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Should I ever let my baby "cry it out"?

In the early months, it's important to respond as quickly as possible to your infant's crying. Rather than spoiling him, your attention gives your baby the sense of security that he needs. And learning to take care of his needs will give you confidence in your abilities as a parent.

In fact, research has shown that babies who are picked up whenever they cry are likely to cry less by the time they're a year old than babies who are left to cry.

Will I Spoil Him?

Experts say you cannot spoil a very young baby. Unlike a toddler, who may cry or whine for something that catches his eye in a store, infants cry because of very real needs: for rest, for food, for soothing. Crying is their only language.

Must I Drop Everything When My Baby Cries?

Not necessarily. By the time your infant is a few weeks old, you will recognize his different cries. The sound and duration of his crying will signal to you whether he is overtired, hungry, wet, or in pain.

A cry of pain needs to be answered immediately. But once you've checked that he's safe, it's okay to make a whimpering baby wait a little bit if you need to. Your goal is to give your baby a sense of the predictability of your response to him. He needs to know that he can count on you appearing. It's also best to respond to him before he becomes overworked. He will be easier to calm, and his crying will subside sooner.