.

Researchers from the University of Warwick investigated the issue: They followed 178 infants and their moms over 18 months, assessing how soon and how often moms intervened when their babies cried.

The result? Babies that were left to cry it out a few times had shorter crying duration at 18 months.

For a behavioral development assessment, a psychologist observed play with the mother and a parent-report questionnaire was analyzed at 18 months.

The findings revealed that two-thirds of moms parent intuitively, learning from their infants' ability to calm themselves, so babies can learn self-regulation. Making distinctions with different kinds of crying can allow babies to learn how to self-regulate during daytime and nighttime, the researchers said.

"We have to give more credit to parents and babies," said lead author Dieter Wolke, a professor of developmental psychology.

"Most parents intuitively adapt over time and are attuned to their baby's needs, wait a bit before intervening when crying, and allow their babies the opportunity to learn to self-regulate," he said in a university news release. "Most babies develop well despite their parents intervening immediately or not to crying."

The study was published recently in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

More information

Mayo Clinic has more on what to do when your baby cries.