It’s the sound parents of infants dread in the middle of the night. But should you run to your little one’s rescue right away?
In a new study, researchers in the United Kingdom examined 170 infants and their moms.
They followed the babies in the first week, at three, six, and 18 months and assessed whether the frequency parents intervened immediately when their little ones cried was associated with later attachment and behavior.
Results showed allowing babies to “cry it out” a few times when they were first born and more often at three months, was linked to shorter crying times at 18 months. And the number of times a mom reported leaving babies to cry it out was not associated with infant behavior, development, or attachment issues.
Over time parents can often identify a baby’s needs by the way he or she is crying. Picking up on any patterns can help them better respond to their baby’s cries.
The study found that two-thirds of the parents instinctively picked up their baby when they were newborns. But as they got older, the parents would wait a bit to see if the babies would calm themselves. This allows babies to learn to self-regulate over time as they develop the capacity to do so.