A 3-Month-Old Boy Cannot Settle Down To Sleep And Continues To Cry For At Least 30 Minutes. What Should The Parents Do?

Dr. McFadden answers the question: '3-Month-Old Cries Instead Of Sleeping?'

ByABC News
December 22, 2008, 3:55 PM

— -- Question: A 3-month-old boy cannot settle down to sleep and continues to cry for at least 30 minutes. What should the parents do? (They were told by grandmother to just let him cry as long as it takes for him to settle down.)

Answer: Some babies are self soothers and they get to sleep easily and quickly. Others require a little bit more of a helping hand. The most important thing that parents can do is establish a bedtime routine which includes feeding the baby in a soothing environment, rocking him and putting him to sleep in his bed. If the baby cries after the parent puts him down its important to resist the urge to pick him up and rock him again. Because babies really should be put down when they are sleepy but still a little bit awake.

Some relatives will suggest that you let the baby cry it out. But allowing a baby to cry excessively may stimulate him more and cause him to have even more difficulty falling asleep. So it's important to put the baby down, patting him gently, using a rhythmic motion that mirrors the heartbeat of the parent. The other thing to consider if these techniques don't work is that the baby may have a medical problem. Although these are rare you should probably talk to your pediatrician about the possibility of the baby having gastroesophageal reflux or an allergy to cow's milk proteins that may be in the formula or even in the mother's breast milk.