How Much Should My Baby Cry During Sleep Coaching?

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  • January 30, 2014


Would you like me to answer your baby sleep problem in my next video? If so, scroll down and submit your question in the comment section below. I will pick several questions a month to answer and post them here on the blog!


Hi, I’m Kim West, the Sleep Lady and in today’s video blog, I’m going to answer Megan’s question:

“I purchased your book to use with my 7-month old. Tonight would be night 6 but I’m really struggling. My biggest question is how much to let him cry? He gets upset every night. I’m confused about whether to let him cry while I’m in the room or pick him up to calm. Help.”

First, you absolutely can pick him up to calm him down. That is in the rules of The Shuffle in the 6 to 8-month chapter. Please go back and re-read that section of Good Night, Sleep Tight. I am wondering whether you followed the 10 steps to do before starting sleep coaching so that you can have a better success from night one?


It’s important that he has good naps everyday.


If you’re trying two naps with him in the crib and he doesn’t nap well, then you’ll need to have a backup nap plan. That third nap is just enough to help him so he’s not running on fumes at bedtime, which will increase the crying. If he’s super overtired and bedtime is not early enough, he’s going to cry more at bedtime.

Have you rolled out any underlying medical conditions?


Signs of reflux are common ones. There are others, but reflux is a common medical condition, so make sure that it is not the reason why he’s crying so much.


On nights 1 to 3 when you were sitting next to the crib, did you by any chance do too much touching? This would mean that when you moved away (which is where you are now), that it requires you to get up and go over to him to help put him to sleep.


stranger anxietyThis problem is not uncommon, and a lot of parents will say, “I did do a lot of pick up and touch and so that then when I moved away, I had to get up and resettle next to the crib.” Doing this defeats the purpose of moving the chair away. If this is the case, you might want to consider restarting The Shuffle.

If you restart, you don’t have to necessarily spend 3 more nights next to the crib but maybe 1 or 2 in order to undo anything that might be causing a problem, such as too much touching or too much picking up. Again, if you don’t address those things, you defeat the purpose of moving away and you won’t see results. Remember, you can always pick up to calm, just be careful that you don’t pick up to hold him until he falls back asleep.

Thank you for sharing your question, Megan. I think that this is a common problem, especially when parents don’t understand why they’re stuck in the sleep coaching process.

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

If you have experienced a baby who is too drowsy, please share your experience below. Please click the “reply” link under this article and leave this mom a comment. Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

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