Cry-It-Out Method

An interview with Robert Sears, M.D. explaining the practice of letting a baby "cry it out."

Dr. Sears on the Cry It Out Method


In an interview with Robert Sears, M.D., author of The Portable Pediatrician book and app, we asked about the practice of letting a baby "cry it out," and he made some interesting points: "Newborn babies are just not made to sleep through the night," he said. "But some parents become obsessed with seeing that they do." He believes in using whatever calming mechanisms you can, because crying for hours is probably not great for a baby.

And Sears agrees with the American Academy of Pediatrics that keeping your baby in the same room with you is optimal for your sleep and the baby's safety. One big advantage, of course, is that the "crying it out" argument becomes moot because a mother's presence will soothe the baby. Using a bedside bassinet has the added advantage that you can nurse your baby, then put him back in his bassinet and fall asleep again more quickly yourself.

Another tip: A study in Pediatrics found that probiotic drops containing Lactobacillus reuteri significantly reduced crying in colicky babies. Dr. Sears has had success treating colic with Colief, a remedy from the U.K. that contains lactase; this enzyme helps break down the lactose in breast milk and formula that some infants have trouble digesting. More on possible causes of colic.