Should I Let My Baby Cry?

Month 2, Week 4

You can't spoil an infant. Well-meaning people may tell you to let your baby "cry it out," but when your baby's crying, 'they are telling you something -- it can just be a bit tricky to figure out what it is!

Coping with baby's cries:

  • First, troubleshoot. Is baby hungry? Wet? Hot? In pain from a too-tight diaper, pinching snap, or a fine hair wrapped tightly around a finger or toe?
  • If baby's full, clean, comfortable, and without a fever, try soothing them by swaddling, walking and rocking, and turning on a calming sound like the vacuum or a white noise machine.
  • Offer a pacifier or a finger to suck.
  • Although "crying it out" as a sleep training tactic is not recommended for newborns, if you're about to start crying hysterically, it's OK to put baby down in a safe space for a few minutes to give yourself a break.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Your baby's almost 3 months old! Every day, they gain more control over their rapidly-growing body.

Here are some things your baby may be doing by now:

  • Keeping their hands open more often (unlike that newborn clenched fist) and carefully opening and closing them
  • Showing some head control when upright, trying to push up on their arms, lifting their head, neck, and chest when lying on their tummy
  • Socializing more with them smiling, gurgling, cooing, and even showing an interest in other children

You might wonder about:

  • Disappearing reflexes. Many of the reflexes found in newborns, like the startle reflex -- have vanished by now.
  • Eye crossing. Your baby will follow you and should no longer cross their eyes.
  • Rolling over. Some babies roll from front to back very early. So keep a watchful eye when they are on the changing table or any raised surface. Do not leave baby alone on a bed that has pillows for protection. They can still roll off the bed.
  • Playing with toys. By the end of the third month, most babies can grasp and hold objects, but it may be a bit longer before they reach for that tantalizing toy.

Month 2, Week 4 Tips

  • Promptly soothing your baby's cries and meeting their needs at this age may help them be more secure and less demanding when they are older. And even if they have to be patient, remember they can see you clearly now and you can try "talking" them through their needs.
  • Get to know your baby's personality. Some are quiet and reserved. Others are ready for every party.
  • If your baby is often fussy and sensitive, try to avoid overstimulation and too much change in routine.
  • By now, your baby probably loves to "talk" with you by cooing, gurgling, and trying to mirror your expressions. Encourage this with fun "conversations."
  • Babies love repetition -- it's how they learn! Help by singing the same favorite songs over and over and playing the same games, like "peek-a-boo."
  • Your baby may be able to start putting toys (and other things!) into their mouth to chew on. So don't give them anything that's small enough to swallow and cause choking!
  • Remember, your little one is not ready for solids yet, and adding cereal to a bottle does not guarantee sleeping through the night.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 20, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Movement: Birth to 3 Months."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Developmental Milestones: 3 Months."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Calming a Fussy Baby."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Emotional and Social Development: Birth to 3 Months."  

American Academy of Pediatrics: "How Do Infants Learn?"

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Parenting Your Infant."

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