As a parent, we often rush to our children the minute they begin to cry. Parents who’ve just had a baby, especially worry excessively when their babies start to cry. In fact, watching their little ones cry is enough to set the waterworks going for the parents themselves! We understand that it breaks your heart when your little bundle of joy isn’t exactly joyful, but you also need to know that sometimes, all that crying can actually be beneficial.
There are times when you need to be there to turn that frown upside down, but at other times, you need to back off and let your child figure out life for what it is — even if it means they weep like never before! Here’s all the reason why it’s okay for you to let your baby cry:
A Little Crying Harms No One
Watching your child cry can break your heart, but honestly, there’s not much to worry about if you go by what medical health professionals have to say. In a study conducted by The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, it was found that a baby that is left to cry doesn’t necessarily undergo any adverse effects. Of course, in some cases, a baby will cry because they are in pain, but if it is a tantrum, then let them be. The study neither found a connection between crying and adverse behavioral outcomes, nor did they find any negative consequence(s) as far as development was concerned (1). Sometimes, it can also be induced just as a matter of habit.
Crying Helps Them Sleep Well
Medical professionals conducted another study to figure out the link between crying and sleep. Interestingly, it was concluded that crying actually helped babies sleep better! They say that when babies were left to cry at night, they rested for a more extended period of time after crying and experienced little to no interruptions during the course of their sleep (2). It might sound a tad bit mean, but if the crying is endless, it is bound to tire them out.
It Helps Regulate Tantrums
When your child begins to cry as a part of a tantrum, and you ignore them, they will soon realize that crying will not help them get what they want. Further, they will eventually learn to be less naughty and troublesome. In fact, when they realize that crying for no reason does not benefit them, they start looking for more practical and acceptable ways to figure things out for themselves.
Your Child Will Learn How To Self-Soothe
The truth is that you’re not going to be there by their side forever. At some point, they will have to lick their wounds on their own. Letting babies cry will help them understand how to soothe themselves when they are hurt. We all have our own battles to fight, and this is a great way to help your child understand this. Also, children can be overstimulated at times. There is so much information for them to process, and that can be overwhelming. Crying helps them release a lot of pent-up energy. They will cry, soothe themselves, and be happier than before, so let them be!
It Enhances Self-Control
Your child will eventually learn self-control when you let them sort out their emotions on their own. As we mentioned above, they will begin to soothe themselves once they realize that you will not give in to them. Soon enough, when this becomes the norm, they will also learn to control themselves when they are about to throw a tantrum and cry unnecessarily. If you tend to their endless demands, crying will only steadily increase and become a recurring habit in the long run. It will be too late to make the baby disciplined as you have already set the expectation that s/he can get what they want easily.
Reasons Why Babies Cry
Babies are often associated with crying, more so because until they learn to speak, this is one of the only ways they know to communicate. While we did say that it is good to let babies cry, it is also essential to understand the few common (and normal) reasons why they cry in the first place (3):
- They’re Hungry: One of the most apparent reasons why babies cry is because they are hungry. Babies need to be fed at least eight to twelve times a day, so make sure you feed them as much. However, take a note of your baby’s health status before you make him/her overeat and cause indigestion.
- They’re Sleepy: Sometimes babies cry when they have not had enough sleep. In case you didn’t know, babies sleep a lot, particularly in the initial stages of their life. You can take note of their sleeping habits and regulate accordingly.
- They’re Sick: When babies are sick or in distress, they begin to cry. If you notice that your baby has been crying incessantly for hours and doesn’t seem to stop no matter what you do, then bring it to the notice of your doctor or pediatrician.
- They’re Overstimulated: The world is filled with different kinds of experiences — so many views, sounds, sensations, and activities. This is in stark contrast to the calm and peace inside the womb. All of this can lead to overstimulation, and this, in turn, can make babies cry. Make sure not to be too loud in their presence.
- They Need Comfort: Babies always need a source of comfort. They can get scared when left unattended and hence, start crying.
While babies cry for whatever reason it is, sometimes it is best to let them have a good crying session — unless it is to satisfy a tantrum or hint at an underlying physical condition that needs medical attention. In most cases, it is not a cause for concern, but if you seem to find something unusual, consult a doctor. Believe it or not, crying is also a sign that the baby is doing well and healthy. It would be weird if the baby is always silent. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!
- Parental use of ‘cry it out’ in infants: no adverse effects on attachment and behavioral development at 18 months
- Behavioral Interventions for Infant Sleep Problems: A Randomized Controlled Trial
- Soothing a crying baby