A baby who sleeps through the night?

Some parents are lucky, but more often babies need care at night as well.

Out of desperation and lack of better solutions, it is sometimes decided to let the baby cry at night until he or she falls asleep.

But this

cry it out

method can be traumatic for a baby.

As a result of applying the

cry it out

method to a baby, Infant Mental Health Specialist and child psychologist Marilene de Zeeuw was asked to perform EMDR therapy on a baby.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, abbreviated to EMDR, is a therapy for people who continue to suffer from the consequences of a shocking experience, such as an accident, sexual violence or a violent incident.

"An unusual request, but it shows how much impact it can have to let a baby cry. You teach a baby that no one comes when he cries in the middle of the night. What you want is for a baby to know that there is his signals are responded to in order to promote healthy emotional development," says De Zeeuw.

“What you want to achieve by letting your baby cry is for your baby to stop crying altogether because he knows that no one is coming anyway.

That is very sad.”

Marilene de Zeeuw, child psychologist

High stress level

If a baby is left alone during a crying fit and there is no response to him or her, the baby experiences enormous stress and the body is full of cortisol: the stress hormone.

"Especially in the first few months, babies' brains are still developing, and having to experience such high levels of stress is not good for the child's brain development. Being responsive to your baby is also important for bonding and a healthy emotional state." development," says child sleep coach Ewelina de Groot.

De Zeeuw adds that letting them cry is also not good for a child's self-image later in life.

This teaches the child that there is no response when he or she communicates.

"What you hope to achieve by letting your baby cry is that at some point your baby will stop crying altogether because he knows that no one is coming. That is very sad."

Baby's expectations too high

According to De Zeeuw, new parents often have far too high expectations of the sleeping behavior of their newborn baby. "It's just not in the nature of babies to sleep through the night. How often a baby wakes up varies a lot, but you have to imagine that even for toddlers it is still normal to wake up the parents once or twice a night. to feel that security. It's normal for a baby under six months to not be ready to be left alone all night."

According to De Groot, if a baby is older than six months, it would in theory be possible to teach a baby to self-regulate while sleeping.

"From then on, babies should be able to comfort themselves. Before the age of six months, a baby simply cannot comfort itself. It is better to always offer your baby a feeling of safety: for example, a baby can surrender to sleep more easily than a baby who is to suppress emotions and not know where he stands."

Sleeping a lot is good for your baby's development.

But how much sleep does your baby need?

  • View the parents of Nu's sleep schedule.

De Zeeuw has experienced in various families that babies started to show even more difficult behavior after applying the

cry it out


"After the traumatic week of crying alone at night, some babies did not want to be left alone anywhere, not even on the floor: nowhere. And parents no longer knew whether and where to follow their intuition. We were able to improve that with four à five EMDR sessions".

Medical cause

If your baby seems to be a crybaby and also barely sleeps at night, there could also be medical causes.

"You often see that children who sleep very poorly have mild medical problems, such as reflux, sleep apnea or ear infections. Then crying will not make anything better. So my best advice is to first seek help from the health clinic or sleep coach if you are at the end of the day. advice, and choose a method in which secure attachment with your baby is paramount," says De Groot.