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Should I let my baby cry himself to sleep?

Pediatrician, WebMD Medical Expert
Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Real

It depends on the baby, and it depends on his or her age. The method of crying it out has been the most studied, and it works for many babies, but you should talk to your pediatrician about whether it’s right for yours.

Some babies get tired and go to sleep after crying, but some just get angrier. So, where crying it out works for many babies, it doesn’t work for all of them.

There are some babies who just need to wake up and feed, and then they’ll go back to bed. Instead of denying the feeding, and having the crying, it’s best to feed them.

Generally, after four months or so, you’ll find that the baby probably won’t need to eat as much at night, so if they're waking up and crying and falling asleep as soon as they get the breast or bottle, you’ll know they’re not hungry. But if they’re waking and ravenously finishing the breast or bottle, they still need to be fed at night.

A rule of thumb: If it’s been one or two hours since you put them to bed, they probably don’t need to be fed, but if it’s been more than three or four hours, they probably are hungry.