If they cry it’s for a real reason or need. Find out more.
Well-meaning friends and relatives may tell you to ignore your baby's cries so that they will learn to go to sleep by themselves. However, crying is your baby's only verbal way of telling you that they need something.
Babies have no control over their sleeping. If they cry it's for a real reason or need, not because they are 'spoilt' and not because they are manipulating you. By meeting your baby's needs you are not spoiling them. You are helping your baby develop a sense of trust and self-esteem. Your baby's need for closeness and physical contact is a very real and important need.
Baby sleep-training programs are becoming very popular. However, the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health Inc (AAIMHI) is critical of them. Taken from its revised 2013 and 2016 Position statement on Controlled Crying:
'AAIMHI is concerned that the widely practised technique of controlled crying is not consistent with what infants need for their optimal emotional and psychological health and may have unintended negative consequences.'
In the end, many parents find it's easier to go along with their child's sleep pattern until it changes, and to alter their lives to help them to cope. The ABA booklet Breastfeeding: and sleep looks at this topic carefully. It gives a checklist of possible causes of wakefulness at different ages, as well as some practical suggestions to help your baby sleep. Different suggestions work at different ages.
Parents do feel better if they have a list of effective ways to calm their baby. Things like movement, soothing sounds, comforting and management methods, all tried and tested by other parents in the same situation.