|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Can Crying Cause a Hernia?

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: We have a one-week-old son and I was recently told that allowing him to cry for longer than five minutes can cause a hernia. Is there any validity to this statement? Are there any other reasons why we shouldn't let him cry himself to sleep?

A: Crying for more than five minutes does not cause a hernia. It is true that in a baby who already has a certain type of hernia, crying for long periods of time can make the hernia pop out more, but it's not the cause of the problem.

I encourage parents of young babies to pick up their baby when he is crying and see if they can help him fall asleep. Many young infants don't know how to settle themselves and need some help with quieting down in order to fall asleep. Techniques such as rocking, patting, and snuggling can help lull a baby to sleep.

You can't spoil a baby this age by picking him up; infants do need comforting and should have their needs met. Thus I don't generally recommend just letting a one-week-old infant cry himself to sleep. If parents have been trying to quiet the baby for a while, and he's still screaming despite your best efforts, then, as a last resort, it's okay to put the baby in the crib and let him "cry it out."

This does not mean that you should spend a child's entire infancy coaxing him to fall asleep. Every child to learn how to fall asleep on his own, but many children need help with this in the first few months of life. By three months of age most infants have settled down and no longer have long periods of crying.

More on: Expert Advice

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

3 Fun Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Looking for some great Thanksgiving games to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Feathers on the Turkey game, Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim game, and Thanksgiving Parade Bingo game for loads of laughs this Turkey Day!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Surprising Sources of Caffeine in Kids' Foods
Even low doses of caffeine can have an effect on your child's health. Since the FDA doesn't require caffeine content on food labels, learn about hidden sources of caffeine in kids' diets.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!