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Pick baby up vs let baby cry

Posted by: Brigitte Rozario : What should you do when your baby cries? Some say parents should pick their baby up to see what is wrong and to comfort the child. Others say that parents should let their babies learn to comfort themselves by not immediately picking them up.

Which should you do?

Denise Wong



Denise Wong, mum of one child aged 15 months old:
I pick him up instantly when he cries as crying is now the only way for him to tell me that he's upset as he hasn't learnt to talk yet. Furthermore, I think it's a natural reflex for a mum to try to comfort her child.

For my son, I know picking him up reassures/comforts him straightaway. I do find at times that he wants to cuddle or “reconnect”. It can be quite frustrating and tiring at times; sometimes nerve-wracking.

At some point it does make him clingy but I tell myself that I will miss this time and would definitely reflect once he's much bigger/older.

I think that my son cries for me all the time because he knows that I won't neglect him even when he has his crying fits or when he is just simply upset over nothing; whereas he wouldn't cry for his dad because he knows that his dad would let him cry it out in his playpen.

Of course, there are the very few occasions that I may just let him cry but after some time, my heart starts to ache.
Alice Keong, mother of one aged two years and seven months:
When he was a baby, I would pick up my son quite quickly. As time went on, I let him cry a short while because crying is his way of getting what he wants. He can be quite stubbon and cry as he walks to his grandma hoping this will help him get what he wants.
However, if he falls down or hits his head and starts crying, that's a different story. I will then pick him up quickly to let him know that we love him and advise him not to do whatever he did that caused the injury.
Picking him up has not made him clingy; in fact, he tends to cling to his papa more than me.
I also find that as he grows up he is more independent and not clingy because I don't always pick him up when he cries. Sometimes when he falls down he doesn't even cry now, and he tells me “Never mind.”

Dr Yong Junina


Paediatrician Dr Yong Junina:
How a parent should respond to a crying child depends on several factors, namely the child's age, general health and circumstances. In young infants, especially those under the age of six months, parents should respond to their child's cries immediately.
Possible causes for crying in this age group are wet or soiled diapers, hunger, feeling too cold or too hot, being unwell or injured. Incessant crying may signify pain, be it from physical trauma, insect bites or infection. Picking up and cuddling the child in this instance is reassuring to the child. It also allows parents to determine the cause of the crying and act accordingly.
In older children it is important to determine whether or not the child is in need of a diaper change, food or just wants to play. Parents could offer milk to the child after checking her diapers and room temperature. However, if the child refuses milk and appears to be in a playful mood, it is possible that she just wants to play.
Giving in to this request may see you being woken up every other night for companionship. This will disrupt both the parents' and child's sleep and her ability to function the following day. If you feel that your child cries as a way of getting you to play with her in the middle of the night, it's best not to pick her up.
Cuddling a child will not spoil her; instead it reassures her that she is loved, making her feel more secure. Cuddling a child is different from giving in to all her wishes, which will lead to the child taking advantage of her parents.

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