Leave baby to cry or comfort them?

Image with a baby standing on his back and crying

You have probably discovered it yourself already: your baby sleeps soundly in the playpen, but they protest as soon as you lay them down in their cot. They don’t want to go to their bed! You are best not leaving your baby to cry. It is better to comfort them, because they need security and safety.

One thing you can do is to make baby’s cot more comfortable using hot water bottles, so your baby is nice and warm. But even after doing that, your baby may still not want to be left alone, without their mum or dad.

Comforting

Many parents carry around their baby with them during the day. But during the evenings and nights, they need their rest too. How do you deal with your baby crying when they don’t want to go to sleep or can’t? In the past parents were advised to leave their baby to cry, it was supposed to be good for their lungs. We now see that parents generally prefer not to leave their baby to cry. You can leave them to cry for a few minutes in the hope that your baby ‘cries themselves to sleep,’ but if your baby has not fallen asleep within a few minutes, then go to them and comfort them. It is not good to leave your baby to cry for a long time. They can get overly upset and then won’t be able to get to sleep at all. Your baby will feel insecure and alone, and leaving them to cry in their cot will not make them feel safer.

Tips

The following tips can help you to get your baby quietly to sleep:

  • When you notice your baby is getting tired, for example they rub their eyes, grab at their ears, get red cheeks or start yawning, then place them in their cot. When a child is overtired, it is often even harder for them to fall asleep.
  • Put your baby to sleep in their cot, then it becomes clear that is the place for sleeping. The playpen is not for sleeping but a place for playing.
  • In the evenings, follow a bed time ritual: give your baby a bath so they are relaxed and warm or given them a baby massage. Start slowing things down as bedtime approaches.
  • If your baby cries once they are in their cot, then go in and check on them, and try to calm and settle them down.